Department of Workforce Development says Wisconsin is making progress with unemployment claims

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman says the state is making progress when it comes to processing unemployment claims.

Frostman say this past week, the state paid out more than $30 million in benefits to more than 100,000 people.

“We certainly understand that this is a really challenging time for a lot of folks,” Frostman said. “It’s the most economic uncertainty we’ve seen in our lifetime.”

Frostman said at its peak, unemployment hotlines were getting more than 100 calls per second.

“We have hundreds of employees working overtime to process paperwork, to get back to folks to expand our capacity to answer calls, to make calls,” Frostman said. “We’re working as hard as we can.”

Frostman says since that surge in calls, the department has hired more than 200 people. In addition, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers repealed a one-week mandatory waiting period for people to get unemployment. Frostman says the DWD has made IT and telecom improvements, which has led to no system crashes in the last two weeks.

Now, he says any delays would be caused by an applicant’s eligibility status being unclear.

“Some folks have zero questions and they fly right through,” he said. “Then there are other people who could have as many as six or seven eligibility questions. Our adjudicators are working overtime to sift through those.”