DWD urges people to apply for unemployment online citing ‘unprecedented’ surge of calls

MADISON, Wis. — Officials with the Department of Workforce Development are asking residents to apply for unemployment benefits online due to an unprecedented number of calls.

According to a news release, DWD received approximately 115,679 applications for unemployment benefits between March 22 and March 28.

Resdients can apply for benefits online. The application process is much faster and easier than over the phone, DWD officials said.

DWD is urgins people to file requests online so phone lines are open for people who lack internet access or have been specifically instructed to call DWD.

On Thursday, the department received 400,000 calls between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., at times receiving 160 calls per second. The release said DWD is working to increase staffing and technology capacity to handle the influx of calls and requests.

DWD is also reportedly increasing staffing in its call center to deal with the incoming calls. In total, the center has 92 workers and they are looking to hire an additional 80 people to help manage unemployment calls.