Wisconsin DWD: More than $940M in unemployment benefits dispersed over 8 weeks amid COVID-19

MADISON -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development on Monday, May 11 released new information regarding unemployment insurance data amid the coronavirus pandemic -- including that more than $940 in benefits was paid out over eight weeks "to ease anxiety during this crisis."

The DWD said in a news release Monday "DWD distributed over $550 million in unemployment benefits for the week of May 3 alone."

Below is the data released by the DWD Monday:

TOTAL NUMBER: March 15 Through

May 9, 2020
Unemployment Applications Received 518,003

Weekly Claims Received 1,813,938 https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/weeklyclaim/
Weekly Claims Paid 1,213,456
Total Benefits Paid $941,042,374 (including FPUC)

$353,485,099 (excluding FPUC)

FPUC Benefits Paid $587,557,275 https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/fpuc/
PUA Applications Received 72,695

UI Calls Received-Week of May 3, 2020 5,356,962

DWD officials shared the following information regarding the distinction between the types of claims being processed amid the pandemic:

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits: If you're out of work through no fault of your own, and you've worked for a covered employer (an employer who pays UI tax) in the last 18 months, you may be eligible for and should apply for regular UI benefits. Regular UI is available for up to 26 weeks (dependent upon an individual's specific situation).

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): If you are not eligible for regular UI, you may be eligible for PUA. This is a temporary federal program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular UI such as:

    Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): A temporary emergency increase of $600 per week in unemployment benefits. FPUC provides an additional payment to individuals who are collecting regular UI or PUA. It is automatically added to the weekly benefit rate. 

    FOX6 News on Thursday, May 7 learned the DWD's contract with a call center was finalized -- to bring on an additional 500 people to answer phones, and 100 others to process paperwork. Additionally, a spokesman for the DWD said they are currently hiring claims specialists, adjudicators, and other positions. He also said that employees from other state agencies are being reassigned to the DWD's Unemployment Insurance division to increase staffing -- but all of these additional employees must be trained.