Wisconsin Unemployment Benefit Questions

Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits

Navigating the Wisconsin unemployment insurance program can sometimes be confusing. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions claimants have about the process:

How do I file a claim for unemployment benefits in Wisconsin?

You can apply for Wisconsin unemployment insurance through the online claimant portal or by calling the claimant assistance hotline.

How much is unemployment in Wisconsin?

As of 2023, the maximum unemployment weekly benefit rate is $370. You cannot earn more than this amount, no matter how much you previously earned. The current minimum is $54.

You can calculate your estimated weekly benefit rate by visiting our Wisconsin Unemployment Calculator.

How long does Wisconsin unemployment take to process?

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will review your eligibility within a week of receiving your initial unemployment application. If you meet the requirements for benefits, you will usually receive payment within seven days of completing your second weekly claim.

The first week that you qualify for unemployment benefits is called the “waiting week.” While you do still need to meet the eligibility criteria for the waiting week, you won’t receive payment for it.

When does my weekly claim start?

You can start submitting your weekly claim certification on the Sunday following the submission of your initial claim application. It’s important to complete and submit your weekly claim certification by 3:00 pm on the Saturday that falls 14 days after the end of the week for which you are claiming benefits.

In order to continue receiving unemployment insurance, you need to file a weekly claim certification for each week you want to receive benefits. By filing a weekly claim certification, you’re letting the department know that you are still unemployed or working fewer hours. If you don’t file a weekly claim certification, you will not receive unemployment compensation for that week.

How do I check the status of my claim in Wisconsin?

You can check the status of your unemployment claim by logging into the my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov portal. After you’ve logged in, click the “My UI Summary” tab to see your weekly claim status and whether payment has been processed.

Additionally, you can also call the UI claimant assistance hotline and a representative can give you more information about the status of your unemployment claim.

How do you contact Wisconsin unemployment?

If you have any questions regarding filing your unemployment insurance application or weekly claims, you should call the UI claimant assistance hotline.

For inquiries about registering for work, or if you need additional information about job searching resources, please contact or visit your local Job Center of Wisconsin office.

Can I file an unemployment claim with another state?

No, you cannot receive unemployment benefits from more than one state. You will need to file in the state where the majority of your wages were earned.

If most of your wages were earned in Wisconsin, but you have some that were earned outside the state, you can file a combined wage claim to increase your weekly benefit rate.

What happens if I lie to get unemployment benefits in Wisconsin?

If you purposely provide false information or withhold important details to receive benefits, it is considered unemployment fraud under Wisconsin state law. Committing fraud can result in penalties, such as denial of benefits, repayment of benefits with additional fees, and even criminal prosecution.

Who pays for Wisconsin unemployment insurance?

Wisconsin’s UI program is financed by taxes paid by employers. No money is taken directly from employee paychecks to cover UI benefits.

Can I work part time and receive unemployment benefits?

Yes. However, any work or income you receive will impact your weekly benefit payment. If you work, miss work, or receive holiday, vacation, severance, or sick pay for 32 hours or more in a week, no benefits will be paid for that week.

If your total hours for the week are fewer than 32 and your total earnings are $500 or fewer, a “partial wage formula” is used to calculate partial weekly UI benefits. Here’s how it works:

  1. Subtract $30.00 from your gross income.
  2. Multiply the remaining amount by 0.67 (67%).
  3. Subtract this new amount (including cents) from your weekly benefit amount.
  4. Round down the result to the nearest whole dollar. This is the amount of partial UI benefits you will receive for the week.

What wages do I need to report?

It’s important to report any money you earn from work. This includes income from full-time or part-time jobs, temporary or odd jobs, and tips.

You should also report any work you do if you receive a payment that is not money. This includes the value of any type of compensation or payment you receive for your work, such as room and board, cash payments, tips, commissions, or working to pay off a bill.

In addition, you need to report any other earnings or benefits you receive. This includes bonus pay, sick pay, holiday pay, vacation pay, or paid time off. It also includes payments like termination pay, severance packages, pay instead of notice, dismissal pay, pension or 401(k) from a previous employer within your benefit year, or any worker’s compensation benefits.

Are unemployment benefits subject to taxes?

Yes, you will need to report any unemployment compensation you receive on your annual income taxes. You can opt to have the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development withhold 10% of your weekly benefit rate for federal taxes, and 5% for state taxes.

You will receive Form 1099-G the following January of each year you receive benefits. You will need to use this form when filing income taxes.

Can I get unemployment if I am receiving a pension or retirement?

You must inform the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development if you have applied for or are currently receiving any retirement payments. Retirement payments can be in the form of regular monthly payments or a one-time lump sum from retirement plans like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s, or Railroad Retirement Benefits. It’s important to note that receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits does not affect your eligibility for unemployment insurance payments.

It’s important to note that voluntarily retiring from your job may be considered quitting, which could result in disqualification from UI benefits.

What happens if I lose my job shortly after finding reemployment?

Should you lose your new job shortly after starting, you can log into the my.unemployment.wisonsin.gov claimant portal and reopen your claim, provided you have not reached your maximum benefit amount for the year. You will also not need to meet the waiting week requirements again.

If it has been more than one year since you filed for unemployment benefits, you will need to file a new application.

  1. Hello, It’s been over 21 days and I still haven’t gotten any calls or letters regarding the claim. I called the office and they gave the adjudicator name and number but he hasn’t returned any of my calls

  2. Its been over 21 days and I still haven’t gotten a call or anything in the mail. I called the office and they said the adjudicator been picked up my case and I’ve been calling and he hasn’t been answering

    • Tiara,

      Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity. There might be a delay due to the holiday season.

  3. 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.

    • Mila,

      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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

      • I injured my knee and now need surgery. I am receiving unemployment benefits now. What will happen to my unemployment benefits while I am recovering?

        • Hi, Kate – you should check in with someone with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. You may be able to continue filing your weekly claims, but one of the key criteria for UI benefits eligibility is that you are able and available to accept work if it is offered to you. If your injury and subsequent surgery keep you from working, then you may not be eligible for benefits during the weeks you are recovering.

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

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

  6. 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?

    • 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.

  7. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered.

      Please check with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  8. 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?

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

    • 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.

  10. 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.?

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

    • Some states allow both while some don’t.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  12. 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

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

  13. 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.

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

      Hope you’ve applied for benefits.

  14. 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

  15. 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?


    • 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.

    • 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    • 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

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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?

    • 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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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