Wisconsin unemployment insurance is available to individuals who are temporarily out of work and meet certain criteria. Wisconsin also offers many services to help unemployed workers get back on their feet through training and job assistance programs.
Wisconsin aims to help people that are currently out of work, but there are certain requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance. The qualifications for receiving Wisconsin unemployment are below:
- You were laid off from your last job through no fault of your own
- Meet the earning requirements (described below)
- You must be actively looking for employment
- Cannot currently be employed full time
- Must accept suitable work
The state of Wisconsin requires a minimum amount of earnings in a certain period of time in order to pay out the minimum weekly benefits amount ($54). The way weekly benefits are calculated is outlined below. Your total base period wages must be greater than 35 times your weekly benefits pay.
Wisconsin divides the year into 4 quarters:
- 1st Quarter: January 1-March 31
- 2nd Quarter: April 1-June 30
- 3rd Quarter: July 1-September 30
- 4th Quarter: October 1-December 31
The way your weekly payments are calculated will be based off your highest earning calendar quarter. Your weekly benefit rate will be 4% of your total high quarter. As mentioned earlier, the minimum payment amount is $54. So in order to receive unemployment benefits you must have earned at least $1,350 in four consecutive months of the previous 5 months. The maximum weekly allotment is $363 which would require a high earning quarter of $9,075. Luckily, you do not have to do the math and can use this benefits rate chart to find out how much you can receive weekly based on your quarter earnings. http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/handbook/pdf/wbrchart.pdf
How to Apply
Once you’ve determined whether or not you qualify for unemployment benefits, the next step will be to apply. The information you will need to apply consists of your social security number, your driver’s license number, and a 4 digit pin number (you will pick your pin).You can either apply online or call to apply.
Wisconsin makes it very easy to apply online through this website: https://ucclaim-wi.org/InternetInitialClaims/InfoBasicRequirements.asp. When applying online, make sure you hit the submit button and print out your confirmation page. If you do not see a confirmation then your application has not been submitted successfully.
When applying on the phone, you will use an automated touch tone service. The phone number you dial will depend on where you live.
- If you live in the Madison calling area: 608-232-0678
- If you live in the Milwaukee calling area: 414-438-7700
- For all other areas: 1-800-822-5246
The hours to apply on the phone are:
- Sunday: 9AM-5PM
- Monday-Friday: 6AM-7PM
- Saturday: 9AM-2:30PM
Once you have completed your application, you will receive a letter in the mail letting you know whether or not you have been approved. If you did not qualify, the letter will explain why you were not approved. If you were approved, the letter will give you the information regarding your weekly payments, and certification schedule. You must complete a weekly claim certification in order to start receiving payments. If you fail to complete your certification you will not receive any benefits.
As we mentioned, it is crucial that you do your weekly claim certification in order to receive your payments. Wisconsin unemployment payments come in the form of checks. If you would prefer to receive your payments through direct deposit you may apply online here, https://ucclaim-wi.org/DirectDeposit/DirectDepositIntro.aspx. Alternatively, you can fill out this form if you do not want to sign up online: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/forms/ui/ucb_9400.htm.
Your payments will generally come 7 days after completing your claim certification. If you have not received your payment after 7 days of filing your certification, you can check to see if a check has been issued. You can check online using this form: https://ucclaim-wi.org/INQ/InqLogin.asp or call the automated inquiry system:
- Milwaukee Area: 414-438-7713
- Madison Area: 608-232-0824
- All other areas: 1-800-494-4944
If 12 days pass and you still have not received your payment, call a claims specialist using the numbers above and file a missing check inquiry. Claims specialists are available Monday-Friday 7:45AM-4:30PM.
If you lose a check, you will have to call a claims specialist. It can take at least 60 days to have a new check reissued.
Keep in mind that if you change your address you must update it when you file your weekly certification. Failure to do so can delay your payments.
Searching For Work
One of the stipulations for receiving unemployment benefits is that you must be actively looking for work. You are required to contact a minimum of two employers every week that you are on unemployment. The requirement to look for employment may be waived if you are working part time or in cases where you are expected to return back to work for you previous employment soon. Failure to search for work can result in termination of Wisconsin unemployment benefits.
Luckily, the Wisconsin unemployment department will aid you in your search for work. You may go online to http://jobcenterofwisconsin.com to register and search for jobs. You may also contact a local job center to look for work as well. To find the closest job center near you, visit http://wisconsinjobcenter.org/directory/ or call 1-888-258-9966.
How to Stop Receiving Payments
In the event that you start working full time, or simply wish to discontinue your Wisconsin unemployment benefits, you can just stop filing your claim certifications and you will no longer receive payments. No further action is required. If for some reason you continue to receive checks, do not cash or deposit them. Contact a claims specialist and they will tell you the necessary steps to take.
If you disagree with a ruling you may appeal the decision in writing or online. To appeal online, go to http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uibola/onlineappeal.htm. If you wish to send a written appeal, you can fax, mail, or hand deliver it to hearing office or unemployment office. In your appeals letter you must include:
- Your name and social security number
- Name, address, and phone number of your previous employer
- A copy of the original determination letter or the 9 digit number on the upper left hand corner of it.
- Dates that you or any witnesses will be unavailable for an appeals hearing
Having all of the information above will ensure a faster appeals process.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Weekly Claim Certification
Possible Eligibility Issues
Wisconsin Work Net
Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits
Search for employment