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Wisconsin Unemployment

Wisconsin residents may need to apply for unemployment benefits at some point in their life. While not all residents will need this government service, those that do will typically want to receive it with the least amount of resistance and controversy possible. Some people are under the impression that unemployment is only for lazy people or disenchanted workers that do not want to work. However, the way the federal unemployment program works, as well as each unemployment office at the state level, it becomes clear very quickly that this is not always the case.

To apply for unemployment, the process is tedious, requires a lot of time, dedication and patience and also requires a person to understand the limitations to unemployment. It is by no means a “free ride” or a situation that allows just anyone to receive money. In fact, one of the main facets of qualifying for unemployment is being able to show you have enough wage credits from past work experience. If you have never worked a day in your life, it is near impossible to benefit from unemployment benefits.

Five of the most important things you must know about unemployment in Wisconsin, or any other state are:

  • You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. For example, if you quit your job simply because you feel like it, it is unlikely that you will be eligible for unemployment. While there are exceptions to every rule, there are only very rare cases that allow you to collect unemployment unless you were released from your job without just cause.

  • You must have enough wage credits in order to qualify for unemployment. If you worked two weeks at a restaurant, and was then let go, then you will not be able to apply for unemployment benefits. You benefits are based on the amount of money accrued from the taxes you pay. Working two weeks at a restaurant might set you up for about $20 total in benefits, if that.

  • You must apply for work regularly and show proof. Business cards, copied employment applications and contacts from potential employers will help you when you attempt to claim weeks for unemployment benefits. Without this, you may not receive your benefits.

  • You weekly payment will not necessarily be the same as you made at your previous job. People who apply for Wisconsin unemployment benefits can receive close to their weekly wages, but each case is different.

  • If you are overpaid for unemployment benefits, and you are aware, be sure to return the money immediately. If you do not, you will likely be hit with an unpleasant surprise years later. For information on overpayments and forfeitures, visit the following website:

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Insurance division offers a swift guide to help you learn about some of the most important facets of unemployment. This document is available here to help you better understand:

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