Below, we’ve compiled information and resources about applying for unemployment insurance benefits in Wisconsin. This page is by no means exhaustive. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Department of Workforce Development at 844-910-3661.
In Wisconsin, employers pay an Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax for each of the employees on their payroll.
During the last 18 months, if you worked for an employer that paid UI tax, and you’re now unemployed, you can apply for unemployment benefits through the state of Wisconsin.
If you did not work for an employer than paid UI tax in the past 18 months, you may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance via the federal CARES Act.
Click here to file an application for unemployment benefits. On the page that opens, check the box beside I Accept and click Continue to agree to the terms and conditions.
You’ll be taken to a login screen. You must have a UI account to file an application online. If you have previously applied for UI benefits, enter your username and password and click Log In. If you can’t remember your account information, click “Forgot your Username/Password?” underneath the Log In button to reset it.
If you have not previously applied for UI benefits, click Sign up underneath the Log In button to create a new account. As part of the creation process, you’ll be asked for your Social Security number, Driver’s License number, and an email address or a cell phone number.
To finally verify your identity, you’ll receive an email or text with an activation code. Enter the code when prompted to log in to your account.
Once you’ve logged in, click File an initial claim to begin your application for benefits. You’ll be asked for your personal information, the details of the past 18 months of your work history, and some qualifying questions to determine your eligibility. Move slowly and carefully through the process, making sure all of the information you provide is accurate.
If you need to pause your application at any point, click Stop claim near the top right corner of the screen. Your information will be saved for 14 days.
After you’ve submitted your claim, it will be reviewed by Department of Workforce Development employees. You’ll be notified of your eligibility and the details of your potential payments, including tax withholding details.
Each week, you’ll need to log in to the claims website and renew your claim. This is how the Department of Workforce Development knows that you’re still unemployed and need to keep receiving benefits.
Currently, you are not required to look for work while unemployed; the work search requirement has been suspended until September 2020. However, you must register with the Job Center of Wisconsin and upload a resume in order to remain eligible for benefits.
Click here to log into the Job Center of Wisconsin using the same username and password that you used for your UI application.
Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be prompted to Register for services using your Social Security number.
Finally, follow the instructions here to upload your resume to the Job Center.
Learn more about fraud and scams targeting UI applicants here.
If you need help with your application or any other part of the process of applying for unemployment, call the Unemployment Insurance Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to speak with an agent.
If your last name begins with the letters A through M, call between 7AM and 12PM Monday through Friday.
If your last name begins with the letters N through Z, call between 12PM and 5PM Monday through Friday.
You may call 414-435-7069 or 844-910-3661.
- How to Create a Username and Password for Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Benefit Services (video)
- Frequently Asked Questions About Online Benefit Services
- General Unemployment Frequently Asked Questions (eligibility requirements, how to apply, etc)
- COVID-19 Unemployment Frequently Asked Questions (special programs, initial claim guidelines, etc)
- Accessing Your UI Claim Information Online
- Which Unemployment Program is For You?
- Job Center of Wisconsin Frequently Asked Questions (resetting passwords, adding resumes, etc)