Latest from Wisconsin Unemployment

Or, who should be in charge for the sake of middle-class prosperity, Mr. Potter or George Bailey?

Unemployment is a key economic indicator, as the rate is tied to whether companies are hiring or laying off workers. The whole point of unemployment benefits, after all, is economic insurance for businesses so that their customers continue to have money to buy the things they need, like food and housing.
The decreased and irregular purchasing power of wage earners in turn
Continue Reading Which political party is more likely to lead to economic gains

There is no doubt any longer that the 40% administrative concealment penalty that the Department charges for unemployment fraud is highly profitable to the Department.
Note: The 40% administrative penalty is actually two separate penalties: a 15% penalty that goes back into the unemployment trust fund and a 25% penalty that goes into a separate program integrity fund.
The program integrity fund has mushroomed in size with the Covid-19 pandemic, as all of those unemployment benefits that were
Continue Reading No Administrative Concealment Penalties for Lost Wages Assistance

On March 26th of this year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that further review in Amazon Logistics v. LIRC, 2024 WI 15, was premature. As a result, the court of appeals decision in Amazon Logistics v. LIRC, 2023 WI App 26, 407 Wis.2d 807, 992 N.W.2d 168, remained in place.

Before getting to that appeals court decision and what it means, the terrain for gig workers (also called self-employed workers or independent contractors) has been in a
Continue Reading Gig Workers in Wisconsin

Jake has been on a tear with economic news for Wisconsin, and it has been too long since I provided an update on this front. So, I’m going to piggyback off of his efforts.

In general, Wisconsin has seen both solid job AND wage growth the past few years.

While the beginning of 2023 saw a slight slow down, the latter half of 2023 saw significant income growth in the state, especially when compared to other Midwestern states.
Continue Reading Wisconsin economic news

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in Catholic Charities v. LIRC, 2024 WI 13. At issue in this case was whether the Catholic Charities entities would be exempt from paying any unemployment taxes (and their employees no longer eligible for unemployment benefits when laid off) because the Catholic Charities entities are, like churches themselves, operated for faith-based reasons.
Note: Articles on the decision have appeared in the Wisconsin Examiner, WisPolitics, and Urban Milwaukee
Continue Reading Religious Exemptions to Unemployment Taxes in 2024

Help make government unemployment insurance forms easier to use — and get a $50 Visa gift card for your feedback.

The US Dep’t of Labor and Nava Public Benefit Corporation are looking for individuals who are unemployed or who have recently experienced unemployment to better understand the issues people face when applying on-line for unemployment benefits and completing on-line weekly certifications.

General Information

  • If selected to participate, you will receive a $50 Visa gift card forcompleting a one-hour interview.

Continue Reading Claim-filing study looking for participants

In late 2022 and early 2023, a few folks started contacting me about being disqualified or having to repay unemployment benefits they received during the Covid-19 pandemic because of their participation in lab testing studies.

Then at the July 2023 Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council meeting, a coalition of lab testing companies and Rep. Gundrum asked the council to support a change in the law to exempt lab testing as covered employment. According to the minutes of that meeting:
Continue Reading Lab Test Subjects as Employees

In Colleen Koch, PUA Hearing No. 21603562MD (28 Jan. 2022), the Labor and Industry Review Commission held that the Department of Workforce
Development’s notice for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) documentation requirement is legally defective, as the notice lacked notice language for filing the documentation late with good cause. The Department, however, has never corrected its PUA documentation notice. Accordingly, the deadline for satisfying the PUA documentation requirement has been extended indefinitely, since all notices of this requirement
Continue Reading PUA documentation notice is legally defective

Unique among the states, Wisconsin implemented PUA benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic with specific restrictions that did NOT match any actual statutory or regulatory requirements. One of these was a primary income test to deny PUA benefits to part-time workers who had other sources of income outside of their pandemic-related job losses.

The Commission’s argument was that the “primary income” of 20 CFR § 625.2(n) is not the same as the “principal income” in 20 CFR § 625.2(s) and
Continue Reading No primary income test for PUA benefits in Wisconsin

For the unemployment bills — AB147, AB149, AB150, and AB152 — recently passed by the legislature, I am urging Governor Evers to veto these bills in this letter.

I understand you are busy with the budget bills recently passed by the legislature.

But, the above-referenced unemployment bills recently passed by the legislature are also on your desk, and I urge you to veto them for the reasons indicated in my analysis of the bills at
Continue Reading Letter to Governor Evers

Here is some updated information on the claim-filing questions in Wisconsin. You can find prior versions of these questions at this October 2020 post, which has the questions that existed as of September 2020.

This info is based on the Department’s initial claim questions that are available here, and the weekly certifications questions that are available here. These web pages have been consolidated into single PDF files:

Continue Reading Claim-Filing questions in Wisconsin as of June 2022

Debt ceiling talks are focused on abstract “work requirements.” What these actually mean are not described in any detail. The unstated presumption is that people who receive government benefits do not work in some way because of those government benefits.

In reality, these “work requirements” do not make any sense. Unemployment, for example, is based on being able and available for work, not missing any work offered, a willingness to accept any jobs being offered to someone, and searching
Continue Reading Work requirements, wages, and jobs

The month of May is going to be eventful, as either a deal on the debt ceiling will be reached (i.e., raising it) or a massive recession and possible economic calamity will strike. Or, just maybe we will get a combination of both because a giant coin or issuance of fancy debt called premium bonds will not resolve all the worries in the world about the United States no longer paying its debts from previous expenditures.

Layoffs, whether
Continue Reading Jobs, the Debt Ceiling, and Recession

At the January 2023 meeting of the Advisory Council, the Department presented the public testimony from the November 2022 public hearing. As has happened in the past, there was no discussion or examination of that testimony.

Note: Examination of the last three unemployment public hearings and the testimony provided in 2020, 2018, and 2016 are available: Recap of the 2020 public hearing, Advisory Council meeting — 17 Jan. 2019, and Winter work search concerns.

Continue Reading The November 2022 public hearing

A person contacted me about his unemployment debt of around $15,000 (generally a low amount for the cases I am seeing). There was nothing that could be done about that debt other than to repay it. But, there were some issues in his case that everyone should be aware of.
The first thing to know are what the Department will do to collect an unemployment debt.

Department collection tools
The Department will apply the following mechanisms to collect any
Continue Reading The Legal and Illegal Unemployment Collections in Wisconsin

With the April 2023 election, an incredibly general, state-wide advisory ballot question about people on welfare needing to work passed by wide margins.

The Wisconsin legislature has taken that passage as a message to suddenly revamp and fine tune unemployment eligibility without actually fixing any of the problems with unemployment claim-filing in this state.

First some background.

It is vital to know that unemployment claim-filing is now in 2023 much, much different from what used to occur.

Year Claimants
Continue Reading Legislature pushes a bunch of no-reform unemployment proposals