New law sets Unemployment benefits change in Wisconsin

With the start of the New Year, a new waiting period for unemployment benefits begins in Wisconsin. The change is a part of the 2011-2013 state budget. A new state budget provision has been implemented in which the Wisconsinites will receive unemployment benefits after a one week waiting period.

The waiting period before jobless people can start collecting unemployment benefits is likely to save the state an estimated $45 million a year. This new provision will affect the newly unemployed and also those already receiving benefits. In some cases, it will consequence in a jobless worker receiving one less check than he or she have under the previous system. About, more than three dozen other states have instituted a waiting period.

As per Wausau Daily Herald, anyone already collecting benefits will be put through the one week period when their 52 week benefit year ends. Unemployed workers are entitled for 86 weeks of jobless benefits in Wisconsin and the highest weekly benefit rate is $363.

According to State labor officials, the delay will save an expected $45.2 million a year. Moreover the additional time will allow determining eligibility and reduce improper payments by pushing the payment schedule back. John Dipko, communications director for State Department of Workforce Development said, “The waiting week is one step being taken to address a structural deficit in the unemployment insurance fund and to move the fund toward solvency”.

Ken King, executive director of Family Service Association in Sheboygam said that the delay could cause additional strain for unemployed if they haven’t budgeted for it. “It’s unfortunate, but they’re probably going to have to rely heavier on the food pantries to get them over the hump with that one-week delay,” said King, whose agency offers money management counseling.

Dipko said that if a person is out of work for four weeks then that person would have to wait for one week to start collecting benefits and then collect three weeks of jobless benefits for unemployed. As per him, people will be informed about which week will serve as their waiting week.

As per Rick Skutak, a business agent for the Teamsters Local 662 in Mosinee, the change could end up hurting not just unwaged employees but also employers. When companies request temporary call off of their workers, they first ask for volunteers with the most seniority. If a worker’s unemployment benefit is postponed by a week, he or she is less liable to volunteer for a layoff, according to Skutak.

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