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Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimant Handbook icon of open book

Section 4 - Payment of Benefits

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After you file your initial claim application for UI, you will receive a benefit computation in the mail. The benefit computation explains:

  • The amount of UI you can receive if your application is approved.
  • How the amount of UI you can receive was calculated.
  • The maximum number of weeks you could receive UI.
  • How to file an objection if you disagree with the benefit computation.

For more information about the information provided in the benefit computation, please see Qualifying Wages.

Waiting Week

Calendar showing waiting week

Wisconsin has a waiting week for UI. For every new benefit year, no UI is payable for the first week you would otherwise be eligible for UI. After the waiting week, UI benefit payments for later weeks are made within seven days after a weekly claim certification has been filed unless payment is delayed because the weekly claim certification is incomplete or if DWD needs to investigate an eligibility issue.

Example: John was laid off from his job on the first Monday of the month and filed an initial claim application for UI that same day. If John fulfills all eligibility requirements, he will receive his UI benefit payment for the next week. See Maintaining Your UI Eligibility for more details about the continuing eligibility requirements.

When to Expect Your Payments

Do not expect to receive your UI benefit payments on the same day or within the same amount of time each week.

If you do not receive a payment (or an explanation for not receiving a payment) within seven days of filing a weekly claim certification, check the status of your payment on your portal or call the Claimant Assistance Line at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.

Options for Receiving Payment

If eligible, you may receive your UI benefit payments through direct deposit or a prepaid debit card. If you cannot or choose not to enroll in direct deposit, you will automatically receive payments by debit card. You can update your payment method at any time. To view or update your payment method, log on to, select "Profile Settings," from the "My UI Home" menu, and edit "Payment Information."

Direct Deposit

This option puts your UI benefit payments directly into your banking account. You may enroll:

  • Online by following the instructions above.
  • By mailing DWD a completed Direct Deposit Authorization form:
    • You must also provide a voided personal check or a document from your financial institution which clearly identifies the bank routing number and your account number to ensure the account number and financial institution’s routing number you provide are correct.

Your Direct Deposit Information only needs to be submitted once unless your bank information changes. You DO NOT need to resubmit a Direct Deposit Authorization each time you file for unemployment benefits.

For more information, please see the Direct Deposit FAQ.

Visa® Pre-Paid Debit Card

If you do not have a bank account or prefer not to use direct deposit, your UI benefit payments will be deposited onto a Visa pre-paid debit card and will be immediately available after deposit. The card can be used anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted. You can view payment status and your current balance, and even pay bills online. For more information, please see the Visa Pre-Paid Debit Card FAQ.


Your UI may be reduced under the following circumstances:

  • You are partially unemployed. (You are working a few hours each week.)
  • You are receiving retirement pay.
  • You owe court-ordered child support, have Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program debt, or previously received UI you were not entitled to and have not yet repaid it.

For more information, please review Unemployment Insurance Reductions.

Updated: September 28, 2022