Calls for unemployment benefits reach 1.5 million in one week urging Department of Workforce Development to ask residents to file online


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced on Monday that they are encouraging residents to file for unemployment benefits online rather than using their call center in order to keep lines open for people who have been specifically instructed to call DWD or who don’t have access to a computer or internet.

DWD reports that the week of March 22 through the 28, approximately 115,679 new applicants filed for unemployment benefits resulting in the Unemployment Insurance Division (UI) receiving more than 1.5 million calls within that week.

According to DWD, “Last Thursday alone, UI received 400,000 calls between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., at times receiving 160 calls per second. The unprecedented number of calls overloaded the system as it was not built to handle this type of call volume.”

DWD reports they have increased UI call center staff and are training staff from other DWD divisions to assist the call center as well.

DWD adds, “The department has increased the number of calls UI is able to send and receive, allowing for 690 simultaneous calls, which is up from the 450 simultaneous calls it was previously able to handle.”

DWD confirms, “The online application process is faster and easier than applying over the phone. Over 98% of the people who have applied through the DWD website have been able to successfully start, complete, and file their claim for unemployment benefits.”

If you need to file for unemployment benefits and have access to a computer and internet, DWD encourages you to file for unemployment benefits on DWD’s website at

DWD wants to remind the public that the week a person becomes unemployed, that person should file an application for unemployment benefits online. For more information, instructional videos, and to apply, please visit


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