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Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimant Handbook
If you are out of work and you have worked for an employer covered by the UI law in the last 18 months, you can apply for UI.
Filing for UI is a two-step process:
Apply for UI for any of these reasons:
If all your work in the last 18 months was done in Wisconsin, file in Wisconsin, even if you now live in another state.
You must file an initial claim application within 7 days of the end of the calendar week in which you want to receive a UI benefit payment. If you wait to file your claim, you could lose benefits. Each time you stop filing weekly claim certifications and want to start again, you must file an initial claim application.
For example, if you lost your job on Monday the 3rd of the month, you could file an initial claim application for UI on the same day or on any other day that week or the following week.
Any time benefits are denied or suspended, we send you a determination explaining:
If you have met the requalifying requirements, have stopped filing weekly claim certifications, and are again unemployed or working reduced hours, you must file a new initial claim application.
DWD will confirm you have met the requalifying requirements. We may request more information. Complete the request and return it by the deadline.
If you have questions about your requalifying requirements, call a claims specialist at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.
Certifying that you are available for work while you are out of the country or giving your security credentials and/or social security number to another person to file claims on your behalf may lead to penalties including overpayments, loss of benefits, monetary penalties, and criminal prosecution. For more information, please see Overpayments and Fraud and Quality Control.
To apply online:
Online services are available at the following times to apply for benefits:
If you are unable to apply online, call a claims specialist at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.
Applying for UI is easier and faster when you have key information in hand. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility for UI.
Answer all questions completely and correctly. You could be penalized if you give false information to get benefits. Information you provide may be verified through data matching programs or with your employer(s). Please review Fraud and Quality Control to learn more.
To make your initial claim application quick and easy, have this information ready:
** For returning military veterans: The application process for military service veterans coming off active duty is the same as anyone applying for UI. Your claim cannot start earlier than the week of your separation date as it appears on your DD-214.
After you file your initial claim application, you will be asked to submit a copy of your DD-214 for all active-duty terms within the last 18 months. Your claim may be delayed if you are unable to submit a copy of your DD-214. Acceptable copies are Member Copy 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8.
Additional resources are available from the Office of Veteran Employment Services.
After you apply, you may be contacted to provide additional information about your eligibility for UI. Respond promptly to any request for information from DWD.
If you do not take part in a fact-finding investigation, you could lose benefits.
If you haven't submitted your initial claim application yet:
You will have the opportunity to review your initial claim application before you submit it. You should review your answers and make any corrections needed before submitting your application. You may want to print a copy of your answers as well.
If you have already submitted your initial claim application:
If it is the same day you submitted your initial claim application, you can make changes in your claimant portal. Look for: "Important Message: We have received your application. Your claim is being processed. To change information on your claim, click here."
If it has been one day or more since you submitted your initial claim application, call the Claimant Assistance Line at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.
Updated: September 28, 2022