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Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimant Handbook icon of open book

Appendix B - Glossary

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The process for requesting a formal review of a prior UI determination.
Appeal Hearing:
A legal proceeding to consider a UI appeal. Each party (you and your employer, in most cases) can tell an impartial hearing officer what the relevant facts are related to the issue on appeal. You may have witnesses testify. You may ask questions of the other party. All testimony is given under oath.
Administrative Law Judge:
An attorney licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, employed by DWD, who conducts the hearing, makes sure the facts are brought out, and issues a written legal decision on whether or not you are eligible for unemployment benefits. They are salaried state employees whose primary responsibilities involve holding UI appeal hearings and issuing appeal decisions.
The party who requests a hearing. An appellant can be an employee or employer.
Approved Training:
Training through a vocational school or a school offering vocational training that has been approved by DWD. Attendance at a college or university is not normally considered approved training. Some examples of approved training are:
  • Programs administered by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Program
  • DWD Job Service Programs
  • Apprenticeships and
  • Vocational Rehabilitation programs.
Attorney of Record:
A lawyer who has informed the hearing office that they are representing a party at a hearing.
Base Period:
The period of time used to determine UI eligibility. The first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the filing of the initial claim application for UI. If you did not earn sufficient wages to qualify for UI during this period of time, an 'alternate base period' will be used. The alternate base period is the four most recently completed calendar quarters prior to the week you filed your initial claim application for UI.
Base Period Employer:
An employer you worked for during your base period.
Base Period Wages:
The wages you earned during your base period. These wages are used to determine your eligibility for UI. They include:
  • Wages paid to you during the base period for work performed for a covered employer,
  • Sick pay paid directly by an employer at your usual rate of pay,
  • Holiday, vacation, dismissal (severance) pay paid during the base period,
  • Average wage that you would have received from an employer had you not been receiving Worker's Compensation (Temporary Total Disability or Temporary Partial Disability), Federal Longshoreman's and Harbor Worker's Compensation or other federal worker's compensation,
  • Back pay, and/or
  • Wages an employer was legally obligated to pay but did not pay because of bankruptcy or insolvency.
Benefit Computation:
A form mailed to you after you file an initial claim application for UI. It explains whether you are eligible for UI, how much your payment will be each week, your maximum benefit amount, and other details about your current benefit year. The form lists all employers you worked for during your current base period and the wages each employer reported you earned each quarter. Be sure to check it for accuracy and call the Claimant Assistance Line at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 if you notice any errors.
Benefit Week:
A seven-day period during which you have an active claim. The benefit week begins on Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday.
Benefit Year:
The 52-week period that begins with the week your initial claim application is filed.
Calendar Quarter:
There are 4 calendar quarters in a year. They are:
  • January 1 through March 31
  • April 1 through June 30
  • July 1 through September 30
  • October 1 through December 31
Calendar Week:
A calendar week begins on a given Sunday and ends at midnight on the following Saturday. Current UI weekly calendars are available online at
An application for UI.
Claim Effective Date:
The Sunday of the week in which your initial claim application for UI is filed.
Claim End Date:
Also referred to as a 'benefit year end' (BYE), this is the last Sunday of a benefit year. This falls 52 weeks after the claim effective date.
To intentionally mislead DWD about your eligibility for UI and/or wages by withholding or hiding information or making a false statement or misrepresentation.
Covered Employment:
Work you perform for an employer that is subject to the UI law. Your employer pays contributions (taxes) on your wages, and these wages help you qualify for UI.
The questioning of a witness by the opposing party.
A first level decision from DWD about an eligibility issue and/or an employer's liability.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance Division.
Eligibility Issue:
Information that raises a legal question about whether you should be paid UI. An eligibility issue might result in denial, suspension, or reduction of your UI.
Testimony and exhibits that the administrative law judge officially admits into the hearing record.
Excluded Employment:
Work that is not covered under Wisconsin's UI law. You cannot be paid UI based on that work.
Documents that relate to your case, which may include payroll or attendance records, check stubs, letters, emails, text messages, warnings, medical excuses, work rules, work schedules, reports; also, photographs, video or audio recordings, charts, etc.
Firsthand Witness:
A person who actually saw, said, or heard what they are testifying to.
Failing to report or falsely reporting information relating to eligibility for UI on an initial claim application or a weekly claim certification.
Full-time Work:
Working 32 or more hours each week.
Gross Earnings:
The amount of money you get for work (your total income) before taxes and deductions are taken out.
Hearing Record:
The evidence presented at a hearing, including the recording of the testimony and any exhibits introduced.
Statements made by a witness who does not have firsthand knowledge of the facts.
High Quarter:
The base period quarter during which you were paid the highest amount of wages from covered employment.
Initial Claim Application:
An application to start a new UI benefit year or to resume/reopen an existing UI benefit year. This application must be filed in the week that you want your claim to begin.
Net Earnings:
Your take-home pay after taxes and deductions are taken out.
Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA):
The total amount of UI you could be paid during your benefit year.
Medical Report:
A written, certified report used in place of a health care professional appearing in person at a hearing. You may use Form UCB-474 for this report. The form is available online here:
Merits (Issues):
The reasons why UI may be allowed or denied.
One or more actions or conduct showing a willful or wanton disregard of the employer's interests as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which an employer has a right to expect from employees, or carelessness or negligence, or intentional and substantial disregard of an employer's interests or the employee's duties to the employer.

Misconduct also includes: a violation of a written policy concerning use to alcohol, controlled substance or analog; theft; conviction of a crime or other offense if the conviction makes it impossible for the employee to perform their duties; threats or acts of harassment, assault or other physical violence; absenteeism or excessive tardiness; falsifying records; violation of standard or regulation of the federal, state or tribal government.

DWD considers several factors when deciding if a discharge was for misconduct:
  • Was there unacceptable behavior?
  • Was there or could there have been an adverse impact on the employer?
  • Was the employee discharged as a result of the behavior?
  • What efforts were made by the employer and employee to correct the problem?
UI you received but were not entitled to receive under state law.
Partial UI Payment:
The amount of UI you may receive while working reduced hours (less than your typical hours).
Those whose rights might be impacted by the outcome of a case. Parties at a hearing include the employee seeking UI and the employer that is or may be charged for UI payments.
Having a direct bearing on the merits of the case.
The party who did not request the hearing.
When you or your employer end the working relationship. This can be due to a quit, discharge, leave of absence, suspension, or layoff.
An order for a person to appear at the hearing or to produce documents at the hearing.
Substantial Fault:
Acts or omissions of an employee within their control which violate reasonable requirements of the employer but does not include: minor infractions unless repeated after a warning, inadvertent errors, or failure to perform work because of insufficient skill, ability, or equipment.

DWD considers several factors when deciding if a discharge was for substantial fault:
  • Did you violate your employer's requirement(s) by your action or inaction?
  • Were you discharged as a result of the violation?
  • Were you aware or should you have been aware of the requirement?
  • Did you have control over the action or inaction?
Verbal statements taken under oath at a hearing.
Every form of compensation payable to you for personal services. This includes salaries, tips, commissions, bonuses, the reasonable value of room and board, payments-in-kind, and any other similar benefit received from an employer.
Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR):
The weekly amount of UI you are paid when you have no wages or other income during the week.
Weekly Claim Certification:
A claim filed to receive a UI benefit payment for a specific calendar week. A weekly claim certification cannot be filed until the week for which a payment is requested has ended. You must wait until the Sunday following the week being claimed to file a weekly claim certification for that week. UI weeks run Sunday through Saturday.

Updated: September 28, 2022