Wisconsin Unemployment Benefit Questions

Do I have to report working 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. Also 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. Keep track of your work and report it in time to avoid fraud.

I am currently unemployed and receiving unemployment. If I get a part time job, do I lose my unemployment?

No, the department uses a “partial wage formula” to compute your benefits each week that you have gross earnings. If your earnings would vary from week to week, so would your partial payments. But only the amount paid is subtracted from your remaining entitlement. If your working hours were cut and you work for less than 32 hours a week, you can claim UI benefits.

What is the best way to file a claim?

Filing your claim via Internet is the best and fastest option. This is because of the following reasons:

  • There is no rush. You can take your time to fill out the online forms peacefully.
  • Ample amount of help is available online. Its easier to review your answers on an online form too.
  • You also have the provision to take a printout of the questions and answers and keep it for your records.
  • Calling a claims specialist to complete your claim will be easier if done through the internet. This is because all the information a claim specialist needs will already be available online for them to review because your form was submitted online.

Can I receive unemployment benefits and social security retirement benefits in parallel?

Yes. Receiving social security benefits does not affect your eligibility to receive Wisconsin unemployment benefits. And vice versa. To find out more about how to qualify and apply for social security benefits visit

How long does it take for my first check to arrive post filing a claim?

If you qualify for unemployment benefits and if you have no pending eligibility questions on your claim, you will receive your first check within 7-10 days of filing your initial claim.  You must also know about your waiting week. The waiting week is the first week for an individual’s benefit year during which he/she is eligible for UC but the benefits are not paid. Unless the initial claim is filed, the department will be unable to count your waiting week as served. This means that it is vital that your file your claim at the earliest post losing your job.

Your question isn’t listed here? Please visit our Q&A Section.

Have questions on eligibility? Click here.

56 thoughts on “Wisconsin Unemployment Benefit Questions”

  1. MILA says:

    It has been over 21 days and I have not gotten any word back in regards to my claim. No letters for a phone interview, no notices I mean nothing. What should I do they won’t let me talk to the adjudicator.

    1. Sam says:


      Please call the office and insist on an answer. Try and understand the reason for the file being on hold and if there is anything you can do to speed up the process. If need be, ask for a supervisor.

  2. Greg says:

    I am receiving benifits now but need cancer surgery and will not be able to work for 2 months because of recovery time. Can I get an exception? Or other options. I have no addition funds to fall back on.

    1. Sam says:

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Claims Center for further information.

      Hope you get well soon.

  3. Kim Helms says:

    What are the job acceptance rules if I get offered a job?

    1. Martin says:

      Please be specific. Alternatively, you can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  4. Kathy says:

    I am 68 and my job was outsourced. I was in the healthcare field. Do to my age will job searched be waived?

    1. Martin says:

      I am not sure if there is waiver depending on the age group. Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

  5. Rich Jones says:

    can I except an part time job before my work release date ( scheduled perm unemployed date )and still sign up for benefits

    1. Martin says:

      I think you should be able to. Please call the Unemployment Office to confirm before applying.

  6. Rich Jones says:

    When laid off can I except a part time job before getting benefits started and still receive my benefits

    1. Martin says:

      Please call the Unemployment Office since each state has its own rules in this regard.

  7. Jason E says:

    My job is being eliminated with my current company due to a client leaving. I applied to numerous other positions within the company, but did not get offered any of them. I have accepted an offer from another company, but at a reduced pay, but the reduction in pay is only temporary. Do I qualify for assistance with the difference in pay?

    1. Martin says:

      As far as I am aware, you will not be eligible to receive UC benefits under such circumstances.

      You can call the Unemployment Office to inquire further.

  8. Kay Liesse says:

    My friend in Wisconsin has been working 40+ hrs weekly, but her employer is closing the business. There is a job in her field available for 28 hrs weekly. If she takes this job is she eligible for any uc? If yes, for how long?

    1. Martin says:

      If it’s meant to be a part-time job, she will not be eligible.

      You may check further with the Unemployment Office in your state by calling them.

  9. tony says:

    couple months ago I was laid off for a week but never put in a claim. can I still put it in late?

    1. Martin says:

      You must have applied as soon as you laid off since the eligibility is determined on the basis of your employment in the last 4-5 calendar quarters.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to confirm and apply accordingly.

  10. Rich says:

    Can I receive unemployment benefits if I quit my job to care for my disabled wife ?

    1. Martin says:

      Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered.

      Please check with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  11. Teresa says:

    If a company is giving ‘Bonus’ checks to their employees and the checks are ‘printed’ one week through payroll and not actually given out to employees for another 2 or 3 weeks during a company meeting, when would employees have to ‘report’ this bonus on their unemployment weekly claim if they are currently on UC? Is the bonus reported in the week they are ‘handed’ the check even if it was not actually dated in that week?? Or how would this work?

    1. Martin says:

      Please report it only when you actually receive thee check in hand.

  12. GGLADYS J BROWN says:

    how can I access MY ANNUAL total earning benefits from UI IN 2015? TO BE SUBMITTED WITH TAXES FOR 2015.

