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Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimant Handbook icon of open book

Section 1 - Overview of Unemployment Insurance (UI)

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About the UI Program

UI is a program designed to provide temporary income to eligible workers who lost their job. The UI program provides weekly benefits to eligible unemployed workers.

Funding for the UI Program

Wisconsin's UI program is funded through taxes paid by employers. No money is deducted from your paycheck to pay for UI benefits.

We Are Here to Help You

DWD's UI Division is here to assist you through your time of unemployment. To make sure you are paid benefits in a timely manner, please help us by:
  • Providing accurate information
  • Responding to requests for information right away
  • Completing all requirements to maintain UI eligibility, as outlined in this Handbook
  • Keeping your contact information up to date

Be sure to check your mail and voicemail messages.

DWD will send you important information in the mail. We may contact you by phone. If we are unable to leave you a message, or do not receive a response, your UI may be delayed or denied.

Change of Address or Phone Number

It is very important that we have your current mailing address and telephone number. We will send you important documents and instructions after you file your claim. If your mail is not delivered to you, your UI benefit payments may be delayed or denied.

Why We Need Your Social Security Number

Federal and state law require you to give us your social security number (SSN). It will be used to verify your identity, employer, and wages, determine other income and benefit eligibility, keep a record of your UI benefit payments, and to gather statistics. We use a matching program to verify your SSN with the Social Security Administration. You will not be eligible for UI if you do not provide your SSN.

Personal information you provide may be used for secondary purposes. In addition to reporting your income from UI to the Internal Revenue Service and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, we also share information about your claim with other federal and state agencies to help them determine your eligibility or amount of benefits payable under their programs. Some of these programs include General Assistance, FoodShare, Wisconsin Works (W-2), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Medicaid.

Did you know?

UI benefit payments are taxable income under federal and state law. Each year, we report the UI we pay you to the Internal Revenue Service and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. You can ask us to withhold state and federal taxes from your UI payments. For more information, see Tax Information and Withholding

Your Security Credentials

You must create a username and password before you can access the claimant portal. Your username, password, and SSN are your security credentials and will be used to identify you and must be used when accessing your account.

Create security credentials that you will remember but are hard for others to guess. We recommend that you use a unique password you do not use for other accounts. Do not give your security credentials to ANYONE. You are responsible for all claims filed and all information given to us using your security credentials.

Be Alert!

Sometimes fraudsters attempt to use UI scams or identity theft to commit fraud. For information about how to avoid scams and combat identity theft, please review UI Identity Theft and Scams.

If you forget your username or password, do not create a new account. Creating a new account will only delay your access to online services. Change your username or password immediately by following instructions online at For help using online services or if you are unable to go online, call (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.

If you are having trouble getting the system to authorize you to use online services, make sure your information is entered and formatted correctly. If your last name is long or hyphenated; please enter your name as it appears on your Wisconsin driver license or Identification card. If you do not have a driver license you will get a message to call the Claimant Assistance Line. Also, make sure the date of birth field is formatted using slashes (e.g., MM/DD/YYYY). You may have also answered the security questions provided by LexisNexis incorrectly.

If you continue to have trouble, call a claims specialist at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours. You must provide your username if you call for help, but your password is confidential and should not be shared.

If you are having trouble viewing links once you are authorized for online services, you can try to clear your cache and cookies; then restart your computer to view the links. If you are still having trouble, call a claims specialist at (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.

Updated: September 28, 2022