Dept. of Workforce Development: Release information on unemployment data

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released unemployment data from March 15 to November 28, 2020,revealingthat 93.96% of the more than 8.38 million weekly Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims that have been filed since March 15, 2020 have been processed.

Although approximately 560,000 claimants have been paid over $4.42 billion since March 15, 2020, the Department continues to focus its efforts on reducing the wait time for outstanding claims related to the pandemic, especially ahead of its annual busy season.

“With the colder weather in Wisconsin come seasonal layoffs, which typically means an increase of about 100% in UI weekly claims filed,” DWD Transition Director Amy Pechacek said. “While that number seems minimal compared with the 862% increase in weekly claims we’ve seen this year when compared to the same period in 2019, the Department is determined to resolve the older claims so that we can provide timelier resolutions for these annual filers.”

Issue resolution is considered timely if completed within 21 days of the date the issue was detected. As of Friday, 56,084 claimants had been waiting for 21 days or more for their claim to be resolved.

Unemployment Insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides benefits to eligible workers. Each state administers a separate UI program with state-specific laws and rules, but states must also follow the same guidelines established by federal law. Any answer given on a claim raising a question regarding a person’s eligibility must be fully investigated before benefits may be paid; this is referred to as the adjudication process.

Adjudication is the investigation and resolution of eligibility issues raised on unemployment insurance claims. Adjudication is a manual process that requires interested parties be provided due notice to respond to the eligibility issue. Eligibility issues arise from several places including the initial claim, weekly claim, employer contact, claimant contact, and tips from the public. Under normal conditions, adjudication typically takes 21 days to process.

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits: If you are out of work through no fault of your own, and you have worked for a covered employer (an employer who pays UI tax) in the last 18 months, you may be eligible for and should apply for regular UI benefits. Regular UI is available for up to 26 weeks (dependent upon an individual’s specific situation).

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): A temporary program that provides up to 13 additional weeks of payments to individuals who have exhausted their regular UI benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): If you are not eligible for regular UI, you may be eligible for PUA. This is a temporary federal program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular UI such as:

  • Individuals who are self-employed;
  • Certain independent contractors;
  • Individuals with limited recent work history; and
  • Other workers not covered by regular UI.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): A temporary emergency increase of $600 per week in unemployment benefits. FPUC provided an additional payment to individuals who are collecting regular UI, PEUC, EB, or PUA. It was automatically added to the weekly benefit rate. FPUC benefits ended on July 25, 2020.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA): This program is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program that provides an additional $300 per week to eligible claimants who certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. LWA payments will be made retroactively to eligible people for up to six weeks: the weeks ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 5, 2020. FEMA will not fund any weeks after September 5, 2020.


The information below is for March 15, 2020 – November 28, 2020.

Approximately 560,000 claimants have been paid over $4.42 billion since March 15, 2020. The Weekly Claims in Process in the table below represents 65,348 unique claimants with 98,915 issues requiring adjudication. A claimant could have one issue or many holding up one week or many weeks.

Weekly Claims Received* (includes all programs)8,385,101
Weekly Claims in Process (includes claims awaiting wage verification, adjudication, etc.)506,863 (6.04%)
Weekly Claims Resolved (paid + denied)7,878,238 (93.96%)

*Weekly claims received are not a count of people filing claims.

Weekly Claims March 15, 2020 – November 28, 2020


Applications & Claims SubmittedCumulative Since March 15, 2020Submitted Week Ending
November 28, 2020
Regular UI Initial Applications**1,056,71815,997
Regular UI Weekly Claims6,809,42488,105
PEUC Initial Applications60,1972,141
PUA Initial Applications129,5151,559

**Applications are not a count of people filing claims. Preliminary counts updated daily.


Benefits PaidCumulative Since March 15, 2020
Total Benefits Paid$4,425,460,023
FPUC Benefits Paid$2,568,622,593
PUA Benefits Paid$170,933,856
PEUC Benefits Paid$116,370,927
LWA Benefits Paid (Starting October 15, 2020)$198,628,200


UI Calls Received – week ending November 28, 2020 – 38,043

Average number of days from application to payment for regular UI – 27