Skip to comments.Wisconsin Unemployment Agency Delivering Unhappy Holidays
Posted on 11/28/2020 4:04:11 AM PST by Kaslin
MADISON — As the holidays approach, thousands of Wisconsinites are still waiting for their Unemployment Insurance benefits to come through months after they first applied.
Now, Gov. Tony Evers’ interim Department of Workforce Development secretary is saying she hopes to have much of the unemployment backlog cleared by the New Year.
The new goal, after the last disgraced DWD chief said the mountain of claims would be settled by last month, isn’t much consolation for claimants who have been waiting since July. Like Shelli Wodsedalek.
The Manitowoc tax professional this week posted on the Wisconsin Unemployment Facebook page that her frustration is growing.
“In my 25+ years of employment, this is my first time filing for UI. I was laid off in July, I followed all the rules (I even took the time to read EVERYTHING), and yet I’ve been in adjudication because I was unavailable for my very (as in 8 hours/month) part-time job the last week in June because I was working nearly 60-hours that week at my regular job,” she wrote.
“This is crazy. Nearly 3 decades of employers paying in to UI on my behalf, and I can’t seem to even get one penny from it. I hate this,” Wodsedalek added.
Amy Pechacek was left with the Unemployment Insurance mess when Evers asked DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman to step down in October. During Frostman’s brief tenure, the agency was buried under a backlog of unemployment claims in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in March and Evers’ statewide lockdown. DWD repeatedly failed to even answer the incoming calls from frustrated claimants, let alone settle claims in anywhere near a timely fashion.
Wisconsin Spotlight has detailed the heartbreaking stories of Wisconsinites forced to wait four, five, six months and longer to get paid.
The delays continue.
While DWD reports 93.7 percent of the 8.2 million-plus weekly jobless claims that have come in since mid March have been processed, more than 70,000 claimants are awaiting resolution. Most of those are trapped in the morass of adjudication, where claims are approved or denied.
A state audit in late September underscored the dysfunction inside DWD’s Unemployment Insurance division.
Among the alarming findings by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, 93.3 percent of the 41.1 million phone calls made to DWD’s call centers during this year’s flood of unemployment claims were blocked or received busy signals. That’s 38.3 million unanswered calls between March 15 and June 30, the height of Unemployment Insurance applications following Evers’ COVID-19 state-wide lockdown that cost hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites their jobs.
Some 6.2 percent of the calls were abandoned by claimants calling into the DWD, according to the audit. So only 0.5 percent of calls were ultimately answered.
Pechacek this week told the Wisconsin State Journal DWD’s partnership with Google will help remove 103,000 holds on backlogged claims and bring relief to 21,000 people waiting for state Unemployment Insurance. Another 50,000 claimants will receive updates to their filings as the claims move toward resolution, the news outlet reported.
The agency’s partnership with Google Cloud, launched in October, is expected provide expedited review of UI and federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims to assist in processing claim payment determinations, according to the agency.
State Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) said he’s pleased to see the use of technology to assist in the backlog, but he wants to see results.
“Goals don’t mean a whole lot unless they happen,” said Jacque, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development.
He noted that Wisconsin was the last in the nation to start paying out federally funded unemployment benefits, a problem that exposed DWD’s failure to prepare.
While Evers has blamed the Republican-controlled Legislature for not providing funding to upgrade the Unemployment Insurance division’s integrated technology, the governor sought no funding for a system revamp in his first budget, and DWD did not note the need in its latest budget request.
“Wisconsin was not uniquely situated in terms of IT programming,” Jacque said. “It’s clear that it was not just a function of the IT system, it was a problem with leadership and direction in the department and in the governor’s office.
More joy from your incompetent rat leaders
Eldest took 15 weeks to get his, finally at the point of it running out found a nothing job at Little Caesars.
The election is over. Mission accomplished.
When unemployment benefits and rental moratoriums end it will be a nightmare for millions.
A happier holiday would come from having a job.
Unemployment has ALWAYS been a BIG problem in this state.
Beau was in Construction for the vast majority of his career, ending up as a Project Manager for some REALLY big firms.
He had the same experience when a company he worked for went out of business and he was eligible for UC. HOURS of time on the phone, delay after delay.
Just one more reason to despise Mother Government. Don’t depend upon her unless you are making THAT your ‘lifestyle choice.’
There NEVER seems to be any problem with the freeloaders getting their EBT Cards and perks on time! Grrrrr!
I dont believe the numbers are this low. I know too many...magnified across the state? Evers shut down my wifes business too. Shes been fighting with them for months. Like the other poster said but its not just him. Screwing with those that dare to have a part time. Denied. Denied from UI, denied from the other programs, denied grants. Everything denied.
More freezer money for the holidays for the rats.
Worse here in Nevada. State is facing multiple lawsuits for NOT processing Unemployment claims & paying out funds they SHOULD have on hand.
Friend filed March 26. He hasn’t seen a dime yet. 8 full months. NOT A DIME
The most basic of things the state should be able to do.
A simple accounting software would only be needed.
Name, address, former employer, last worked date, address to send check, routing number to bank account, length of time to deposit the money.
I have seen EBT card holders who cashed in their government payments for cash and then bought booze and lottery tickets.
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