Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 19, 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 Urges UI Claimants to File Using Improved Online System
Seasonal filing uptick in cold-weather states follows arrival of late fall and winter, including holiday weeks
MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is encouraging Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants to file initial and weekly claims using the agency's improved online system. Claimants who file online can avoid wait times associated with filing by telephone during the seasonal increase in filing activity that Wisconsin and other cold-weather states experience during the late fall and first half of winter.
Claimants who file initial claims online can take advantage of several improvements that were rolled out this fall:
- Added features to allow most initial claims to be completed online without the assistance of a claims specialist. Claimants also can save their work and finish their claim at a later time.
- A new employer search that makes it easier for claimants to add employer information to their claim.
- Enhanced search capability for claimants to select specific occupations.
- Online fact-finding capability to resolve certain eligibility questions online quickly, reducing the need to mail paper questionnaires to a claimant to complete by hand and mail back.
- User-friendly assistance for new claimants who are unfamiliar with the online system.
Those who file weekly claims online also have access to additional features, such as:
- Viewable, printer-friendly UI payment history with the ability to select a specific time period for review and print.
- Additional details of UI benefits paid, monetary issues, eligibility determinations and appeal information.
- An enhanced online UI benefits calculator with expanded functionality to provide more precise calculations for partial and full-time wages.
Wisconsin's unemployment rate recently reached a new post-recession low of 5.5%. In addition, initial weekly UI claims for the first 45 weeks of 2014 dropped to their lowest point since 1999, and the year to date average weekly UI claims are at their lowest levels since 2000. The expected seasonal increase in claims activity seen in cold-weather states, however, is an annual occurrence that is independent of any general trend in unemployment rates.
While DWD's telephone-based automated filing system will continue to operate for claimants who prefer to file initial and weekly claims by phone instead of through the Internet, phone-based wait times are affected during peak volume hours, particularly during holiday weeks when telephone-based services are unavailable.
In addition to promoting the improved UI online system, DWD is taking additional steps to help minimize wait times associated with the telephone-based filing and inquiry systems during the upcoming season, including:
- Hiring additional limited-term staff and cross-training existing DWD staff to assist with the UI Call Center.
- Extending call center hours as necessary during select weeks.
- Encouraging claimants who prefer to file by phone to call on particular days of the week.
On the web: http://dwd.wi.gov/uiben/online/