Unemployment Insurance

Senator Baldwin worked to pass the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help provide immediate support for Wisconsin families, workers, schools, small businesses, hospitals and our health care system. This action by Congress is another strong step forward to help Wisconsin meet the challenges we face. We are all in this together, and Senator Baldwin will continue her work across party lines to take additional steps to get through this public health crisis, stabilize our economy, and help us all move forward.

The bipartisan CARES Act expands unemployment insurance to help Wisconsin workers that have been furloughed or laid off. With $260 billion in funding our rescue package has expanded eligibility to cover more workers and we have increased the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week for every American through July 31, which will provide most workers with their full paycheck. The legislation also makes unemployment insurance available for 13 additional weeks for a total of 39 weeks in Wisconsin.  Unemployment insurance will also now be available for workers who are unemployed or unable to work because of the virus and don't qualify for traditional benefits.  This support ensures that workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with self-employed and workers in the gig economy. Apply for unemployment by visiting https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply/

Frequently Asked Questions: Unemployment Insurance

How do I file for Unemployment Insurance?

You can apply for unemployment compensation through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. For information on filing for unemployment, please visit: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply/

How much can I get from Unemployment Insurance?

The Wisconsin unemployment rate provides a maximum amount of $370 per week and a minimum amount of $54 per week. As a result of the CARES Act, between now and July 31, an additional $600 will be added to every unemployment compensation check, so no one will receive less than $600 per week.

What if I’m not eligible for traditional Unemployment Insurance?

The CARES Act temporarily expands unemployment insurance to cover individuals who are not traditionally covered, including the self-employed, gig-workers, independent contractors, and workers with irregular work history. It also expands the list of allowable criteria for claiming unemployment compensation to include many reasons related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Apply by visiting https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/pua/

I’m eligible for Unemployment Insurance under the CARES Act, but I’ve been denied benefits. What should I do?

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is now accepting claims from newly eligible workers under the CARES Act.

You can begin filing by visiting https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/pua/

For additional information, visit https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/caresact/

Senator Baldwin is urging the U.S. Department of Labor to take additional action and support states in ensuring workers receive unemployment insurance as quickly as possible.

What if I’ve been out of work because of COVID-19 for several weeks already?

If you exhaust the 26 weeks of unemployment compensation available in Wisconsin, you will be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of benefits. These benefits will be federally-funded, but you will still receive them through the state.

How long will the expanded benefits be in place? 

Expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance will be in effect until December 31, 2020. A $600 additional benefit will be added to unemployment compensation received for weeks between when the bill is enacted and July 31, 2020.

Is there a waiting period? 

The CARES Act includes incentives for states to waive the waiting week between applying for unemployment compensation and receiving it. Wisconsin has now changed its state law in order to waive the waiting week.

With the new law, any claimant who filed a new application in the week of March 15, 2020 or later will not have to serve a waiting week. If you started a new claim in the week of March 15, 2020 or later and already served the waiting week, you will receive back payment for that week. The Department of Workforce Development plans to make those back payments by April 25. For more information please visit https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui.htm

Additional Information and Resources

For general information and resources about coronavirus for Wisconsinites, please click here.

For a section by section summary of the bipartisan CARES Actplease click here.

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