Part 3: Filing a Weekly Claim Certification

What is a Weekly Claim Certification?

A weekly claim certification is the claim you file for a certain calendar week when you want to receive an unemployment payment for that week. A calendar week for UI purposes always starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.

When to File

You must file a weekly claim certification within 14 days of the end of the calendar week you are claiming, but you cannot file your claim for a week until after the week has ended. The weekly claim hours of operation are listed on the back of this handbook.

If you do not give complete information when you file for weekly benefits, the department may reject your claim and mail you a notice with a special toll-free telephone number to call to complete your claim. You must call that telephone number within 14 days after it is mailed to you.

Important

The system will not let you file a weekly claim certification for a benefit payment if the last week you claimed ended more than 14 days earlier. When this happens you must reapply to "reactivate" or "reopen" your claim.

Filing a Weekly Claim Certification

The system tells you which week(s) you can claim by giving the beginning and ending dates of the week. If the last 2 weeks can be claimed, the system takes your claim for the earliest week first. After you claim for the earliest week, the system tells you how to claim the most recent week. The system also tells you if no weeks can be claimed.

You will need to answer several questions about the week(s) that you are claiming. Take time to answer all questions completely and correctly. You could be penalized if you give false information to get benefits.

Important Points to Remember

YOU ARE ASKED THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS WHEN YOU FILE A WEEKLY CLAIM CERTIFICATION:

Were you able to work full-time and available for full-time work?

Did you contact at least four employers during the week to try to find work? (This question is not asked if your work search is waived.)

During the week, did you refuse work that was offered to you?

During the week, did you miss work that was scheduled for you?

During the week, did you quit a job or were you fired?

During the week, did you work or did you receive or will you receive sick pay, bonus pay or commission?

Did you receive, or will you receive, holiday pay, vacation pay or dismissal pay for the week?

Are you receiving any disability benefits from Social Security?

Were you self-employed?

If your address has not changed, press 1. If you have changed your address and have not reported the new address to us, press 2. (If you press 2, you will be asked to enter your zip code and telephone number. Then you will be asked to speak your new address.)

When to Report that You Worked and Earned Wages

When filing a weekly claim, you must answer “YES” to this question if you performed any work in the week. If you start a shift on Saturday that ends on Sunday, the hours worked and wages earned during that entire shift must be reported on your weekly claim that includes the Saturday.

Hours: Report hours and minutes worked plus the number of hours and minutes for which you received or will receive sick pay for time missed in the week.

Wages: Wages include any type of pay for full-time or part-time work you do in the week. This includes cash payments, tips, commissions, “working off a bill,” etc. Wages also include other payments that you receive for the week like sick pay, worker’s compensation, and bonuses or profit sharing. Wages must be reported in the week they are earned, even if they will not be paid until a later week.

You must report all work, hours, and wages regardless of the amount. Failure to do this may result in overpayment of benefits and penalties, including prosecution.

Do not report the following activities as "work" on your weekly claim certifications, and do not report the income from these activities as wages:

Retirement pay. You must tell us if you have applied for or are receiving a retirement payment, but you do not report the retirement payment as wages on your weekly claim certifications. Your weekly unemployment payments may be reduced if you are receiving a retirement payment. (See Part 6 for more information about Retirement Pay Reductions.)

Instructions for reporting other types of income not mentioned in the Handbook for Claimants are available online at http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/other_income.htm.

When to Report that You Received Holiday, Vacation or Dismissal Pay

If any of these types of pay have been assigned to the week you are claiming you must answer “YES” to the question did you receive holiday, vacation or dismissal pay and report the gross amount of each type of pay. You must also report the number of hours and additional minutes for which you received or will receive each type of pay assigned to that week. Holiday, vacation and dismissal pay must be reported for the week to which it is assigned, even if you receive the pay in a later week.

Call your employer if you are uncertain whether these types of pay have been assigned.

How to Report the Correct Employer

In most cases, the weekly claim system will ask you to speak your employer's complete name and address after you enter the amount of income. The system records this information as you speak. Give complete information and speak clearly. If we cannot understand the recorded information, or if it is incomplete, your telephone claim will be rejected and you will be sent a notice with a special toll-free telephone number to call to complete your claim. This will delay your benefits.

If you worked at a company through a temporary help agency, you are considered an employee of that agency, not of the client company where you did the work. When the system asks for the name and address of your employer, speak the name and address of the temporary help agency.

