Over 138,000 people await unemployment benefits as federal supplement set to expire

MADISON, Wis.– The additional $600 people have been receiving with their unemployment benefits is ending this week, as over 138,000 people in Wisconsin await payments.

Ashley Green said she’s been waiting 17 weeks for her unemployment claims to be approved.

“It’s like hey, but what about us, that haven’t gotten anything, and are losing everything in the process?” Green said. “Everybody deals with stress differently, and I’ve chosen to deal with it by ignoring it.”

While it’s difficult to talk about her own situation, Green has stepped up to help others going through the same thing. She is one of the organizers of the Wisconsin Unemployment Action Group on Facebook.

“I felt like there was a need for a call to action on a platform, a community within Facebook here politicians can poke their heads in and see what’s going on for themselves, you know. It’s not just a few people that slipped through the cracks. It’s a problem,” Green said.

As of July 18, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development reported that 138,485 claims are awaiting action.

Secretary Caleb Frostman said he feels that the DWD has increased the urgency on answering these claims.

“Week over week, we keep grinding away, and are happy to see continued progress,” Frostman said. “Obviously, we won’t rest until every claim that is eligible gets paid every dollar they’re owed.”

Frostman said the DWD will watch for economic ramifications as the $600 supplement disappears at the end of the week.

“The maximum you can get under unemployment insurance or under the Federal PUA is $370 a week. So, that $600 going away for weeks claimed after this week ending July 25, that’s going to be a huge economic hit to Wisconsinites,” Frostman said.

Frostman said he supports an extension of the program.

“Unemployment insurance is meant to provide that lifeline between jobs, and it’s not necessarily every a lucrative endeavor, but when people are out of work, not only do we want them to stay economically afloat, but our state’s economy has to stay afloat,” Frostman said.

For Green, she said she would just like to see all claims cleared.

“It’s really hard for me personally, especially because I haven’t gotten anything, to fathom the country is in an uproar about the $600 FPUC extension, and there are people who still haven’t gotten anything,” Green said.

A federal moratorium on evictions is also set to expire July 25.