Wisconsin Unemployment Eligibility
Updated : January 20th, 2021
Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides temporary financial assistance to qualified individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who continue to meet eligibility requirements of State law.
The program is not a right to all who have lost their job.
You have to meet certain requirements to be eligible for benefits. There are separate requirements to receive benefit payment each week.
Non-Monetary Eligibility Requirements
You must be:
- Unemployed for no fault of your own. For example, you were laid off, still working but significantly cut working hours, were fired for a reason other than misconduct or aggravated misconduct, quit for a good-cause.
- Able to and available for work.
- Actively seeking suitable work.
- Register with Job Service. You must register as directed with Job Center of Wisconsin to be eligible to collect UI benefits.
- If the job hours were cut, you should not be working more than 32 hours a week to qualify for unemployment benefits.
The reason for you dismissal is what usually stands between you and unemployment benefits. The state will make a decision about your eligibility after getting information about your separation from both you and your employer. A written decision will be issued based on the information gathered.
Monetary Eligibility Requirements
In the state of Wisconsin, it is necessary to have worked under covered employment / insured employment to be eligible for unemployment benefits. It is highly unlikely to qualify for benefits if your were self-employed, worked for an educational institution while a student there or worked as a real estate or insurance salesperson and were paid only by commission.
One primary rule for qualifying for UC is that the claimant must have earned minimum wages and worked minimum hours during his/her base period. You must have earned wages in covered employment in at least two quarters of your base period.
You also need to satisfy all of the following –
- Sufficient wages in your high quarter to qualify for the minimum Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR).
- You should have earned enough wages such that your wages for three of your lowest quarters when added up should be equal to at least four times your WBR.
- Total base period wages must be greater than or equal to 35x (WBR)
- If you were receiving unemployment compensation in a previous benefit year and the year has ended, you must have worked since the beginning of the current benefit year and earned at least eight times the WBR of that claim
The Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR)
Weekly benefit rate or WBR is the amount you will be receiving as unemployment compensation in a week when you have no other sources of income. Usually, it is 4% of the total high quarter wages from your covered employment. A high quarter is the calendar quarter of your base period where your income was the highest.
As per the laws governing unemployment insurance, the maximum and minimum WBRs are as follows –
- Minimum WBR is $54 and it requires a high quarter earning of $1350
- Maximum WBR is $370 and it requires a high quarter earning of $9250
My employer wants to know if I am eligible for employment. Is this required and what should I do?
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-603) requires all employers to verify employment eligibility of new employees. When an employer hires you, the employer will require you show certain documents to prove your identity and your employment eligibility. If you are unable to present the documents to your employer within the time frame set by law, your employer must end your employment. This in turn may affect your eligibility for UI benefits.
Can I file for UI benefits while attending school?
You need to report that you are a student while you file claims for unemployment benefits. An investigation will be conducted to decide whether you are available for work. You may not have to be available for work while attending school if you are enrolled in a course of study that is considered “approved training.”
I am a school teacher. Can I apply for UI benefits during the school vacation when I do not teach?
If you 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. You can receive benefits during these periods from other employers only if you have qualifying wages for a claim based on employment from the other employers alone.
Do I qualify for unemployment benefits if i quit the job?
Generally, quitting a job for a reason other than a good cause calls for ineligibility. However, if your can prove that you had to quit the job for a good reason or were made to quit though willing to work, you stand some chance.
Here are few cases which you might be able to relate to which come under the good cause category –
- You took another job.
- You became sick or disabled due to the nature of work.
- You moved to be with your spouse or domestic partner whose job is outside your labor market area.
- You needed to protect yourself or immediate family members from domestic violence or stalking.
- You entered approved apprenticeship training.
- You started approved training under the Trade Act.
- You worked full-time and part-time jobs at the same time, and you quit the part-time job – then were laid off later from the full-time job.
Am I eligible for UI benefits if I were fired?
You could be eligible if you were fired for no fault of your own. But if it is misconduct or aggravated misconduct then you will not be eligible.
Check the details listed below to know the UI laws for a fired applicant –
- Fired for misconduct. UI law removes that employer’s base period wages from the calculation of your Maximum Benefit Amount and also suspends your benefits for 7 weeks and until you earn 14 times your Weekly Benefit Rate.
The total amount of unemployment benefits the department could pay you during your benefit year. It is the lesser of 26 times your WBR, or 40% of your total base period wages from all covered employment.
- 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.
Want to know your weekly benefit rate? Use our free and easy to use calculator to know your benefit payment.
Know more about unemployment eligibility.