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'Feeling forgotten' | Self-employed, out of work and waiting for unemployment benefits

The Department of Labor's website said the system is being updated to allow self-employed people to receive benefits

ST. LOUIS — People who are self-employed but out of work during this pandemic can receive unemployment but getting it isn’t easy.

Missouri's website is still being updated to allow the self-employed to receive benefits. A Department of Labor spokeswoman said more information should be released about those plans Wednesday.

"It's terrifying,” hairstylist Melissa Dunlap said.

Dunlap and her coworkers rent booths at the salon Rock, Paper, Scissors in Florissant, which has been closed since March 22. They're self-employed and now unemployed.

"We're going on a month now with zero income,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap’s a mom of four kids.

"It’s the time of year I'd be getting my kids spring clothes. They grow quick, you know, and I can't do any of that kind of stuff,” she said.

Under the CARES Act, she — and anyone else who's self-employed and out of work — is eligible for unemployment during this pandemic, plus a $600-a-week federal supplement.

RELATED: Eligible Missourians to receive $600 payments this week

Dunlap said she's filed on Missouri's Department of Labor website every week, and every time she’s been denied.

"It would say insufficient wages,” she said.

This past week when she followed the latest guidelines for self-employed people, she said she was denied and told she’s not eligible to file for unemployment benefits again until after July 4.

"Just cut back on what you can and pray they get it updated soon,” she said.

The Department of Labor's website said the system is being updated to allow self-employed people to receive benefits.

When we asked the department questions about why Dunlap’s claims were denied, a spokeswoman said, “Those questions should be answered tomorrow,” Wednesday, in a planned news release.

RELATED: ‘Not an insured worker’ but need to file for unemployment? Missouri has a new workaround

"There's a lot of people out there who are hurting,” Dunlap said.

She wanted to know when she'll start receiving money.

"Just a date. Something definitive instead of just feeling forgotten,” she said.

Missouri began issuing the $600 federal supplements Monday to people who've successfully filed claims. A total of $66 million in benefits will be paid out to more than 115,000 people.

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