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ST. LOUIS  – There’s a good news update on the story that came out of our  Missouri Town Hall special featuring the state’s entire congressional delegation, earlier this month.

Early in the pandemic, Missouri was graded as one of the worst states in the country for paying unemployment claims.

We posed a question emailed to us by an unemployed viewer, Kimberle Jones, to Congresswoman, Ann Wagner (R) St. Louis County, during our Missouri Town Hall.

Jones, had first filed for unemployment March 22nd.  As of May 7th, she still hadn’t gotten any benefits.

Even though Wagner holds federal office, she and her staff pressed the state’s Division of Employment Security, which allots unemployment benefits, about the case of Kimberle Jones.

Fox 2/News 11 has now confirmed that in just the past few days, Jones has received 8 weeks of benefits.  Also, the number of new cases being filed in Missouri has apparently slowed down enough for the state to start catching up a bit.

There were about 30,000 new claims last week, which is still extremely high, but that’s down from more than 100,000 during a week in late March.

For Jones, getting the benefits was life-changing:  no more sweating bills and no more nightmares on the phone with the State of Missouri. 

“I was able to pay all of my bills and get ahead on a few things,” she said. “Before the pandemic, I had an appointment to get some eyeglasses.  I was able to get my prescription filled just today.  It just feels good to able to have a sense of normalcy about my life…it’s just a good feeling, really good.”

She has now earned an online degree and hopes to pursue a career in interior decorating.

The Missouri Department of Labor now reports more than $800 million in benefits paid from the CARES act passed by Congress in response to the Covid19 crisis.