Part 3: Filing a Weekly Claim Certification
What is a Weekly Claim Certification?
A weekly claim certification is the claim you file for a certain calendar week when you want to receive an unemployment payment for that week. A calendar week for UI purposes always starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.
You must file a weekly claim certification within 14 days of the end of the calendar week you are claiming, but you cannot file your claim for a week until after the week has ended. The weekly claim hours of operation are listed on the back of this handbook.
If you do not give complete information when you file for weekly benefits, the department may reject your claim and mail you a notice with a special toll-free telephone number to call to complete your claim. You must call that telephone number within 14 days after it is mailed to you.
The system will not let you file a weekly claim certification for a benefit payment if the last week you claimed ended more than 14 days earlier. When this happens you must reapply to "reactivate" or "reopen" your claim.
Filing a Weekly Claim Certification
The system tells you which week(s) you can claim by giving the beginning and ending dates of the week. If the last 2 weeks can be claimed, the system takes your claim for the earliest week first. After you claim for the earliest week, the system tells you how to claim the most recent week. The system also tells you if no weeks can be claimed.
You will need to answer several questions about the week(s) that you are claiming. Take time to answer all questions completely and correctly. You could be penalized if you give false information to get benefits.
Important Points to Remember
- All questions apply to the specific calendar week for which you are claiming. For example, when asked if you quit a job, you are being asked if you quit during the week you are claiming. If you did not quit during that week, answer "NO."
- When you are asked to speak an answer into the telephone, please speak slowly and clearly, and spell any words that have an unusual spelling.
- Answer "YES" if you could have and would have worked full-time if work had been available for you.
- Answer "NO" if you could not work full-time because you were physically unable to work or you were unavailable for work. For example, you could not accept work with an employer (including your regular employer) because you were sick or injured, on vacation, didn't have a way to get to work, didn't have childcare arrangements, etc.
- Answer "YES" to this question only if you refused an offer of work from an employer you were not working for at the time.
- Answer "YES" if you did not work all of the hours that were available for you with your current employer.
- Answer "YES" if you quit, voluntarily terminated, ended your employment for any reason OR you were terminated, discharged, or fired by the employer for any reason other than lack of work.
- Next you will be asked if you quit a job, answer "YES" if you quit.
- Next you will be asked if you were fired from a job, answer "YES" if you were fired.
- Answer "NO" if you were laid off due to lack of work from a job.
- If yes, you will be asked if you worked for or receive/will receive sick pay, bonus pay or commission from more than one employer during the week.
- Then you will be told to enter the gross amount of income from each employer, including, sick pay, bonus pay and commissions. Do not include holiday, vacation or dismissal pay as wages.)
- After your income has been entered, you will be told to enter the number of hours and the additional minutes for which you received or will receive pay from each employer.
- You will usually be asked to speak the complete name and address of each employer.
- If yes, you will be asked to enter the gross amount of each type of pay from each employer.
- After the gross amount of each type of pay is entered, you will be told to enter the number of hours and the additional minutes for which you received or will receive that type of pay from each employer.
- You will usually be asked to speak the complete name and address of each employer.
- Answer “YES” ONLY if you are receiving payments for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
- Answer "NO" if you are not receiving SSDI payments OR you have only applied for SSDI.
- Answer "YES" if you are
self-employed or operating your own business, i.e. farming, partnership, LLC or
- Answer "NO" if you are selling Avon, Amway, Tupperware, etc. This is normally considered employment and you would report the income as wages. (However, if you feel this is self-employment, answer "YES" and the Department will contact you for further information.)
If your address has not changed, press 1. If you have changed your address and have not reported the new address to us, press 2. (If you press 2, you will be asked to enter your zip code and telephone number. Then you will be asked to speak your new address.)
When filing a weekly claim, you must answer “YES” to this question if you performed any work in the week. If you start a shift on Saturday that ends on Sunday, the hours worked and wages earned during that entire shift must be reported on your weekly claim that includes the Saturday.
Hours: Report hours and minutes worked plus the number of hours and minutes for which you received or will receive sick pay for time missed in the week.
Wages: Wages include any type of pay for full-time or part-time work you do in the week. This includes cash payments, tips, commissions, “working off a bill,” etc. Wages also include other payments that you receive for the week like sick pay, worker’s compensation, and bonuses or profit sharing. Wages must be reported in the week they are earned, even if they will not be paid until a later week.
- Worker's Compensation payments for partial weeks must be reported as wages on the claim for the week to which the payment applies. You must answer “yes” to the question “Did you work?” even if you did not actually perform work in the week. If you receive a Worker's Compensation payment for a full week, contact a Claims Specialist for instructions.
- Bonuses and profit sharing income must be reported on your weekly claim the week you are paid the bonus. You must answer “yes” to the question “Did you work?” even if you did not actually perform work in the week.
- Commission Sales: There is a special way to report work and wages from commission sales. You must report that you worked even if you earned no commissions. If a commission is earned, it must be reported on your weekly claim, usually for the week in which the sale is made. If you start a job that pays a commission as all or part of your wage, you must contact the department before you file another weekly claim certification.
You must report all work, hours, and wages regardless of the amount. Failure to do this may result in overpayment of benefits and penalties, including prosecution.
- Volunteer Fire Fighter or Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). (If you are unsure if your services as a fire fighter or EMT are "volunteer," call a Claims Specialist.)
- Jury Duty (Payments made by the court are not reportable; however, if you receive a wage from your employer for time spent serving on Jury Duty, these wages are reportable.)
- Inactive Duty for WI National Guard and Military Reserves (i.e., weekend duty)
Retirement pay. You must tell us if you have applied for or are receiving a retirement payment, but you do not report the retirement payment as wages on your weekly claim certifications. Your weekly unemployment payments may be reduced if you are receiving a retirement payment. (See Part 6 for more information about Retirement Pay Reductions.)
