Mo. unemployment benefit call line to be closed

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missourians seeking to extend jobless benefits will have to start doing that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

An unemployment benefits hot line run by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will no longer be available on Tuesday and Thursday except for first-time applicants.

Department spokeswoman Wanda Seeney said the shutdown will allow staff to process the increasing number of unemployment claims. Through November 2008, more than 65,000 Missourians were receiving jobless benefits.

Rising unemployment has created financial difficulties for the state fund that pays out claims and is taxing the state's unemployment system.

Seeney said labor department employees are working longer hours, getting cross-trained to help and more staff has been hired.

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