Here are some of the most common reasons your unemployment claim will be denied or suspended

Black unemployment rate falls to record low

MADISON, Wis. — There are still more than 140,000 people waiting for the Department of Workforce Development to respond to unemployment claims.

Some of the claims they have already processed are being denied for various reasons.

Here are some of the most common reasons your claim may be ineligible for unemployment benefits:

Employer Must Report Unemployed Staff

Employer must report unemployed staff on Form UCB-16, Separation Notice, for each individual who files a claim.

Strike or Labor Dispute

An employee who is unemployed because of a strike or other bona fide labor dispute is not eligible during the time the labor dispute began.


There are exceptions to this listed on the DWD website but if an employee quits for reasons not listed in the exceptions, they are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.


The following chart includes a brief description of all current exceptions, whether the exception imposes any disqualification and whether contributing employers will be charged for benefits.

Conditions Required to Apply Each Exception If the Exception Applies, is there Any Disqualification? If the Exception Applies, are Contributing Employers Relieved of Charges?
Accepting a layoff:

  • In lieu of another employee.
No No
Quitting with good cause attributable to the employer.

  • “Good cause” is interpreted as a valid, substantial reason for which the employer is responsible and which leaves the employee with no reasonable alternative but to quit.
  • “Good cause” includes a request, suggestion or directive by the employer that the employee violate federal or state law.
  • “Good Cause” includes established acts of sexual harassment by the employer, the employer’s agent or by a co-worker if the employer knew or should have known but failed to take timely and appropriate corrective action. (Refer to the paragraph at the end of this chart for an explanation of what is considered sexual harassment.)
No No
Quitting because:

  • The employee’s health left the employee with no reasonable alternative but to quit.
No Yes
Quitting because:

  • The health of a member of the employee’s immediate family.
  • Left the employee with no reasonable alternative but to quit.
No Yes
Quitting because:

  • the employer required that the employee transfer to a different shift than (s)he was hired to work;
  • the new shift results in a lack of child care for his/her minor children; and
  • (s)he is able to work full-time on the shift that (s)he last worked for the employer.
No No
Quitting a job:

  • Within the first 30 calendar days.
  • Which the employee could have refused with good cause or which does not meet labor standards with regards to wages, hours or other conditions.
No Yes
Quitting to take another job that:

  • offers at least the same average weekly wage;
  • offers at least the same hours of work;
  • offers significantly longer term work; or
  • offers work significantly closer to the employee’s home; and
  • is covered employment for unemployment purposes.
No, there is no required wage that must be earned with the new job Yes
Quitting a job:

  • held concurrently while serving in the military
  • if the quitting was the result of an honorable discharge from active military duty.
No Yes
Quitting a job:

  • due to domestic abuse, concerns about personal safety or harassment or personal safety or harassment of family members who reside with him/her or of other household members
  • if a temporary restraining order or injunction was obtained prior to quitting and is reasonably likely to be violated.
No Yes
Quitting a job: To relocate with a spouse

  • Employee’s spouse is a member of U.S. armed forces on active duty.
  • Employee’s spouse was required by U.S. armed forces to relocate to a place impractical for the employee to commute.
  • Employee terminated his/her work to accompany the spouse to that place.
No Yes
Voluntary Reduction of Hours

If an employee requests to reduce their hours of work, this reduction may be considered a quit.

Self Employment

Benefits are not payable to a self-employed individual if the self-employment activities substantially limit his/her availability for work with other employers.

Waiting Week

Wisconsin has a waiting week for Unemployment Insurance benefits. For every new benefit year, no benefits are payable for the first week a claimant would otherwise be eligible for benefits.

For a full list of eligibility concerns, visit the DWD’s eligibility issues page.