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Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, 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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
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 Debuts Redesigned UI Weekly Online Claim Filing System

Second major UI online upgrade reflects shift in customer service trends away from telephone-based filing

MADISON –The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has launched dramatic improvements to help more Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants start and complete their weekly claims for unemployment benefits conveniently through the Internet.

The latest updates to DWD's eight-year-old UI online services coincide with customer service industry-led changes to the state's 1990s-era automated telephone filing system. In calendar year 2015, over 76% of the UI claimant population logged into the UI online benefit services system at least once.

The online enhancements that launched March 30, 2016, allow more claimants to file weekly claims for UI benefits seamlessly and conveniently. Highlights of the online improvements include:

DWD Secretary Ray Allen said, "The robust and state-of-the art online system we've developed takes our UI system further into the 21st century and mirrors customer service industry trends toward the convenience of online self-service. We encourage all claimants to file online."

In late 2014, DWD launched major upgrades to its online initial claims and inquiry systems. Today, approximately 90% of initial claims that are started online are now completed online; additionally, the majority of initial claims are now filed online instead of through the automated telephone system.

In response to increased customer preferences to file online or by cellular device, along with dramatic reductions in federal UI funds due to the state's improving economy, DWD this week is discontinuing toll-free numbers to file initial and weekly claims and instead directing callers to file online or, if they still prefer to file by phone, to access DWD's telephone-based automated filing system through local Madison or Milwaukee phone numbers. DWD's call center will continue to deliver individualized service by phone to claimants who need to speak to a claims specialist. DWD has been notifying claimants of this planned transition since November 2015.

Wisconsin joins states such as Iowa, Indiana and Nebraska, which have already made similar transitions away from phone services and toward more robust UI online claims systems.

UI claims can be filed using a personal laptop, desktop computer or mobile device. Free online filing assistance is available at all 61 Wisconsin job center locations statewide. Additionally, DWD has engaged local workforce partners who offer free Internet service, and has communicated with Wisconsin libraries, which together encompass nearly 400 locations in Wisconsin and offer free online computer access.

Highlights of UI Internet Weekly Claim Redesign

Current Features New Features (post-March 30)
All questions are provided on one page One question per page
Not mobile friendly Mobile friendly design for smartphone and tablet users in addition to laptop and desktop computer use
No employer search function Ability to search and add employers through self-service
Unable to save without completing the weekly claim Ability to save work during the weekly claim and come back to complete the same day
Refers claimants in need of assistance to links for another web page Provides additional text allowing claimants to clarify a question without leaving the page they are on; a link to the Handbook for Claimants will also be provided
Unable to review wages entered until the end of the weekly claim Provides a work and wages summary immediately after entering all wage information and provides the ability to correct erroneous entries before moving on to the next question
Claims Specialists are unable view what the claimant is looking at real time while delivering assistance by phone Claims Specialists will now be able to help walk claimants through a weekly claim if needed
Work search entry is on one page and provides the same fields for each type of work search entry; no work search summary available Work search will be one per page, allowing claimants to enter as many work searches as needed

For more information:
On the web: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/online/
Video of new Internet weekly claim system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCuG_zcoDIg

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