Max. Weekly Benefit Amount
Max. Weeks of Benefits
Current Jobless Rate
Max Weekly Benefit Amount
Max Weeks of benefits
Current Jobless rate

Updated : August 25th, 2023

Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits

Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits

Wisconsin unemployment benefits serve as a safety net for individuals who have lost their jobs and are actively seeking employment. These benefits, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, provide temporary financial assistance to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

The program offers monetary compensation to help cover basic living expenses during periods of joblessness. However, it’s important to note that eligibility requirements, weekly benefit amounts, and duration of benefits vary based on factors like previous earnings and work history.

Wisconsin UI Benefits Calculator

The Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits Calculator helps you estimate your UI weekly benefits amount.

UI Benefits Calculator
Calculate Your Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits

See our Wisconsin unemployment calculator to estimate your UI benefit payments.

Wisconsin Unemployment Calculator

Eligibility for UI Benefits In Wisconsin

In order to qualify for Wisconsin UI benefits, you must meet the state’s eligibility requirements. This includes:

  • Being unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Meeting the wage requirements
  • Being willing and able to work
  • Registering for work with the Job Center of Wisconsin
  • Fulfilling the weekly work search requirements
  • Accepting any suitable job offer

Monetary eligibility

When applying for Wisconsin unemployment insurance, you need to meet the state wage requirements. This means:

  • You must have earned wages from a job that is covered by the UI program for at least two quarters during your base period.
  • Your weekly benefit rate needs to be at least $54 or higher.
  • Combined wages from the three calendar quarters with the lowest earnings of your base period must be at least four times your weekly benefit rate.
  • Total wages earned during your base period should be at least 35 times your weekly benefit rate.

Your base period is the first four out of the previous five calendar quarters before you applied for UI benefits. If you do not meet the wage requirements using this base period, the department may choose to use an alternate base period to help you qualify. The alternate base period will review your wages during the four quarters before you applied for benefits.

Learn more about Wisconsin eligibility requirements

Job Separation

You must be employed through no fault of your own to qualify for Wisconsin unemployment insurance. This means that you are not unemployed because you voluntarily quit your job or were fired for misconduct or gross negligence.

Examples of qualifying employment separation include:

  • Being laid off
  • Having your work hours reduced due to lack of work available
  • Quitting for a valid cause, meaning your employer was responsible for you quitting and left you with no other alternative (such as unsafe working conditions)

You will not qualify for UI benefits if:

  • You voluntarily quit with no valid cause
  • You were terminated due to misconduct
  • You refused to work without good cause

You lost your job and it is in an excluded employment category, such as independent contractor, gig work, etc.

Eligibility Calculator

Maintaining Eligibility

After you file your initial application, you will need to file a weekly claim for every week you wish to receive unemployment compensation. You will be asked questions about:

  • Your ability and availability to work
  • Whether you looked for work
  • The details of your job search activity
  • If you refused any acceptable job offers
  • Whether you worked during the week, and if so
  • How much income you earned

Find out on job search requirements

How to apply for UI benefits in Wisconsin

Apply Online

Applying online is the easiest way to get Wisconsin unemployment benefits. Follow these instructions to apply online. If you’ve applied for unemployment benefits in the past, you will need to log in to the portal with your existing credentials. If this is your first time applying for unemployment in Wisconsin, you will need to create an account.


While the online portal is the preferred way to apply for Wisconsin unemployment benefits, you can call a claims specialist if you don’t have access to the internet.

For applicants to apply for benefits make sure to carry the following documents:


There are two ways to apply for unemployment benefits in Wisconsin: online and by phone. You will need to provide a few personal documents in order to apply. This includes:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your Wisconsin driver’s license
  • 18 months of employment history, including:
    • Employer business name
    • Employer address
    • Employer phone number
    • First and last dates of work
    • Reason for separation
  • Alien registration number (if applicable)
  • Separation forms if you worked for the military or federal government
  • The name and local number of your union hall if you’re a union member

Learn about the Wisconsin UI application

How to file weekly claims

You can file your weekly claims online or by phone. To file online, visit and log in with the username and password you created when you initially applied. Click the “File Weekly Certification” button and follow the prompts on the screen.

If you need to file your weekly claim by phone, you can call the claimant assistance line.

Learn how to claim weekly benefits


Things To Know After Filing An Application

After you submit your application for unemployment benefits, it’s crucial to stay organized and adhere to the program’s requirements to maintain your eligibility. Failure to follow these rules could lead to disqualification from receiving unemployment insurance.

Here are a few important points to remember:

Unemployment fraud

If you receive unemployment compensation benefits, it is your responsibility to meet the eligibility requirements established by the state of Wisconsin. It is important to be honest and provide accurate information about your salary and work history when applying for unemployment compensation. Giving false or incorrect information to receive or increase your benefits is considered unemployment fraud.


When you receive more benefits than you’re entitled to, it is known as an overpayment. This can occur if you make a mistake on your application or if there is an error made by the department in calculating your benefits. If you find yourself in this situation, you will be required to repay the extra amount you received back to the state.

Extended Benefit programs

During periods of high unemployment, Extended Benefits are offered to those who have depleted their normal benefit amounts. These benefits are decided upon by the state and federal governments and depend on economic circumstances, like high rates of unemployment, natural disasters, and nationwide pandemics.

Wisconsin does not currently offer Extended Benefits. Unemployment claimants are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits or 40% of their total base period wages per year—whichever is smaller.

