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Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimant Handbook
DWD will review your initial claim application to determine if you are eligible for UI.
We look at three criteria:
You must have earned sufficient wages in the 12 to 18 months prior to filing an initial claim application. If you did not earn enough wages, you will not be eligible for UI. Please see Qualifying Wages for more information about the qualifying wage requirements.
The reason you are no longer employed helps determine whether you can receive UI. Here are some examples of separation reasons that may qualify you or disqualify you from receiving UI. See Eligibility Issues for more information.
You may receive UI if you:
You may not receive UI if you:
To be eligible for UI you must be:
If DWD needs to investigate your eligibility to receive UI, we will hold your UI benefit payments while we investigate. During this time, you must continue to file your weekly claim certifications.
You and your employer will be given the opportunity to present facts before we make a decision about your eligibility. You may get a telephone call, a form to complete and return, or notice of a scheduled interview as a part of our investigation. All investigations are conducted by telephone or letter. Respond to any request for information by the deadline stated on the request. If you do not provide information when directed, or miss a scheduled interview, we will decide if you are eligible for UI using the facts available and benefits may be denied.
If you are asked to call an investigator and are unable to reach them when you call their direct line, please leave a voicemail message. The investigator is helping another claimant, and they will return your call as soon as possible. You can help by leaving your name, phone number, and information about your availability for a call in your message.
If an interview is scheduled, you will receive a notice in the mail with the date and time of the interview. You should call the phone number on the notice as soon as possible if you need to reschedule the interview. Each interview is scheduled as early as possible. You are not able to request an earlier interview.
After the investigation is completed, we will notify you of the determination in writing. The reverse side of the determination mailed to you will include instructions for filing an appeal. If you disagree with the determination, you should appeal as soon as possible. For more information about appeals, see Appeals and Petitions.
If you or your employer appeal a determination continue to file your weekly claim certifications while you are unemployed or partially unemployed. If you win an appeal, you can only qualify for UI if you have filed weekly claim certifications. For more information about appealing a determination, please see Appeals and Petitions.
You do not get to choose which employer(s) you are claiming UI from. State law sets a formula for deciding which of your base period employers are charged for your UI, if any. Sometimes an investigation is needed to decide which employers are charged and the amount they are charged.
When you file your initial claim application or weekly claim certification, there are many issues that may affect your eligibility. They must be investigated when they arise.
For example, let's say you worked 10 years for XYZ Corporation and were laid off three months ago. XYZ Corporation is not disputing your eligibility for UI based on your separation from them.
After the layoff, you started working for ABC Corporation. ABC Corporation discharged you and you filed a claim for UI. At the time you filed the claim, ABC Corporation is not in your base period, and would not be charged for any UI paid to you.
However, if your discharge from ABC Corporation was for misconduct, you would not be eligible for UI until seven weeks after your discharge and until you earned 14 times your weekly benefit rate in wages from covered employment after your discharge from ABC.
Further, if your discharge was determined to be for misconduct, ABC Corporation would not be charged in the future if you qualified for UI and filed again later when ABC Corporation fell within your base period.
You will not receive UI if you:
Filing for UI while a student: You must tell us if you are a student while you file claims for UI. An investigation will be conducted to determine whether you are available for work. You may not have to be available for work while attending school if you are enrolled in a course of study that is considered "approved training."
Verifying employment eligibility: Federal law requires all employers to verify the employment eligibility of new employees. When an employer hires you, the employer will require that you show certain documents to prove your identity and your employment eligibility. If you are unable to present documents to your employer, your employer must end your employment. Your failure to present the documents to your employer or to DWD may affect your eligibility for UI.
Updated: September 28, 2022