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Updated : January 31st, 2019

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State: Wisconsin (WI)
Phone Number:414-435-7069 to find assistance in applying for benefits. Remember to call only from Monday to Friday, between 7:45 AM and 4:30 PM. If you have a disability and need assistance with this information, please dial 7-1-1 for Wisconsin Relay Service. Please contact the Unemployment Insurance Division at 414-435-7069 to request information in an alternate format, including translated to another language. If your claim needs to be completed by a Claims Specialist and you call during hours when Claims Specialists are not available, the system will record your claim as having been filed and will tell you to call back (using the same telephone number) between 7:00AM and 5:30PM, Monday through Friday, to complete your application. Your claim will start in the week that you placed your first call.
Major Towns:Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Eau Claire, Oshkosh and Janesville
Current Unemploymnet Rate in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Unemployment Questions

Do I need to report new employment if I have not been paid yet?

Yes. You must report working in every week that you work, no matter when you will be paid for the work. And all wages must be reported on your weekly claim certification for the week in which they were earned, not in the week you are paid. If you do not report working in a week that you work, you could be penalized in addition to having to pay back any improperly received benefits.

I had to quit my last job – am I eligible for unemployment?

If your separation from your last employer was for anything other than layoff, State agency will conduct a fact-finding interview by phone and to secure information from you, your employer and any other relevant parties before we can determine your eligibility. No payments can be made until we have issued a decision, and that decision allows benefits. Decision will be made based on the fact finding interviews.

I am planning to attend school, will that be an issue?

Generally States require that claimants be willing and able to work fulltime days, and actively seek such employment. If someone is attending a university and taking day classes, they may not meet this requirement. If they are taking an evening course or two on the other hand, there should be no problem.
There is a provision that will waive the able and available and work search requirements if the individual is enrolled full-time in a vocational program (diesel truck driving, cosmetology, nursing aide, etc.). Benefits will be held while the state determines whether your school attendance meets these requirements.

Do I have to take a job that pays less than what I used to make?

Wisconsin statutes provide for a “canvassing period” of up to six weeks after a job separation, during which time a claimant may indeed use the wages and skills of the last job as a basis to evaluate an offer of new work. If the skills are different or the wage substantially less, benefits are normally not affected. However, after the canvassing period ends, the individual must be willing to accept work which offers reasonable wages, hours and other conditions in that area for that type of work offered, without regard to past wages or skills.

Can I receive weekly Unemployment benefits and Social Security benefits at the same time?

Yes. Wisconsin Unemployment benefits are not affected by also receiving Social Security Retirement benefits. Social Security Retirement cash benefits are also unaffected by receiving WI Unemployment benefits. To find out more about how to qualify and how to apply for Social Security Retirement benefits go online to www.socialsecurity.gov.

Receiving a pension/401(k) and unemployment insurance benefits

A pension or monies received from a 401(k) based on work for an employer who is in your base period (potentially responsible for your unemployment benefits) may affect your benefits. This issue will be referred to an adjudicator for a complete investigation. If the employer you are receiving a pension from is not in your base period, it will have no impact on your claim


Common Reasons for Disqualifications

Even if you have been paid enough wages from covered employment to qualify for unemployment benefits, you will not receive benefits if you:
  • quit a job without good cause. UI law suspends your benefits for 4 weeks and until you earn 4 times your WBR.
  • are fired for misconduct. UI law removes that employer's base period wages from the calculation of your MBA and also suspends your benefits for 7 weeks and until you earn 14 times your WBR.
  • are fired for failing to notify your employer of excessive absenteeism or tardiness. UI law suspends your benefits for 6 weeks and until you earn 6 times your WBR.
  • refuse work without good cause. UI law suspends your benefits for 4 weeks and until you earn 4 times your WBR.
  • fail to make an acceptable work search for any week that one is required.
  • are working and claiming benefits and do not do all the work available during a week. UI law adds the income you could have earned to what you did earn to calculate your benefits due. If you miss more than 16 hours in a week no benefits are payable for that week.
  • work a total of 40 or more hours for all employers in a week you are claiming.
  • are working and claiming benefits for a week for which you will be paid at least 35 hours from an employer who paid 80% or more of your total base period wages, and your rate of pay for this week is the same or greater than you were paid by this employer during the high quarter of your base period.
  • are not able to work or available for work in a week. The department must investigate any circumstance that restricts your ability or availability for work. Examples include, but are not limited to, the hours you can work, the type of work you can perform and the distance you can travel. Even if you are working you may be disqualified if you are not available for full-time work.
  • are unemployed because of a strike or other labor dispute, other than a lockout. Employees who are not participating in the labor dispute, but become unemployed because of it, may also be ineligible. If you work in covered employment after the start of the strike and you have qualifying wages for a claim based on that employment alone, you may be eligible for benefits while the strike is in progress.
  • work for a school only during the normal school year. You are ineligible for benefits based on school year employment during school vacation periods and between academic terms or years if you have reasonable assurance of returning to similar work after the vacation or at the start of the next term or year. We can pay benefits during these periods from other employers only if you have qualifying wages for a claim based on employment from the other employers alone.
  • are paid by a family corporation, owned or controlled by you or your immediate family in your base period. Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) may be reduced. When we calculate your MBA, the wages used from the family corporation employer cannot exceed 10 times the weekly benefit rate (WBR) from that employer. This may also apply to a partnership, depending on your relationship to the partners.
  • work in excluded employment. Excluded employment is work which is not covered under Wisconsin's UI Law. You cannot be paid unemployment benefits based on that work. Some examples of excluded employment include:
  • Work for an educational institution while a student there.
  • Work as a real estate or insurance salesperson if paid only by commission.