Job training assistance

Job Center of Wisconsin offers a wide array of programs and services meant to help unemployed workers find new employment. These services include:

  • Dislocated Worker Program
  • Fidelity Bonding Program
  • Job Center of Wisconsin workshops and events
  • Older Worker
  • Rapid Response Program
  • Veteran Services
  • Wisconsin Apprenticeship
  • Wisconsin Employment Transportation Assistance Program
  • More

Find job training opportunities in WI

Wisconsin unemployment contact information

If you need help or have questions about filing for unemployment, you will need to call the claimant assistance line.

If you would like information about job seeker programs or counseling to find a new job, call your local Job Center of Wisconsin location.

Common Questions

Can I file for unemployment benefits if I am sick or on vacation?

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, you must be capable of working and have the availability for full-time employment. If you are too sick to perform any work, you don’t meet the requirements for receiving unemployment benefits because you are unable to work.

Do I have to pay federal taxes on my unemployment benefits?

Yes, you will need to report unemployment income on your annual income taxes. You can opt to have the state withhold 10% of your weekly benefit payment amount for federal taxes and 5% for state taxes. You will receive tax form 1099-G the January following your unemployment claim.

What is the maximum benefit amount I can receive?

The maximum weekly benefit amount in Wisconsin is $370. You cannot earn more than this, no matter how much you previously earned.

How do I end my claim after I get a full time job?

Once you find a full time job, you can simply stop filing your weekly claim for unemployment benefits. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will assume that you have found a new job or left the labor market, and will stop paying benefits.

Can I file for unemployment benefits in another state while living in Wisconsin?

Federal law prohibits you from filing for benefits in multiple states. However, if you have earned wages in other states, you can file a combined wage claim. This can potentially raise the amount of money you receive each week, ensuring that you receive the full amount you are entitled to.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. Once I apply for UI benefits, why is it necessary to file the weekly claim certifications to receive a payment?

Once you apply for UI benefits an initial claim application is filed which in turn leads to a decision whether the applicant qualifies for UI benefits or not. It is necessary for all claimants to send a weekly claim certification for every week they wish to receive UI benefits. Claimants should know that it is the weekly claim certificate that actually processes payments for each week.

You should always wait until Saturday is over to file your weekly claim certification for the calendar week that ends on Saturday.

Q. Why does the DWD require your Social Security Number and how is it used?

You need to provide your Social Security number as per the Federal Social Security ACT. Your Social Security number is used to verify your identity, establish your employer, wages, determine any other income, check eligibility, and establish a proper record of the benefits paid to you and other important statistics.

Your Social Security number is then verified with the Social Security Administration. If you fail to provide your Social Security number, your claim cannot be made.

Q. What is an ALJ?

An Administrative Law Judge is an ALJ. Administrative Law Judges work with the unemployment insurance division and are licensed attorneys who practice law in Wisconsin. They are state employees who are salaried and their main responsibilities are holding unemployment insurance hearings and also issue tribunal appeal decisions.

Q. What is the importance of the “burden of proof” in an unemployment insurance hearing?

The party who holds the burden of proof is allowed to testify first. Which gives the option to the other party to respond to the material which the other party presents. For e.g when a party does not agree to the nature of the separation which took place in regard to when a claimant quit his/her job. It is up to the employer to show the burden of proof to establish the nature of separation.

When an employee resigns from the job on his/her own terms, the employee must bear the burden of proof which will entitle the employee to claim benefits. If by any chance the party with the burden of proof does not meet that particular burden, the opposing party will prevail. Learn more about appeals.

Q. How long does it take to get my first benefit payment?
To get your first benefit payment, it generally takes seven days after filing your initial claim application. Provided that there are no eligibility questions on your claim. Claimants will receive their benefit payment within seven days of receiving their weekly claims. You should know that it is the weekly claim certificate which actually triggers payments for each week you receive benefits. If you wish to re-open a current but inactive claim, you have the option to receive your payments either via the direct deposit or visa prepaid debit card.

Questions & Answers

  1. I worked for 11 months and then had surgery so I was off for 2 months. Employer said I could come back. I called and texted my supervisor, finally got ahold of her. She said that it is slow and that I would have to wait until Sept. 11 which is one month away. So I think I am considered laid off. Do I have enough months with them to collect unemployment?

    • Hi, Diane – you’d be wise to double-check with the HR department of your company to find out if they have classified your status as laid off. If you apply for unemployment benefits, the Wisconsin unemployment office will need to confirm with your previous employer that you were, indeed, laid off. If the company has you classified in a different way, they may contest your getting benefits. By any chance did you complete FMLA paperwork when you had surgery? Doing so would grant you 12 weeks of medical leave, with your job protected.

  2. I need to know if this would be in good cause to quit my job so I can immediately move to Iowa. I am not sure how I can ensure my case is strong enough for me to collect benefits so I can leave to be somewhere safe due to domestic abuse. I will then be looking for work. The only safe place I can find where I can move right now is 4 hours away making it impossible to continue my employment with my current employer. Would I qualify and how can I prove my case in order to solidify it?

    • Krystle,

      I can understand your situation. You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons. Please check with the Unemployment Office.

  3. 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?

    • 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.

  4. 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.

    • David,

      I do not have an appropriate answer for you in this regard. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  5. 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?

    • Diane,

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

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

    • 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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 ?

    • 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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?

    • 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.

  14. 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.

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

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    • 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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?

  20. 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?

  21. 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

    • 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?

  22. 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?

    • 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.

  23. 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

    • 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.

  24. 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.

    • 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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’

    • 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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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