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DWD logo

Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

Work Search Requirement for Unemployment Benefits – How to Comply

MADISON – In February of this year, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) published a new Emergency Rule that allowed DWD to continue to waive work searches for people who applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in response to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State law requires those who are applying for UI benefits to look for suitable jobs and provide information about their work search activities for each week they request benefits. This emergency rule allowed DWD to respond to the spread of COVID-19 by waiving those work searches for thousands of people. The department recognized the burden of the requirement on claimants when many businesses remained closed and job opportunities in certain sectors are still limited in response to the ongoing health and safety impacts of the global pandemic.

The work search requirement was slated to go back into effect July 10, 2021; however, today lawmakers voted to reinstate the requirement on Sunday, May 23rd, meaning that UI recipients are required to look for work to qualify for their benefits roughly seven weeks earlier than expected.

Beginning Sunday, a person must perform four activities related to searching for work each week to obtain their benefits.

How to comply with the work search requirement: (1) Perform and (2) Report

**If you do not perform work search actions, benefits will be denied**

(1) Performing work search activity:

First, register on (JCW) and complete a resume that will match you to open positions.

Examples of work search:

Examples of invalid work search actions:

(2) Recording work search activity:

You can keep records on your own or use DWD's weekly work search entry form found at You can report your activities after the week is completed on your weekly claim certification or during the week on the work search entry form.

You must keep a record – DWD is required by law to verify work search actions and you may be asked to provide proof of your work search actions.

For each work search action, be sure to include:

While searching for a job, you may have an opportunity to work part-time or temporarily. This helps keep your skills current, and you may still be eligible for UI benefits.

** Failure to report work and earnings, conduct an active work search, or accurately report your availability for work can result in benefit denial**

You can also visit one of our many job centers located statewide. Please note that job centers are open by appointment-only.

To find additional resources to help you comply with the work search requirements, please visit our DWD News page.