Frequently asked questions about the process to apply for unemployment benefits the first time or if you've filed before.
Apply for unemployment benefits online when:
All claims based on work done in Wisconsin are filed through Wisconsin, even if you now live in another state.
Important: Your claim begins the week you apply. To avoid any loss of benefits, apply the first week you are unemployed. Do not wait until the week is over.
Applying for unemployment benefits is smoother and faster when you have essential information in-hand. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Please review this list of information to have ready to apply.
Individuals applying for unemployment must do so using the name printed on their social security card and driver's license. If your social security card and driver's license are up to date with your current name you should not have any problems filing for and receiving unemployment benefits.
If you have received unemployment benefits in the past under a different name and wish to apply for benefits again, you must first change you name with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and with the Social Security Administration (SSA) before applying for unemployment benefits.
Please understand that we must be able to confirm your identity with personally identifiable information such as your driver's license and social security card to approve your unemployment application.
The application process for military service veterans coming off active duty is the same as anyone applying for unemployment benefits. Your claim cannot start earlier than the week of your separation date, as it appears on your DD-214.
A request for your member copy 4 of the DD-214, for all active duty terms within the last 18 months, will be sent to you after you file.
Your claim may be delayed if you are unable to send in a copy of the DD-214 (acceptable copies are member copy 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8).
The worksheet and copy 1 cannot be used because they do not include the separation type or narrative reason of separation.
Additional resources are available from the Office of Veteran Employment Services.
The Handbook for Claimants contains answers to questions about eligibility including:
Filing for unemployment benefits is a two step process:
Requests for additional information have a due date:
Have you been instructed to register with Wisconsin Job Service?
Actual payment is dependent upon approval:
We will generally determine your entitlement within 7 days of filing your initial claim. If benefits are payable, they are usually paid within 7 days of completing your weekly claim.
NOTE: There is a waiting week in Wisconsin. You will not receive a benefit payment for the first week that would typically be payable.**
**With the new law, any claimant who filed a new application in the week of March 15, 2020 or later will not have to serve a waiting week.
If you started a new claim in the week of March 15, 2020 or later and already served the waiting week, you will receive back payment for that week. We are currently programming the changes. We plan to make those back payments by April 25.
Any time benefits are denied or suspended, we send you a determination explaining:
If you have met the requalifying requirements, and have stopped filing weekly claim certifications and are again unemployed or working reduced hours, you must reactivate your claim.
A review of your claim will be done to establish that you have met the requalifying requirements. You may be sent requests for information to establish that you have met the requalifying requirements. Complete the requests and return by the due date.
If you have questions regarding your requalifying requirements, contact a claims specialist.
No unemployment benefits will be paid to you until you register.
You must be fully registered with Wisconsin Job Service within 14 days offiling your initial claim. Failure to fully register by the deadline will resultin a suspension of benefits until the registration is complete.
For more information see the Frequently Asked Questions About Registering for Work with Wisconsin Job Service.
Nothing. You do not need to take any action; just stop filing.