More than $290M in unemployment benefits disbursed in Wisconsin since March 15

MADISON -- Officials with the Department of Workforce Development announced Wednesday, April 29 that its Unemployment Insurance Division received 479,596 applications and distributed more than $290 million in state unemployment benefits since March 15.

A news release from the DWD said official counts available April 25 showed claimants filed a record number of weekly unemployment claims, totaling almost 1.2 million (1,185,952) since the COVID-19 public health emergency was declared.

Nearly 750,000 (747,855) of those weekly claims have been paid.

The number of claims processed in this five-week period are roughly equivalent to claims processed in an eight-month period during typical (non-pandemic) times, DWD officials said. The release noted, acording to a recent Pew Research Center study, Wisconsin was in the top quartile of states for most claims processed through the end of March.

"We hear from thousands of people every day who are struggling to pay bills and keep food on the table," DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said in the release. "Our collective sense of urgency could not be greater to process claims and resolve issues so out-of-work Wisconsinites can return to some semblance of economic normalcy. Hundreds of DWD staff are working overtime to process claims, integrate new federal programs, disburse benefits, answer questions, and update IT and telecom processes to help as many people as possible during this unprecedented time."

In addition to processing state unemployment benefits, DWD is implementing the three new federal benefit programs created under the CARES Act last month. The Department began accepting applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance last week, began distributing Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments today, and will announce Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits in May.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is a temporary emergency increase of $600 per week in unemployment benefits. FPUC provides additional payment to individuals who are collecting benefits from ANY of the following programs: 

    Claimants DO NOT need to take any action to receive the additional $600-per-week benefit; the payment will be automatically added to their benefit payments. 

    This means that if you have a pending unemployment application or are currently receiving unemployment benefits, no action needs to be taken, so long as your circumstances have not changed, you remain eligible for benefits under one of the programs above, and you continue to file a weekly claim. You will receive the $600 benefit in the same way you receive your regular unemployment benefit. 

    To those individuals who established a claim before April 4, the benefit will be retroactively provided from the week ending April 4, UI week 14/20. 

    Note that the $600 FPUC benefit will not impact your income eligibility, as it is not considered earned income.  The $600 is not based on your weekly benefit rate. If you are eligible for some type of UI benefit as listed above, then you are eligible for the full $600 in addition to the unemployment benefits you are due. 

    This is a temporary benefit and the last payable week in Wisconsin will conclude the week ending July 25, 2020.

    CLICK HERE for more information.