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Unemployment Business Functions

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program primary roles are to provide:

  • Temporary economic assistance to individuals who find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own and who are actively seeking work.
  • Economic stability in the community during periods of economic downturn.

The UI program is financed by federal and state taxes paid by employers who are subject to the federal/state UI laws. Wisconsin was the first state to enact a UI law in 1932 to help stabilize the effects of the Great Depression.

UI is one of six divisions within the Department of Workforce Development and offers the following services:

  • UI Administration - Handles the development of strategic plans, operating budgets, system modernization, communications, and legislative and customer relations.

    • Office of Quality Control - Audits and provides statistically valid estimates of the accuracy of both benefit payments and decisions and audits UI Tax operations to ensure accuracy and timeliness.

  • Benefit Operations Bureau - Processes claims, adjudicates disputes, and ensures proper payment of benefits.

  • Bureau of Tax and Accounting - Collects, controls, and accounts for flow of funds into and out of the UI program; establishes tax liability; maintains employer accounts; audits employers to promote and verify employer compliance with state laws, regulations, and policies; and collects unpaid employer taxes and benefit overpayments.

  • Bureau of Legal Affairs - Provides legal advice and services for the division, handles internal security, processes UI benefit and tax appeals, represents DWD in court and administrative proceedings, conducts research and analysis on UI laws and policies, investigates and educates employers on worker misclassification, and provides support to the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council (UIAC).

  • Bureau of Management and Information Services - Handles project management, imaging and document management, business analysis and automation, information technology coordination, telecom and data services.