Skip main navigation

Outdated or Unsupported Browser Detected
DWD's website uses the latest technology. This makes our site faster and easier to use across all devices. Unfortunatley, your browser is out of date and is not supported. An update is not required, but it is strongly recommended to improve your browsing experience. To update Internet Explorer to Microsoft Edge visit their website.

icon of open book

Claimant Handbook
A Guide to Unemployment Insurance

English  |  Español  |  Hmoob

This Handbook has important information about Unemployment Insurance (UI) and your legal rights, including:

  • How to apply for benefits
  • How your eligibility for benefits is determined
  • What you must do each week to receive a benefit payment

You must read this Handbook. The information in this Handbook is an overview of UI. It does not cover every topic or answer all questions.

You are responsible for the accuracy of the information you give to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

If you do not understand or have questions, please contact DWD for help.

Table of Contents

  • Section 1 - Overview of UI
    • About the UI Program
      • Funding for the UI Program
    • We Are Here To Help You
    • Change of Address or Phone Number
    • Why We Need Your Social Security Number
    • Your Security Credentials
  • Section 2 - To Apply for Benefits
    • When To Apply
    • How To Apply
      • Information You Need To Apply
  • Section 3 - Eligibility for UI
    • Eligibility Issues
  • Section 4 - Payment of Benefits
    • Waiting Week
    • When To Expect Your Payments
    • Options For Receiving Payment
      • Direct Deposit
      • Visa® Pre-Paid Debit Card
    • Reductions
  • Section 5 - Maintaining Your UI Eligibility
    1. Mandatory Registration For Work
    2. Work Search
    3. File A Weekly Claim
      • When To File Your Weekly Claim
      • To File Your Weekly Claim
    4. Reporting Earnings
      • When To Report Earnings
      • What Earnings To Report
      • How To Calculate Gross Earnings
      • Verifying Your Earnings
  • Section 6 - Getting You Back to Work
    • Re-Employment Services
      • Help With Finding Employment
      • Re-Employment Programs
    • When You Find A New Job
      • Full-Time Work
      • Part-Time Work
  • Appendix A - Legal Disclosures
    • Equal Opportunity Information
    • What To Do If You Experience Discrimination
    • Accommodations For Individuals With Disabilities
    • Your Privacy Matters To Us
  • Appendix B - Glossary
  • Appendix C - Resources

Contact Information

Claimant Assistance Line

Call the Claimant Assistance Line for help

  • using your claimant portal,
  • filing a claim for unemployment benefits, or
  • receiving answers to questions about your unemployment benefits claim.

Mail or fax the Wisconsin Unemployment Help Center if you need to send information to support your claim or eligibility for benefits.

    Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Saturday 7:30 AM – 10:30 AM
    Call: (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661
    Fax: (608) 260-2444
    Mail: Wisconsin Unemployment Help Center, P.O. Box 7905, Madison, WI 53707

Unemployment Insurance Hearing Office

If you would like to file an appeal, you may file online on your claimant portal or by mail or fax. If you have questions about a pending appeal, call the UI Hearing Office.

    Hours: Monday – Friday 7:45 AM – 4:30 PM
    Call: (608) 266-8010
    Fax: (608) 327-6498
    Mail: UI Hearing Office, P.O. Box 7975, Madison, WI 53707

Please see Appeals and Petitions for more information.

Benefit Collections

Call a collection specialist at the number below:

  • if you have been notified that you were overpaid benefits and are unable to repay the overpayment in full to discuss installment payment plan options that may be available to you, or
  • if you would like to make a payment using your credit or debit card.
    Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Call: (608) 266-9701
    Mail: Unemployment Insurance Division, P.O. Box 7888, Madison, WI 53707

If you would like to repay the overpayment by check or money order, mail the check or money order.

Please see Overpayments for more information.

Unemployment Fraud

Please contact us if you are aware of someone fraudulently collecting Wisconsin unemployment benefits or if you may be a victim of identity theft (imposter fraud) and have reason to believe someone has used your information and social security number to fraudulently collect unemployment benefits.

Please see UI Fraud for more information.

Job Center of Wisconsin Call Center

Call the Job Center of Wisconsin Call Center or visit your local Job Center if you have questions about registering for work with Job Center or need help with registering.

    Call: (888) 258-9966

Do not contact Job Center Staff with questions about your UI claim. If you have questions about your UI claim, contact the UI Claimant Assistance Line.

Please see Getting You Back to Work for more information.

Language and Disability Assistance

DWD is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Free services are available to assist to you if you do not speak English. For assistance in a language other than English, please contact the UI Division at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free at (844) 910-3661.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a voice impairment, please dial 7-1-1 for the Wisconsin Relay Service.

If you have a disability and need an accommodation or want to request information in an alternate format, please contact the UI Division at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free at (844) 910-3661.

A proud partner of the American Job Center network

Publication Number: UCB-10-P

Chapter 108 Wisconsin Statutes

Updated: June 30, 2024