Wisconsin Unemployment Eligibility Information

Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits in Wisconsin

Eligibility for unemployment in Wisconsin is set by the state Department of Workforce Development. All potential claimants must first make sure they meet all unemployment insurance eligibility requirements before they apply. Concerning eligibility for EDD, the main requirement is an acceptable reason for your separation from your employer. For instance, if you have been fired for subjective reasons or let go due to misconduct or failure to complete your job-related tasks, you are not someone who qualifies for unemployment benefits. On the other hand, if you were laid off for objective business reasons, such as company shut-down or project termination, you will be able to apply for unemployment insurance. However, you must be able to maintain your eligibility for unemployment benefits each week that you are unemployed. Per the state department, this means applying to jobs, participating in reemployment activities, reporting your job search results and more. 

To discover how to qualify for unemployment benefits and to learn all about unemployment insurance eligibility in Wisconsin, explore the following sections:

  • Who qualifies for unemployment benefits in Wisconsin?
  • What are the requirements to get unemployment benefits and maintain them in Wisconsin? 

Who Qualifies for Unemployment Benefits in Wisconsin?

To meet WI eligibility for EDD, you must first learn who qualifies for unemployment benefits in Wisconsin. As a general rule, only workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own meet the qualifications for unemployment benefits. Those who were fired or laid off for subjective reasons or misconduct cannot submit unemployment claims. In addition, you must be totally or partially unemployed and meet financial requirements for earnings in your base period to receive UI.

Claimants must meet various unemployment insurance eligibility requirements, in addition to their reason for separation from their employer. These are based on the wages they have received in their base period, or more specifically, in the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters right before the date of the unemployment claim. You must have earned enough wages during your highest-paying quarter to qualify for the minimum weekly benefit rate. Applicants who do not meet the qualifications for unemployment eligibility using the base period can use an alternate base period (typically, the last four calendar quarters). Note that the wages earned in the time period spanning between the end of your base period and the week on which your claim began are not used to calculate your unemployment benefits. This is called a lag period, but the wages earned in this period can be used to apply for future benefits. 

Note: If you have worked in states other than Wisconsin during your base period, you will be given the opportunity to combine the wages from all the states you worked in to possibly meet the financial qualifications for unemployment and potentially increase your weekly UI benefits.

What are the Requirements to Get Unemployment Benefits and Maintain them in Wisconsin?

If you are an unemployed individual who qualifies for unemployment in Wisconsin, you must make sure to maintain your eligibility for unemployment in order to continue receiving benefits. Namely, you must be able to comply with all of the following tasks and requirements:

  • Be totally or partially unemployed.
  • Be mentally and physically able to work, and accept work when offered.
  • Serve a waiting period, i.e. the first week of unemployment after you apply for benefits.
  • Actively look for work and report your job-seeking activities and results to the Department of Workforce Development.
  • Participate in reemployment programs developed by the DWD and the Division of Unemployment Insurance.
  • Register with the Wisconsin Job Service.
  • Be able to start work immediately without having restrictions, such as child care, transportation or school attendance, which may affect your employability.
  • File a claim for each week of unemployment within seven days of the period you are claiming benefits for.
  • Be a legal Wisconsin resident.

Failure to comply with these unemployment insurance eligibility requirements will result in the termination of your benefits. You must remember that unemployment benefits are a limited source of monetary assistance and not a replacement for a full salary. Unemployment insurance serves to help you get by until you find a new job and earn a full wage in the state of Wisconsin.

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