Wisconsin Legislative Democrats released a package of eight bills that would allow the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to immediately process unemployment claims faster and remove unnecessary barriers to unemployment insurance for those seeking assistance. This comes at a time when millions of Wisconsinites are experiencing joblessness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing DWD to receive an unprecedented number of claims.
“Many individuals across the state have lost their jobs and are still dealing with the stress and frustration of waiting to receive their unemployment claims. These are difficult times, and we must do everything we can to eliminate the unnecessary barriers to unemployment insurance that exist in our state,” State Representative Nick Milroy (D-South Range) said.
Despite DWD increasing staffing and making other systemic changes to improve efficiency, many individuals are still waiting to receive help. The legislative package will remove eligibility restrictions to unemployment insurance, make it easier to apply, and allow DWD to process claims more quickly.
“Right now, Wisconsinites are concerned about the well-being of their loved ones and many are struggling to make ends meet. A confusing and burdensome unemployment insurance process has only made times more stressful. More must be done to efficiently get unemployment insurance to families in need,” Milroy said.
The representative continued, “I signed on as a cosponsor of these bills because people need help now. It’s our responsibility as legislators to act urgently to remove roadblocks to these necessary resources.”
Legislation proposed by Democrats in the unemployment insurance relief package includes:
- LRB 6244: Allowing social security disability (SSDI) recipients to receive concurrent unemployment insurance benefits;
- LRB 6246: Reinstating the ability of those participating in extended occupational training to receive extended UI benefits;
- LRB 6249: Suspending the $500 wage threshold for recipients of unemployment insurance benefits temporarily;
- LRB 6254: Providing DWD the authority to determine by administrative rule what constitutes suitable work a claimant must accept if offered, and what labor market conditions to review based on the number of weeks that the claimant has received benefits;
- LRB 6256: Expanding DWD authority to promulgate rules that provider waivers for certain requirements;
- LRB 6257: Eliminating the requirement that claimants wait one week before receiving benefits;
- LRB 6265: Reduces administrative requirements; and
- LRB 6362: Eliminating the concept of substantial fault from being a disqualifying factor.