Wisconsin Unemployment

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In part 1, I described how difficult it is for disabled folks to gain access to the Department’s claim-filing and how the Department’s rules absolve the Department of responsibility for providing effective access. In part 2, I described how the Department does NOT meet federal requirements for providing claim-filing access to disabled workers. Here, I describe how the Department fails to meet federal requirements for providing claim-filing access to non-English speakers. These federal requirements are again spelled out in in UIPL 2-16 (1 Oct. 2015) and UIPL 2-16 Change 1 (11 May 2020). Claim-filing access for those who…
In a surprise session on February 17th, the Joint Finance Committee met to discuss unemployment proposals to take advantage of some federal dollars from the Continuing Assistance Act and the Department’s effort to fund a new mainframe computer system. The substitute amendment that was passed unanimously (?!) will: start the process for a request for proposals (RFP) for the new computing system (but does not provide any actual funding), extend the waiting week waiver to 14 March 2021, expand the waiver of benefit charging for employers for separations to separations occurring from 15 March 2020 thru 13 March 2021 and…
In part 1, I described how difficult it is for disabled folks to gain access to the Department’s claim-filing and how the Department’s rules absolve the Department of responsibility for providing effective access. Here is the Department’s statement about a lack of accommodations when confronted with some of these problems — namely that a hard-of-hearing person who reads lips could not call and ask for assistance, that there is only one way to file claims (on-line), and that the phone number to call for assistance is inadequate for far too many claimants with disabilities — and responses that compare…
The Department’s illegal questions of disabled workers over their able and available status and the Department’s general hostility towards disabled workers have already been documented. But, what exactly are the Department’s obligations towards making the claims-filing process accessible to disabled folk? TMJ4 looked at this issue a few weeks ago and found that those with visual or hearing impairments are seemingly out-of-luck when trying to file an unemployment claim. As Wisconsin currently only has one formal mechanism for filing unemployment claims — the on-line system — an administrative rule provides the relevant standard for when a disability of some kind…
It has taken almost a year, but there is now a decision from the Labor and Industry Review Commission about being able and available during the pandemic. This case involves a part-time tour guide for the Capitol. When the pandemic struck, the Capitol building was closed to the public, those tours stopped, and she was laid off. She applied for unemployment and, when contacted by the Department, explained that, as a 75-year-old woman with underlying health conditions she was concerned about working in a safe environment in the midst of the pandemic. The Department subsequently denied her claim, asserting that…
Work searches in Wisconsin — a statutory requirement per Wis. Stat. § 108.04(2)(a)3 — were initially waived per Gov. Evers’ emergency order #7 and then emergency rule 2006. This emergency rule was renewed twice and so slated to expire on 2 February 2021 if a new emergency rule was not enacted. With no subsequent emergency rule, the waiver of the four job searches a week is now over. Claimants wanting to receive regular unemployment benefits, PUA benefits, or PEUC benefits now need to do four job searches a week with each weekly certification. Even if you cannot do a…
Update (3 Feb. 2021): Thankfully, the Department has announced through a FAQ that work searches will continue to be waived through another emergency rule. I will have details when they emerge. For now: Work Search FAQ I heard the work search is no longer waived as of February 7, 2021. Is that true?No. The work search requirement will continue to be waived at this time. We will update you when that changes. DWD has submitted certification of a new Emergency Rule to the Legislative Reference Bureau addressing this issue that will be effective beginning next week. This new emergency rule…
I am scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Economic and Workforce Development this Wednesday, January 27th, at a public hearing starting at 10am, concerning Wisconsin unemployment. Given the general lack of information about what is actually happening with the unemployment crisis, I have provided the committee a 199pp. PDF of the materials and a 3pp. letter describing those materials. WisEye will be carrying the testimony live. Some of the charts and tables in the informational packet include: The year of 2007 should be considered a base year for how a healthy unemployment system in this state should…
Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First has the following news for the government officials who read this blog: The low-road “Economic War Among the States” was visibly on steroids during the Amazon HQ2 tax-break auction. But Jeff Bezos was only playing a system that is more than 80 years old. This “race-to-the-bottom” captures the public sector in a “prisoners’ dilemma,” thereby enabling site location consultants and their corporate clients to dominate how economic development happens in the U.S. If you have any officials in your state whom you know to be rightfully aghast at this system and would like to…
The unemployment special session has come and gone with nothing to show. For some reason, however, folks seem to think a new mainframe is somehow vital to fixing the unemployment case-handling problems at the Department. I have to ask: what are they smoking? A new mainframe is a four to eight year project, and there is no guarantee of success. Massachusetts, for example, did not actually get a new unemployment system until its third attempt at replacing its old mainframe. And, in every state that has moved to a new claim-filing system, the effort has taken numerous years of…
The Continued Assistance Act had a rocky signing, but it is now law and some details are starting to emerge. As with this pandemic, there are numerous programs, and it is vital that you keep the distinctions clear for yourself. So, first determine which unemployment benefit applies to you and then read the section for that specific benefit. And, then read about the other benefit programs, as those will likely affect you as well at some later point if not immediately. The Department indicates that it hopes to start paying out the new $300 PUC benefit before the end…
The Department has announced that it is making BIG changes to the claim-filing process and has even invited public comment on those proposed changes by asking folks to download a spreadsheet setting forth those changes. These comments are due Jan. 8th. These proposed changes hardly match what has been promised, however. Problems with form The MS Excel spreadsheet for viewing the proposed changes and for providing these comments is extremely difficult to use. The spreadsheet originally had several columns that were over 15″ wide and would barely fit on my mammoth 24″ 1920×1200 monitor. Moreover, the links to actual graphics…
Previous posts detailed the length of time and number of cases in the unemployment backlog in part 1, some of the mistakes by the Department that allow cases to be re-opened in part 2, a place for stories and advice about how to find assistance in part 3, and how most claims in Wisconsin — and unlike in other states — are being denied and thereby creating a ginormous backlog in hearings. The Department announced at the end of 2020 that the claims backlog had been cleared and that Transition Secretary Pechacek was now Secretary-Designee for
Actual provisions are scarce. But, you can get a description of the unemployment provisions from Michele Evermore of NELP and from the National Law Review. Some things claimants should immediately note: benefits for PEUC and PUA programs are extended an additional 11 weeks to March 14th an additional $300 PUC is added for anyone receiving PEUC, PUA, EB, or regular unemployment benefits during these additional weeks, anyone who has not exhausted PEUC benefits (now 24 weeks in toto) or PUA benefits (now 50 weeks in toto) can continue to receive those benefits after March 14th to the week of…
Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Barnes are having listening sessions for the state’s 2021-2022 budget. The session tomorrow — Dec. 2nd, starting at 6pm — is on the “Environment, Infrastructure, and the Economy.” As unemployment benefits are part of the economy, those of you still waiting on benefit claims or have had their entirely merited claims denied for illegitimate and illegal reasons should make your concerns about the unemployment system known. Click here to register for this meeting. The meeting can be watched on WisEye. If you are looking for something to say, look at this poster that used…
Previous posts detailed the length of time and number of cases in the unemployment backlog in part 1, some of the mistakes by the Department that allow cases to be re-opened in part 2, and a place for stories and advice about how to find assistance in part 3. Jake explains in posts on Nov. 14th and Nov. 19th that: job losses are now spiking both nationally and state-wide, the ensuing loss of PUA benefits at the end of 2020 is a fiscal cliff for millions, and continuing claims demonstrate that long-term job losses are becoming entrenched.…