Wisconsin DWD releases unemployment data for last two months


MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Department of Workforce Development says it paid more than $1 billion in unemployment benefits in Wisconsin between March 15 and May 16.

In a Monday release, DWD outlined the total number of unemployment calls received, applications filed, claims processed, and funds distributed as of the end of last week.

Over the two month span, DWD says they received 549,147 unemployment applications. Unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides benefits to eligible workers. Each state administers a separate UI program but must all follow guidelines established by federal law. DWD explains that if any answer given on a claim raises a question regarding the person’s eligibility, the claim is fully investigated before benefits may be paid.

UI benefits are available to those who are out of work through no fault of their own and work for an employer that pays UI tax in the last 18 months. Regular UI is available for up to 26 weeks depending on the individual’s specific situation, according to DWD.

Officials say that if you are not eligible for regular UI, you may be eligible for PUA, or pandemic unemployment assistance. This is a temporary federal program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular UI such as:

  • individuals who are self-employed,
  • certain independent contractors,
  • individuals with limited recent work history, and
  • other workers not covered by regular UI

The federal pandemic unemployment compensation, or FPUC, is a temporary emergency increase of $600 a week in employment benefits. FPUC provides an additional payment to individuals who are collecting regular UI or PUA. DWD says this is automatically added to the weekly benefit rate.

“DWD has distributed over a billion dollars in benefits to Wisconsinites, which is a significant economic stimulus to our state’s economy,” DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said. “The Department is doing everything we can to help offer stability to the individuals directly impacted by COVID-19, as well as to our entire state.”

Here’s a full breakdown of DWD’s unemployment response:

TOTAL NUMBERMarch 15 through May 16, 2020
Unemployment Applications Received*549,147 
Weekly Claims Received*2,121,906
Weekly Claims Paid1,446,343
Total Benefits Paid$1,143,801,168 (including FPUC)
$417,679,893 (excluding FPUC) 
FPUC Benefits Paid$726,121,275
PUA Applications Received 81,286 
UI Calls Received-Week of May 16, 20204,241,493
*Preliminary counts updated daily here.


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