Wisconsin Unemployment

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Yesterday, the current president issued four executive orders, one of which has to deal with unemployment benefits. A law prof, David Super, has more information on the unemployment executive order than probably anyone wants to read. Here is the substance of the order: The President directs FEMA to create a new program using $44 billion in Disaster Relief Funds that would allow states to send an additional $400 per week to people receiving UC, PUA, or other public unemployment benefits. To participate in this program, states — which already face $555 billion in budget shortfalls as well as demands…
When the pandemic started, unemployment claims skyrocketed to numbers never seen before. Others have focused on the total number of claims being filed. What may be more useful is comparing this increase in claims to what occurred when there was no pandemic — aka last year — and how the claims data has varied over time. So, what makes sense, then, is a ratio of new claims being filed for the equivalent week last year when there was no pandemic. This ratio would indicate both how these new claims compare to when there was no pandemic AND how the unemployment…
Now that the Department will allow disabled workers to receive PUA benefits, here is what folks should do to get that PUA money into their hands as quickly as possible. Filing a PUA claim If not already done, file a PUA claim with the Department by logging in at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov/ and then clicking on the file PUA claim link. If unsure of the status of your PUA claim, call the Department’s special PUA help line at 608-318-7100, available from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. If you have trouble understanding the on-line filing process or have difficulty…
Last night I received from a source a letter from the Employment and Training Administration for the US Dep’t of Labor. This letter explained that SSDI recipients are eligible for PUA benefits. Dear Secretary Frostman: The U.S. Department of Labor (Department) received your letter regarding Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) eligibility for State of Wisconsin recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. Your correspondence was forwarded to the Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for response. ETA is responsible for administering the federal-state Unemployment Insurance (UI) program within the Department. Wisconsin’s state…
Ever since Sec. Frostman issued his June 9th letter admitting that the denial of PUA benefits to the disabled did not follow the CARES Act and was also probably discriminatory, folks have been waiting for an actual change in Department policy on this issue. Folks are waiting because Sec. Frostman did not actually change anything with this letter. Rather, he asked Sec. Scalia for the US Dep’t of Labor to OK this change in DWD policy. Within a week of that letter, I was already hearing from my sources that the US Department of Labor would support this change soon.…
A time out for some politics. Last week, the Dems introduced a bunch of proposals for peeling back some of the changes Walker had had made to unemployment, including an end to the ban on unemployment benefits for SSDI recipients. As noted here previously, around 158,000 SSDI recipients work in some way in Wisconsin. As a result, one out of every twenty workers in this state is a disabled worker receiving SSDI benefits. This statement is not a mistake. One out of every twenty workers in this state is receiving SSDI benefits. So, this ban is sucking…
Note: Here is an appeal letter I filed today to the Labor and Industry Review Commission in two more SSDI cases. Dear Commissioners: On Ms. __’s behalf, I am petitioning for Commission review of the above-referenced matter. This matter concerns the eligibility of SSDI recipients for unemployment benefits and PUA benefits and the discriminatory nature of Wisconsin’s prohibition against the disabled. The same issues and arguments raised in Hearing No. 20602969MW are present in this case. Accordingly, here too I am asking for an expedited decision by the Commission in this matter. One difference, however, is that the Department’s actions…
With 140,000 claimants still waiting on their regular unemployment and (I’m conservatively guessing based on the amount of PUA paid out at the moment) 80,000 PUA applicants still waiting (see the small print at 2), the $600 PUC that has been paid to those found eligible seems more myth than reality. This tweet explains what the consequences are for the nation when the $600 PUC goes away: Binyamin Appelbaum @BCAppelbaum Let’s talk about unemployment benefits. The federal government is currently “employing” about 20 million Americans at a weekly wage of $600. In about 10 days, it plans to lay off…
NELP staffers have an editorial about being “Unemployed in America, and tired of waiting.” Some key points to pay special attention to: With roughly one in four workers having suffered some loss of employment since March, Congress has responded with federal dollars to bolster inadequate state unemployment compensation and to cover millions of workers who are not normally eligible. But these new programs and benefits are being delivered through a crumbling infrastructure that is collapsing under the weight of worker demand. Unemployment was originally designed to provide massive economic stimulus to millions of workers during a recession. So,…
On June 9th, Sec. Frostman indicated a change of heart at the Department, as the Department now considered the denial of PUA benefits to SSDI recipients to be both in violation of the CARES Act and discrimination against the disabled in violation of various federal requirements. But, the Department delayed taking any action by pushing the issue back to federal authorities for additional clarification. In the meantime, actual cases regarding the denial of unemployment eligibility continued. On June 30th, I filed an appeal in one of those cases. In this appeal, I asked the Commission for a quick decision…
ProPublica details perhaps the worst state in the nation for unemployment: North Carolina. A few highlights from the article. Some state unemployment systems have long been designed to exclude applicants. . . . Among the worst, historically and at present, is North Carolina. At the end of 2019 — when the economy was humming and pandemics were the stuff of horror fiction — fewer than 1 in 10 jobless people in North Carolina received unemployment benefits. That’s the lowest rate in the country and well below the average of 26%. * * * In Massachusetts, 66% of new applicants…
Wisconsin Watch reviews the stories of several claimants facing incredibly long delays in the processing of their unemployment claims. Some perspective, however, is needed on what these stories reveal. First, the story reports that around 150,000 claimants are still waiting for their claims to be decided. The May 2020 jobs report indicates that the workforce in Wisconsin is just under 3.1 million. Some simple math reveals that the number of workers with outstanding claims waiting and waiting is roughly 5% of the state’s entire workforce. So, just like disabled workers, one out of every twenty people who work are…
Recall that Wisconsin denies unemployment benefits to SSDI recipients. But, with the pandemic and the economic stimulus created in the CARES Act, it seemed that the disabled in Wisconsin should be eligible for federally-funded PUA benefits based on the statutory provisions in that act. For some reason, Wisconsin DWD decided the prohibition on eligibility in state law would govern this federal law. By mid-May, legislators were getting dozens to hundreds of inquiries regarding PUA-eligibility for the disabled. At this time, DWD-UI had received a generic “conclusion” from the US Dep’t of Labor that the SSDI-recipients were NOT eligible for PUA…
CBS 58 has a report about how Wisconsinites with a BAR are not receiving any of the $600 PUC payment despite guidance that they should receive at least $300 PUC payment each week. The key paragraph from the story: “We have received verification [from the US Dep’t of Labor] that if somebody has a BAR fine, which is a benefit amount reduction, they are not eligible to receive Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which is the acronym FPUC or the additional $600 a week, and basically it’s because this person was found to have committed fraud against the system and therefore…
Jake has the 2019 gold standard numbers, and they are just terrible. Wisconsin’s rate of job growth started to decline in mid-2016, and has pretty much gone down since then, with the except of a Bubbly 6 months after the GOP Tax Scam was signed into law. But last year was a new depth, with barely more than 5,000 jobs added from December 2018 to December 2019, and we even slipped below 0 in November before a small rebound in the last month of 2019. Jake compares the jobs picture in Wisconsin with Minnesota, and the comparison does not…