Dept. of Workforce Development: Releases information on unemployment data

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released information related to the total number of unemployment calls received, applications filed, claims processed, and monies distributed in Wisconsin as of the week ending August 8, 2020.

The Department announced, based on preliminary numbers, there were 14,119 initial applications filed the week ending August 8. Of those new applications, 1,402 applications are from claimants who have exhausted their UI benefits and applied for PEUC. This is compared to 19,108 in initial applications the week prior (week ending August 1). There were 179,169 weekly claims filed the week ending August 8. The continued high volume of weekly claims plays a large part in the sustained level of “Weekly Claims in Process”; issues that arise from those claims must be reviewed and addressed.

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’re out of work through no fault of your own, and you’ve 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.

Extended Benefits (EB): A temporary program that provides up to 13 additional weeks of payments to individuals who have exhausted regular UI and PEUC.

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.

“Although initial claims have dipped week over week, weekly (recurring) claims remain historically high,” DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman. “We will continue working hard on behalf of claimants during this unprecedented economic crisis.”  


Approximately 484,560 claimants have been paid over $3.35 billion since March 15.

The Weekly Claims in Process column in the table below represents approximately 98,025 unique claimants with around 162,900 issues requiring adjudication. A claimant could have one issue or many holding up a week or many weeks. In press releases issued July 20, 2020 and earlier, the number of unique claimants supplied included all who had filed an initial application since the beginning of 2020, including individuals who have not filed weekly claims. The current number reflects claimants who have filed at least one weekly claim, which is required for payment if eligible, since March 15, 2020 and have weekly claims in process.  

Weekly Claims Received*Weekly Claims Allowed/ Paid**Weekly Claims DeniedWeekly Claims in Process(Includes claims awaiting wage verification, adjudication, etc.)Weekly Claims Resolved(Paid + Denied)
Snapshot:March 15 –May 2, 20202,046,3271,677,909= 82.00%266,770= 13.04%101,648= 4.97% 1,944,679= 95.03% 
Total:March 15 –August 8, 20205,470,7754,207,666= 76.91%625,807= 11.44%637,302= 11.65%4,833,473= 88.35%

*Weekly claims received does not equate to a specific number of individuals.

**Includes weeks with BAR or serving waiting week if benefit year started pre-Act 185 implementation.

SNAPSHOT: March 15, 2020 – May 2, 2020

TOTAL: March 15, 2020 – August 8, 2020

August 8, 2020
Average Number of Days from Application to Payment for Regular UI23  
Unemployment Applications Received***838,554
Total Benefits Paid(including FPUC and PUA)$3,332,239,124 
FPUC Benefits Paid$2,252,152,867
PUA Applications Submitted****96,433
PUA Benefits Paid$70,188,943
PEUC Applications Submitted13,888
PEUC Benefits Paid$21,934,005 
UI Calls Received – Week ending
August 8, 2020

***Applications received does not equate to a specific number of individuals. Preliminary counts updated daily at

****Past press releases reported both applications started but never completed and applications completed and submitted. We are now reporting only those applications completed and submitted.