Audit sheds light on Wisconsin DWD troubles amid unemployment spike

For months, FOX6 News has heard from people every day who report problems with their unemployment claims, saying they could not get answers.

Now, some say they are able to speak with someone, but that they still do not get any of the answers they desperately need. Many are still waiting for their unemployment checks.

"This process has been horrendous," said Tawyana Duncan. "It's just, you're left in the air...They can't give you a time frame.

Duncan was let go in March, and like tens of thousands of others in Wisconsin, the mother of four can't seem to get an answer on when her pending unemployment claim will be processed.

"I am very worried. I've been putting in some applications for positions and that's not panning out," Duncan said.

Tawyana Duncan

Tawyana Duncan

According to a new report from the Legislative Audit Bureau, only 0.5% of calls to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) were answered between mid-March and late June. More than 38 million calls were either blocked or met with a busy signal.

In response to the audit, State Sen. Van Wanggaard is demanding more change to leadership, saying in a statement: "I don't fault them for being caught shorthanded at the beginning, but the lack of steps to improve the situation is unforgivable."

In the meantime, the DWD said it has more than doubled its calling staff.

Duncan says she still can't get any information from the workers who are answering.

"I was calling every day," said Duncan. "Some of them are very pleasant, but I think their hands are tied."

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The DWD's secretary, Caleb Frostman, resigned at Gov. Tony Evers' request. Wanggaard said more needs to be replaced, including in the department's Unemployment Insurance Division.

Amid unemployment delays, Wisconsin DWD secretary resigns

The DWD has cased unprecedented unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, the news release stated, far exceeding Great Recession levels.

Wisconsin's unemployment rate drops, many still waiting for relief

"I just want answers. It would be better if I knew what was going on. I don't know anything."