Questions & Answers

  1. I have a question, desperately asking for any answers if you know. Online it says 2 weeks in a row my claims have been DISQUALIFIED. I have not received my Determination letter in the mail yet. I will receive it next week. I spoke to a women named Megan from Wisconsin Unemployment today Friday June 28, 2019 around 8:40am this morning and she told me there will be a Determination Letter being sent out to me. My question is, my claims saying Disqualified Before my determination letter means DENIED Or is there still a decision to be made further?

    1. Ruth,

      Please wait for the ‘Determination Letter’ to arrive before taking further action. This letter will contain details of the decision made by the office. If you think you’ve denied on irrelevant grounds, you can ask for an adjudicator and file an appeal.

  2. I have a work waiver from having to look for a job because I am returning to my employer because there is a 12 week layoff. I also have two letters stating that they want me to return to work for 5 of those weeks we are having the layoff.
    Other than that there’s no work available. Given that information can I leave the U.S. for a week on one of the weeks I know they are not calling me in? Because I can’t be available for work that’s not available and under our union rules and agreement we only have to be available for the weeks assigned.
    And I received a work search waiver so I don’t need to be availalbe to look for jobs because I have a return date stated in a letter.

  3. I was laid off from my regular 40 hour week job. I have been doing some driving as an UBER driver to make some extra money. Am I still able to apply for umemployment while I keep driving for UBER now that I am not working my 40 hours week job?

    1. Diane,

      I am not sure of a definite answer to your question. Please call the Unemployment Office for the required information.

  4. If I am eligible for unemployment due to a company close (after the severance period runs out of course) and still am not employed or can only find part time work currently can I still collect partial unemployment?

  5. I recently was employed, but have no health or dental insurance until I am employed for 90 days.Is my state insurance still covering me until my employers kicks in?

    1. I am not sure if you’re referring to the Unemployment Insurance program. If yes, please clarify.

      Otherwise, please contact the relevant authority in case of Medical Insurance.

  6. Recently my husband lost his job and was dismissed untimely from his employer on 03/7/17 indefinitely. The letter’s termination said for “not working the entire shift and leaving early on 2/21/17. This claim from the company is not truth because my husband asked to Floor’s Manager for permission due to his health condition which he can demonstrate it evidence letters from his doctor’s GHC Clinic recommended him “work no more then 4 hours per day for the next 2 weeks this evaluation was for heel pain on 02/28/17. Due to continuing pain in his plantar on 03/6/17 the doctor recommended him an injection and he not work the remainder of the day and go back to work with no restrictions on 03/7/17. He show up on 03/7/17 to work and he received a termination letter. Can my husband apply for unemployment benefits? he never requested this type of support. Please advise in order to follow up with you. Thanks.

    1. If his job was terminated wrongfully, he can be eligible to draw UI compensation.

      Please ask him to consider applying and keep the required documents handy if the employer raises a dispute.

  7. 1st question : Can I receive unemployment for 8 hours of missed work due to ice storm ( unable to drive 35 miles ) ?

    2nd question : Can I receive unemployment if I was asked to move to a different department because I couldn’t do the job in the department I was in and quit because being moved to the other department was not what I applied for in the beginning ?

    1. Answers to your question as below.

      1) Please call the Unemployment Office to confirm if this is an acceptable reason and apply accordingly.
      2) If you quit voluntarily, you will not be eligible.

  8. I have steady employment right now, but am being offered a contract position. If I take it (9 months long), and it does NOT yield a permanent position, might/might not, would I still qualify for benefits?

  9. i was demoted without any write ups of any kind, I have a lot of medical problems including depression, arthritis, cronic coronary artery disease, fibromyalga, torn labrian in my righht hip, and a torn ligament in my left elbow, it is getting very difficult to go to work, but was struggling to go to work because I need an income, can I quit and collect unemployment?

    1. Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health issues are not considered. You may not be eligible to collect UI benefits.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further details.

    1. Your friend can either log into his/her account on the official web portal or call the Claims Center to find out if the claim was received.

  10. if my job is recalling me in sept. and my go back to work meeting is aug.and job search jobs call me do I have to go to a lot lower paying job!i am going back to my job that pays a lot more .thank you!

  11. I recently lost my job and just started to receive benefits. I am in the process of buying and starting my own business. Do I have to still conduct 4 job searches a day? Also, once the business is purchased and operating, how long can I continue to receive benefits? What if I can not start to pay myself right away or show a profit?

    1. Well, you’re required to make the job searches and report them.

      Please call the claims center to inquire further about how it affects if you’re trying to start a business.

