‘We’re not just a case number’: Wisconsinites show mixed emotions over DWD leadership changes

MADISON, Wis.– There are people around Madison who haven’t seen a dime of state unemployment money in months.

More than 700,000 claims still haven’t been finalized, according to the latest numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

DWD resolved over six million claims in the past seven months, according to those numbers.

Issues like those led to Sec. Caleb Frostman’s resignation last week, but that isn’t convincing people still waiting that everything will be fixed.

Hannah Naramore said she first filed an unemployment claim on April 4. About 170 days later, she’s still waiting.

“A lot of us have been waiting over 20 weeks, and that’s a very long time to have to depend on whatever savings people had or rely on family and friends to help us,” Naramore said.

Naramore said the people assigned to her case haven’t even contacted her.

“There’s really no communication from them at all,” Naramore said.

That lack of communication is also Deidre Buckingham’s biggest frustration with how Wisconsin is handling unemployment claims.

“You wait and you wait and you wait,” Buckingham said.

Until this afternoon, no one has been able to tell her why her claims are still processing.

“It’s the first time in five months anyone has given me answers,” Buckingham said. “I got lucky, and I said to him, ‘How do I get you again, because you seem to know what’s going on.’ He’s like ‘It’s the luck of the draw.'”

A lack of answers is a reason Gov. Evers cited in calling for Frostman’s resignation.

News 3 Now reached out to Frostman and current DWD staff, but were reffered to the governor’s office.

Buckingham said a change in leadership is promising, but she worries there’s a lot more that needs to be fixed.

“If its going to take time, then I get that, but you have to give people information,” Buckingham said. “You can’t just say wait, because people can’t pay their bills on waiting.”

Naramore said she’s concerned Frostman’s resignation will only make things worse.

“We’re out here and we’re real people. We’re not just a case number,” Naramore said.

Evers’ office did not respond to several requests for comment today.