Frequently Asked Questions About Fact-Finding Interviews, Adjudication and Eligibility Issues
- How long will it take for someone to work on my eligibility issue?
- Eligibility issues are assigned on a first come first serve basis. We try to make initial contact with everyone regarding their eligibility issue within 21 days. You may be contacted in a variety of ways: a telephone call, a letter to complete and return or a scheduled interview notice.
- Can I just come to the office in person and explain what happened?
- No, all of our investigations are conducted by telephone, telephone typewriter devices (TTD), or letter.
- I heard that if you quit you can't collect, but if you're fired you can. Is that right?
- While it is "generally" true that if you quit your last job, you're the cause of your unemployment and you may not be eligible, there are many exceptions which would allow benefits. For example, if you quit rather than relocate out of the labor market with the employer, or you develop a disability which the employer cannot accommodate, or you quit because your payroll checks are bouncing, you may be eligible. But remember that since you caused the separation the burden will be on you to establish that your reason for quitting meets the criteria to allow benefits. While it is "often" true that you are eligible if the employer fires you, we must investigate the separation. Since the employer caused the separation the burden will be on them to establish to our satisfaction that you were fired for misconduct or substantial fault. If we conclude so, you will be disqualified. Misconduct may include chronic tardiness, theft, falsification of employer documents, insubordination or various other actions. Substantial fault may include other violations of your employer’s requirements that do not rise to the level of misconduct.
- I had to quit my last job - am I eligible for unemployment?
- If your separation from your last employer was for anything other than layoff, we will have to conduct a fact-finding interview by phone and secure information from you, your employer and any other relevant parties before we can determine your eligibility. No payments can be made until we have issued a decision, and that decision allows benefits. Until we know all of the circumstances about your quitting and the job you quit, we can't tell you whether you'll be eligible.
- I am planning to attend school in the fall, will that cause a problem?
- Generally we require that claimants be willing and able to
work fulltime days, and actively seek such employment. If someone is attending a
university and taking day classes, they may not meet this requirement. If they
are taking an evening course or two on the other hand, there should be no
We do have a provision that will waive the able and available and work search requirements if the individual is enrolled full-time in a vocational program (diesel truck driving, cosmetology, nursing aide, etc.). Benefits will be held while we verify whether your school attendance meets these requirements.
- I got laid off from a job paying $40,000, about 3 months ago. Do I have to take a job that pays less than what I used to make?
- Wisconsin statutes provide for a "canvassing period" of up to six weeks after a job separation, during which time a claimant may indeed use the wages and skills of the last job as a basis to evaluate an offer of new work. If the skills are different or the wage substantially less, benefits are normally not affected. However, after the canvassing period ends, the individual must be willing to accept work which offers reasonable wages, hours and other conditions in that area for that type of work offered, without regard to past wages or skills.
- I was offered a job which pays pretty good, but it's quite a distance away. I'd like to try it out, but what if it turns out I can't handle the commute?
- We have a provision in our law which encourages a person to try out a job for up to 30 calendar days. If they quit within the first 30 calendar days because, for example, the commuting is excessive, we'll consider whether we'd have expected them to take the job in the first place. If we wouldn't have expected them to take the job because of the wages, conditions, distance, etc., we'll allow them to try the job out, see if things change, for up to 30 calendar days. If things don't work out, they'll not be penalized for trying.
- My employer is relocating to another state and has offered me my same job at that new location. Do I have to accept this job and relocate?
- No. We do not require a person to relocate in order to accept a job, or to continue a job when the employer relocates beyond a reasonable commuting distance.
- I am receiving a pension (monthly/lump sum or 401(k) ) from my previous employer. Will this effect my unemployment insurance benefits?
- A pension or monies received from a 401(k) based on work for an employer who is in your base period (potentially responsible for your unemployment benefits) may affect your benefits. This issue will be referred to an adjudicator for a complete investigation. If the employer you are receiving a pension from is not in your base period, it will have no impact on your claim.
- Will I continue to be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if I start my own business?
- If you become self-employed an investigation will be conducted to determine whether or not you are willing to seek and remain available for full-time (32 hours or more per week), dayshift work.
- I got the notice that my interview would be in 3 weeks. I don't want to wait that long - can I get it scheduled sooner?
- Benefit eligibility for Unemployment Insurance is very technical, based on state and federal laws, administrative codes and policies. Only a limited number of staff, called "adjudicators," are qualified to make the decisions which resolve eligibility issues. Each issue is resolved with consideration to the law, codes and procedures, as well as the individual circumstances of the case. Because of the expertise and time required to resolve each issue properly, an individual adjudicator's caseload may be assigned as far as 3 weeks in advance. Therefore, one can assume that each interview has been scheduled "as early as possible." Remember to keep filing your weekly claims while you're waiting for the interview.
- My fact-finding interview is scheduled to be held by telephone. If I don't hear from anyone at the time scheduled, what do I do?
- We will call you within 15 minutes before or after the scheduled time. If you haven't heard from us in that time period, do call the adjudicator at the phone number on the notice.
- How long after the fact-finding interview will I have to wait until I receive the decision?
- We attempt to resolve all issues within a week after the scheduled interview. In rare situations where 3rd party information may be required the resolution may take a little longer.
- If the decision denies benefits, should I stop filing weekly claims?
- If you plan to appeal the decision, then continue to file
your weekly claims. If the decision is later reversed and benefits are allowed,
those weeks could then be paid.
If you understand and accept the correctness of the decision and do not intend to appeal, then yes, stop filing your weekly claims. Review the decision and when the requalifying requirements have been met, and you're again unemployed, apply online at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov.
- How do I file an appeal of a determination and what is a hearing all about?
- The Bureau of Legal Affairs has published a number of general questions and answers about hearings.
- I was denied unemployment insurance benefits but filed an appeal; it tells me I am disqualified, what should I do?
- Go online to https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov for information about your benefit account. For help using online services call 414-435-7069 during business hours.