Updated : January 31st, 2019
How to claim your benefits in Wisconsin
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Wisconsin Unemployment QuestionsDo 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.
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 DisqualificationsEven 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.