If You Make a Mistake on Your Weekly Claim Certification

If you think you have given a wrong answer to any question and you have already verified it by pressing 1, just hang up and start over. Your weekly claim certification is considered incomplete and is erased if you hang up before the system tells you that your claim has been accepted. The system does not save a record of an incomplete weekly claim certification.

If you think you have given a wrong answer to any question and your claim has already been accepted, you must call a Claims Specialist.

How You Know Your Weekly Claim Certification is Complete (Claim Acceptance)

Your weekly claim certification is considered completed after the system tells you that your claim has been accepted. Do not hang up until after the system tells you that your claim has been accepted.

If You Cannot Complete Your Weekly Claim Certification

If you hang up or are disconnected before the system accepts your weekly claim certification, the information you have given will not be saved. You must call again to file your claim for that week.

If Your Weekly Claim Certification Raises an Eligibility Question

If an eligibility issue is raised, you will be told to call a Claims Specialist within 3 days if you have not already given information about the issue to the department. You will be given a special telephone number to use for this call.

The Claims Specialist may take a short statement from you immediately or you may be asked to provide information at a later date. You may be scheduled for a fact-finding interview or be contacted by telephone or mail. Even though you are told that your claim has been accepted at the end of the call, you MUST call a Claims Specialist if told to do so. If you do not call a Claims Specialist as you are told, you could lose benefits.

When to Expect Your Payments

Wisconsin has a waiting week for Unemployment Insurance benefits. For every new benefit year, no benefits are payable for the first week you would otherwise be eligible for benefits. After the waiting week has been claimed, UI payments for subsequent weeks are usually made within 7 days after a completed weekly claim certification has been received (accepted), but payment could be delayed for a number of reasons. For example, an incomplete claim or an eligibility issue will delay payment.

Do not expect to receive your benefit payments on the same day or within the same amount of time each week.

If you do not receive a payment (or an explanation for not receiving a payment) within 7 days of filing a weekly claim certification, you should first call the Automated Inquiry System to find out if a payment has been issued. Choose the option (1) which gives information about your payment for last week.

Cashing Your Own Checks

Only you can endorse and cash your benefit checks. Never endorse the check until you cash it.

Lost or Stolen Checks

If you lose your UI check or if it is stolen, call a Claims Specialist. It takes at least 60 days after filing an inquiry about a lost or stolen check to receive a replacement check, with some exceptions.

Notice Regarding Availability of Checks

The department is phasing out the use of paper checks. Beginning 07/18/2013, if you file a new claim or re-open a current but inactive claim, you can receive payment either by direct deposit or Visa pre-paid debit card, as explained below.

Direct Deposit

UI benefit payments may be direct deposited into your checking or savings account. You may enroll for direct deposit online or by completing the Direct Deposit Authorization form which was sent with your Claim Confirmation. The form is also available online or by calling one of the information/assistance telephone numbers. You must provide a voided personal check or a document from your financial institution which clearly identifies the bank routing number and your checking or savings account number to ensure the account number and financial institution’s routing number you provide are correct.  Your Direct Deposit Information only needs to be submitted once, unless your bank information changes. You DO NOT need to resubmit a Direct Deposit Authorization each time you file for Unemployment Benefits.  For more information, please see the direct deposit FAQ page. 

Visa® Pre-Paid Debit Card

Beginning 07/18/2013, if you do not have a bank account or prefer not to use direct deposit, your benefit payments will be deposited onto a Visa pre-paid debit card. The funds are then immediately available, and the card can be used anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted. Additionally, debit card holders are protected if the card is lost or stolen1. You can also check payments and current balance, and even pay bills online. For more information about enrolling for a Visa pre-paid debit card, please see the Visa pre-paid debit card FAQ page.

Changing Your Address

The weekly claim system will ask if your address has changed since your last claim. If it has, follow directions the system provides to change your address. If you are not filing for benefits at the present time but wish to change your address on our records, you must call one of the initial claim application/assistance numbers and press 3 when the system gives you your choices.


1The Visa Zero Liability Policy protects you against unauthorized purchases. U.S.-issued cards only. This does not apply to ATM transactions or to PIN transactions not processed by Visa. You must immediately report any unauthorized use. See your cardholder agreement for details.

Updated: March 24, 2014

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