    1. Martin says:

      Please ask for 1099-G for filing taxes.This statement can be obtained from the official website of the Unemployment Office in your state or by calling them.

  13. Cory Kelley says:

    I am on unemployment now I have a job but it does not start until April.
    Do I still need to go to the in person session in Dodgeville Wisc.?

    1. Martin says:

      Please call the claims center on the phone numbers provided for advise.

      We do not have knowledge in this regard.

  14. Duane says:

    my father died in December and I will be getting some money. will this effect my unemployment benefits? I live in Wisconsin.

    1. Martin says:

      It will have a say.

      Please speak to the labor authorities in your state and appraise them of the situation.

  15. garydecraene says:

    can I collect unemployment benefits when retired and collecting social security.

    1. Adrian says:

      Some states allow both while some don’t.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  16. wayne tremble says:

    my employer has suspended me indefinetly for alleged sexuall harasment, that i did not do. and will not return my call for a meeting and return to work am i able to file for unemployment

    1. Adrian says:

      You can consider applying. There will be a dispute from your employer and you should be able to prove otherwise.

  17. james says:

    I been discharged from work for 5 weeks and have not received any unemployment at all I got a 1200.00 vacation check from work would that be why it is taking so long to get unemployment insurance payments.

    1. Adrian says:

      Please call the customer service immediately for an update on status.

      Hope you’ve applied for benefits.

  18. Jodi Ottensmann says:

    my question is….if i have a doctor excuse for light duty for six weeks and my employer cut my hours from 40 down to 24 can i collect partial unemployment to cover the difference in wages…thank you for your time

    1. Adrian says:

      Depends as you have a medical reason.Please consider applying.

  19. Chris says:

    If I am currently on unemployment and take a four month contract with a definite end date in August, will I have access to unemployment at the end of the contract date in August?


    1. Adrian says:

      Depends. Contracted employees are treated in a different manner(state wise) when it comes to UI benefits.I hope you have at least an year in employment.

      Please check with the labor dept in your state.

  20. michelle says:

    wondering if my husband who is a substitute teacher can collect during his months off of work?

    1. Adrian says:

      Seasonal employment is generally not considered for UI benefits.

      Please enquire with the labor dept in your state to check on how they they would treat the break in teaching.

  21. michelle says:

    my husband works as a substitute teacher, he is off June thru Aug. can he collect thru these months until he goes back mid Sept? We have 2 young girls and my income helps but can’t pay all bills. just need things to work out better for us thru the summer months

  22. Betty says:

    If I reported 32 hours for I week Can I count this as my waiting week?

  23. justin meyers says:

    Can I receive unemployment after only working 21 days

  24. nola says:

    I am self employ working childcare due 2 certification is out dated .I cannot work until state come out to my home.that will take3 to 4 months.can I file? This is my only in income.

    1. Adrian says:

      Unfortunately,self employed and free lance workers are not eligible to receive unemployment compensation from the state.Please contact the department of workforce development in Wisconsin for advise on other benefits that is available for self employed.

  25. Carol says:

    I have not worked since Sept 2012 due to medical/surgery.
    My job was terminated in April 2013 because I was still on medical restrictions
    I have been receiving LTD benefits which will end in December.
    How do and can I apply for unemployment benefits?
    I have been looking for a job, but unable to get one so far.

    1. Steve Brantman says:

      I Am on short term disability doctor says Cant return to work Applied for Social Security Disability waiting for decision Can I still get unemployment Benefits while I Wait for social security to answer

      1. Adrian says:

        Not sure if you will be eligible for unemployment insurance as you’re unable to work due to health condition.

  26. arnold bridenhagen says:

    if I am having surgery and will not be able to call in or go online for a couple weeks what happens to my claim? Can I reapply when I am able to work again? This will probably be 3-4 weeks till I will be able to work again.

  27. ed says:

    if my hours get reduced can I get unemployement?

  28. Dan says:

    can you apply for unemployement for not having work for one day due to weather?

  29. Vicki Schorse says:

    1) My former employer has provided severance pay. Am I also eligible for unemployment since the severance package does not cover all previous compensation?

    2) If not, will I be eligible for full unemployment benefits at the end of my severance period if I have not found a suitable job?

    Thank you.

  30. Jonathan Schroeder says:

    How long does it take to figure out if my job search will be waived if im attending a vocational program for diesel and heavy machinery technition?

    1. kathy says:

      If this is an approved program you should be able to find that information at the Wisconsin Unemployment website – look for information on approved training.

  31. Melinda says:

    I am waiting for my card for my unemployment benefits, I am wondering when it should arrive or how long it takes to arrive. I filed for the first time on July 28th, 2013

  32. Mike says:

    Hello, I received a death threat from a co worker which I take VERY seriously. I have been very sick since feel unsafe at work and at home…anywhere I go i am looking over my shoulder. I brought this to the attention of my HR Director and manager and the threat was actually turned around on me and they questioned whether I was racist. I feel VERY insecure about going back to the office and do not know what to do. Would I be able to quit under these circumstances and be able to collect Unemployment Insurance until I could find another job?

    Thank you

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