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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Thursday, October 30, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD to Debut Redesigned UI Initial Claim Online System

Second of two major upgrades this fall brings 21st century technology to state UI online claim filing system

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) next week will launch a dramatically improved online system to help Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants start and complete their initial claims for unemployment benefits through the Internet. The redesigned filing system is the second of two major upgrades being made this fall to the state's online UI system.

Starting mid-morning Thursday, November 6, those who file their initial claim for UI benefits through the Internet will experience the following advantages over the current online filing system, which was launched in 2008.

Currently, limited online functionality prevents about half of initial claimants who start their claim online from completing it online without the need to contact a claims specialist by phone. And, when a claim is completed online and needs revisions, the claimant must call a specialist to make the changes.

"By providing a robust, state-of-the-art system for customers to file initial claims online, we are improving customer service by helping claimants complete the claims themselves through the Internet," DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said. "These enhancements, along with the improvements we announced just weeks ago to our system of managing UI claim inquiries, take our entire UI online system to a new level. We encourage all UI claimants to try our new online tools."

Secretary Newson said DWD will promote the expanded online tools through inserts mailed as part of new claimants' UI orientation packet, through posters in Job Center of Wisconsin locations and on the web. A brief presentation is also available to highlight key improvements.

DWD's telephone-based automated filing system will continue to operate as normal for claimants who prefer to file initial and weekly claims by phone instead of through the Internet. DWD's call center will continue to deliver individualized service by phone to claimants who need to speak to a claims specialist.

The initial claim redesign system is the second of two UI modernization projects taking effect this fall. The first, focused on online inquiries, was launched October 9. Work on both projects began late 2012 and were completed by DWD staff.

DWD is advising initial claimants that the online filing system may be temporarily unavailable for part of the morning on Thursday, November 6, as the new system switches over.

Highlights of UI Internet Initial Claim Redesign

Current Features

New Features (post-November 6)


Must call claims specialist to list an employer whose name is not readily available through a specific wage file.



New employer search allows claimant to locate and add employers to the claim.


Claimant is unable to input certain employment situations such as military, out-of-state or worker's compensation.



Claimant can select from or clarify a more expansive array of employment situations online.


Limited ability to provide a complete employment history during the initial claim application.



 A new database can help claimant provide a more detailed employment history, reducing instances of improper payments.



Eligibility questions require a call to a claims specialist, who often must mail a questionnaire for the claimant to fill out by hand and send back, delaying decisions and introducing the potential for error or misrouting of documents.



Most claims with eligibility questions can be completed online; advanced online fact-finding ability for certain eligibility questions will reduce the need for paper questionnaires and streamline decisions.


Must call a claims specialist to make changes or withdraw an initial claim application once it has been submitted.


Claimant can update or withdraw an initial claim application online the same day the claim was submitted.


Generic list of worker occupation types for the claimant to choose from.



Enhanced occupation search functionality provides better information to aid in future re-employment services and job matching.



Claimant must enter separate application process to update payment method, bank information or tax withholding.



Claimant can conveniently update payment method, bank information or tax withholding within the initial claim application.



Limited initial claim application print capability.


Enhanced printable summary of the completed initial claim aids in customer satisfaction.



Claimant may not be able to navigate system on their own or save partial claim information to finish later.


User-friendly system gives instructions to help claimant navigate system and saves claim information to be finished later.

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