Instructions for reporting other types of income not mentioned in the Handbook for Claimants are available online at http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/other_income.htm.
If any of these types of pay have been assigned to the week you are claiming you must answer “YES” to the question did you receive holiday, vacation or dismissal pay and report the gross amount of each type of pay. You must also report the number of hours and additional minutes for which you received or will receive each type of pay assigned to that week. Holiday, vacation and dismissal pay must be reported for the week to which it is assigned, even if you receive the pay in a later week.
Call your employer if you are uncertain whether these types of pay have been assigned.
How to Report the Correct Employer
In most cases, the weekly claim system will ask you to speak your employer's complete name and address after you enter the amount of income. The system records this information as you speak. Give complete information and speak clearly. If we cannot understand the recorded information, or if it is incomplete, your telephone claim will be rejected and you will be sent a notice with a special toll-free telephone number to call to complete your claim. This will delay your benefits.
If you worked at a company through a temporary help agency, you are considered an employee of that agency, not of the client company where you did the work. When the system asks for the name and address of your employer, speak the name and address of the temporary help agency.
If You Make a Mistake on Your Weekly Claim Certification
If you think you have given a wrong answer to any question and you have already verified it by pressing 1, just hang up and start over. Your weekly claim certification is considered incomplete and is erased if you hang up before the system tells you that your claim has been accepted. The system does not save a record of an incomplete weekly claim certification.
If you think you have given a wrong answer to any question and your claim has already been accepted, you must call a Claims Specialist.
How You Know Your Weekly Claim Certification is Complete (Claim Acceptance)
Your weekly claim certification is considered completed after the system tells you that your claim has been accepted. Do not hang up until after the system tells you that your claim has been accepted.
If You Cannot Complete Your Weekly Claim Certification
If you hang up or are disconnected before the system accepts your weekly claim certification, the information you have given will not be saved. You must call again to file your claim for that week.
If Your Weekly Claim Certification Raises an Eligibility Question
If an eligibility issue is raised, you will be told to call a Claims Specialist within 3 days if you have not already given information about the issue to the department. You will be given a special telephone number to use for this call.
The Claims Specialist may take a short statement from you immediately or you may be asked to provide information at a later date. You may be scheduled for a fact-finding interview or be contacted by telephone or mail. Even though you are told that your claim has been accepted at the end of the call, you MUST call a Claims Specialist if told to do so. If you do not call a Claims Specialist as you are told, you could lose benefits.
Wisconsin has a waiting week for Unemployment Insurance benefits. For every new benefit year, no benefits are payable for the first week you would otherwise be eligible for benefits. After the waiting week has been claimed, UI payments for subsequent weeks are usually made within 7 days after a completed weekly claim certification has been received (accepted), but payment could be delayed for a number of reasons. For example, an incomplete claim or an eligibility issue will delay payment.
Do not expect to receive your benefit payments on the same day or within the same amount of time each week.
If you do not receive a payment (or an explanation for not receiving a payment) within 7 days of filing a weekly claim certification, you should first call the Automated Inquiry System to find out if a payment has been issued. Choose the option (1) which gives information about your payment for last week.
- If a payment was not issued for the week in question, and it has been at least 7 days since you filed your claim for that week, call a Claims Specialist immediately.
- If your payment was issued for the week in question but you have changed your address, call a Claims Specialist immediately.
- If a payment was issued for the week in question and you have not changed your address, wait until 12 days have passed since the payment was made. If you still have not received the payment after 12 days have passed, call a Claims Specialist to file a "Missing Check Inquiry."
Cashing Your Own Checks
Only you can endorse and cash your benefit checks. Never endorse the check until you cash it.
If you lose your UI check or if it is stolen, call a Claims Specialist. It takes at least 60 days after filing an inquiry about a lost or stolen check to receive a replacement check, with some exceptions.
The department is phasing out the use of paper checks. Beginning 07/18/2013, if you file a new claim or re-open a current but inactive claim, you can receive payment either by direct deposit or Visa pre-paid debit card, as explained below.
UI benefit payments may be direct deposited into your checking or savings account. You may enroll for direct deposit online or by completing the Direct Deposit Authorization form which was sent with your Claim Confirmation. The form is also available online or by calling one of the information/assistance telephone numbers. You must provide a voided personal check or a document from your financial institution which clearly identifies the bank routing number and your checking or savings account number to ensure the account number and financial institution’s routing number you provide are correct. Your Direct Deposit Information only needs to be submitted once, unless your bank information changes. You DO NOT need to resubmit a Direct Deposit Authorization each time you file for Unemployment Benefits. For more information, please see the direct deposit FAQ page.
Visa® Pre-Paid Debit Card
Beginning 07/18/2013, if you do not have a bank account or prefer not to use direct deposit, your benefit payments will be deposited onto a Visa pre-paid debit card. The funds are then immediately available, and the card can be used anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted. Additionally, debit card holders are protected if the card is lost or stolen1. You can also check payments and current balance, and even pay bills online. For more information about enrolling for a Visa pre-paid debit card, please see the Visa pre-paid debit card FAQ page.
The weekly claim system will ask if your address has changed since your last claim. If it has, follow directions the system provides to change your address. If you are not filing for benefits at the present time but wish to change your address on our records, you must call one of the initial claim application/assistance numbers and press 3 when the system gives you your choices.
1The Visa Zero Liability Policy protects you against unauthorized purchases. U.S.-issued cards only. This does not apply to ATM transactions or to PIN transactions not processed by Visa. You must immediately report any unauthorized use. See your cardholder agreement for details.