  12. Question – my job was eliminated in 2015 and the company offered me a significantly lower job than what I had or take a package to leave.

    Am I still available for unemployment? assuming all the other requirements are ok.

    1. Well, it may be considered as quitting voluntarily and you may not be eligible.

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  13. I was just wondering, I have 2 kids and have missed a few days of work because of differing medical issues. Work tells me that I am still responsible for my hours even in an emergency. I do understand that to a point, but it can’t be helped. I am worried that I’ll get fired for that. Would I be able to file for unemployment if that happens? I am really concerned because of my kids.

  14. I have lost half my hours do to winter hours it will be from Jan 1st 2014 till May 1st 2014 I was told to apply for unempolyment

    1. You can positively look at applying for unemployment insurance if you are laid off for a temporary period or if there has been reduction in the number of hours.

  15. how do u get a hold of a person on the phone been trying ALL WEEK and keep getting the same recording mon – friend today is fri have a ? on what do if u forgot to put in a day that u worked on the week
    ly claims

  16. I don’t know if I pressed the right #’s on the touch tone phone and am wondering if I said missed I meant that I did not work for 3 days. Not sure about this?
    618 I missed work on Sun 7/28, Wed 7/31 and 8/1.2013
    Please help and make sure i did fill this out properly on the phone. Thank you, Karen

  17. I filed a claim for the week ending 08-03-2013, I made $80.00 I should still be able to collect my benefits for that week. I have tried several times to contact someone and the recording just tells me my claim has been accepted. Then where is my money?

  18. My grandson worked for a place for nearly 2 yrs. He was in school so worked part time. When he graduated and in summer he worked alot of hours. Then when he went back to school in fall his hours were cut, even more so when he was in school before. Some how of another they thought he had another job and called him and told him he wasn’t needed anymore and since they thought he had another job they let him go. He is only 18 and didn’t know you could get unemployment. So about a month or so after he was let go he filed but was told he filed to late. Is there a time period you have to file?

  19. Can i collect if I’ve world at a job for 9yrs and i don’t get the benefits i deserve. vacation and regular raises

    1. Hi Dan,

      If there has been a breach in the work contract from your employers end, then you can quit the job and avail benefits. But, before quitting, you will have to attempt to reach out to your employer and settle the issue. If it doesn’t, then you can move on to quit. Were these benefits mentioned in the contract?

  20. I was fired on 12/18/2012 while on Medical leave for neck surgery that wasn’t covered by FMLA due to not being there for a year. Because it was a pre-existing condition, I didn’t qualify for short term disability either. I am now enrolled in school since I’m unable to do such physical jobs anymore. If I’m enrolled in night classes, an I able to collect unemployment while looking for a day time job?

    1. Hi Kelly,

      If you are unable to or/and unavailable to work, then you might not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. You can attend classes and look for a job and receive benefits, but please take a look at other requirements which are in place.

  21. I work for a non profit. Most of us lost our jobs, to outsourcing. Some of us worked there over 20 years. My question is, What about us? They told us we are not eligible for unemployment. My guestion Is that really true? We are leaving with next to nothing. Thanks

    1. Hi Patricia,

      It is a requirement to have worked under covered employment in order to receive unemployment compensation. If your company says you are not eligible, they might not have paid employment taxes to the government rendering you disqualified for benefits. This could be a possible reason. There might be some other reason which I am unaware of. You could still go ahead and apply to let the unemployment office provide a formal determination.

  22. My son works at a small hardware store that’s closeing.Allmost all the little hardware stores in this area have.Is there any programs for him to get his GED and some schooling.

    1. Hi Cindy,

      You should be able to change the direct deposit details while filing your weekly claim. You may have to visit an unemployment office if that isn’t possible.

  23. I lost my 2012 Unemployment W-2 from Wisconsin, and need a replacement W-2 so I can file my 2012
    income Tax. My S.S. is 389-94-0427

  24. Yes have a question. I left one full time job to go back to. School and started a different one. The new one I have not working out for me and school. If I were to quit to look for different job that works better with school. Would I be eligible for unemployment for time looking for new job.

  25. If a worker provides a two week notice of employment ending with an organization based solely on the employee’s decision, how can they be found eligible for WI UC? Also, the same employee who leaves and moves to Las Vegas, NV, can they apply for UC in that state?

  26. I worked for Burger King for 5 years, I missed 2 days of work, one with a doctors not and one no call no show, my boss suspended me and then fired me for not calling her in 2 days, can I collect unemployment she is fighting my claim because of ‘excessive abseentism/tardiness’

    1. No call, no show for 2 days might work against you. File your claim, state your case and see what happens. You can appeal. If you lose ask what you need to do to be able to collect in the future.

  27. I am writing about an aqaintance, Randall D Whitrock. He was fired from his job approximately 1 month ago from White Construction in Beaver Dam due to failing a manditory drug test. Is he eligible for unemployment benefits?

  28. My daughter who has worked McDonalds for almost 2 years was fired and we are wondering is hse can claim unemploymnet benefits being she is under 18

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