Eligibility

Wisconsin State LogoThe Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is liable for managing and building the state’s workforce through delivering employment for youth and the disabled, as well as executing employment rights enforcement, unemployment insurance claims and worker’s compensation. The department makes use of a wide range of criteria to decide if a claimant is qualified for benefits, and how much benefit he or she is worthy of. In addition, applicants must attain some ongoing requirements so as to carry on to be paid on a weekly basis.

The department puts into effect set of laws that link to benefits eligibility, taking into consideration an applicant’s earnings during current employment and the cause for separation from employment. Claimants should also be available to accept suitable job offers.

Qualifications for Unemployment in Wisconsin

Wisconsin joblessness rules must be carefully understood, particularly if a worker finds themselves jobless, as there are strict criteria that should be met before benefit will be paid. There are also laws that point to further responsibilities of the claimant that must be met for continued weekly payments.

Job Loss

jobless menTo be eligible for unemployment insurance in the state of Wisconsin, you must have been removed from employment through no fault of your own. If you quit your job without good cause or obtain termination for excessive absenteeism, tardiness or misconduct, you are not entitled to collect benefits in Wisconsin until you earn subsequent wages.

  • In the case of quitting your job, you should earn 4 times your weekly benefit sum amount to be entitled.
  • In the case of a termination for absenteeism or tardiness, you must earn 6 times your weekly benefit amount.
  • In the case of a termination for misconduct, you must earn 14 times your weekly benefit amount.
  • In each case, the state also imposes a four- to seven-week suspension of benefits before granting you eligibility.

Work Availability

accept appropriate offers of workYour eligibility to obtain unemployment benefits in Wisconsin hinges on your availability to accept appropriate offers of work. If you decline work and don’t have good cause, the state puts off your benefits for 4 weeks and needs you to earn 4 times your weekly benefit amount before returning them.

In case you fail to make what the state considers a feasible job search might also exclude you temporarily. If you are not able or obtainable to work in a given work, the state examines the condition before deciding whether you remain qualified for that week.

Work Search

Job searchAn unending requirement to obtain unemployment insurance benefits is a weekly job search report. The Department of Workforce Development needs all people collecting benefits to get in touch with at least two employers each week. In some instances, such as when a claimant is in school or working part-time, the work search requirement can be given up by the department. The department at times requests documentation of a claimant’s job search actions and altering these documents can outcome in termination of benefits.

Weekly Reporting

In order to obtain benefits for a given week, claimants should present a weekly report that details their availability for employment, any wages earned during the week and any other sources of income such as income from self employment or vacation pay. These reports have to be filed no later than 14 days following the last day of the week benefits are being claimed for. Claimants are required to detail all work, hours and wages no matter the amount. Refusal with this requirement can lead penalties, overpayments or prosecution.

Employment

While claiming unemployment benefits, if you accept an offer of work, and are working fewer than 16 hours a week, the number of hours worked must be stated to the benefits office so that they may alter your benefit payment accordingly.

If case number of weeks worked are more than 16 then the claimant is not qualified to any benefit for that week. The state of Wisconsin lets a period of no longer than 6 weeks after losing a job to assess any offers of new employment.

A claimant is allowed to decline an offer of new work if the skills needed are different than they have, or the wage offered is considerably less than the person was earning before. After the initial 6 weeks, the claimant should accept any offer of work giving reasonable wages, hours and conditions. If a person does not accept any offers meeting this criterion, benefits may be canceled.

Monetary Eligibility

Wages

In order to meet the criteria for unemployment in Wisconsin, applicants should have earned definite amount money in the 4 quarters prior to the date of application, which is called the applicant’s base period.

Applicants should have earned wages in no less than two of the quarters in the base period. The least to be eligible is $1890 for the whole base period, if not the applicant has a previous unemployment claim in which case the earnings needed are dependent on 8 times the weekly benefit rate period.

Earnings

Earnings in WisconsinOf the last 5 full calendar quarters, your earnings from the first 4 quarters are applicable to your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Your weekly benefit amount is 4% of your wages in the highest –earning of the 4 quarters. Since 2010, Wisconsin residents are qualified for unemployment benefits if they earned no less than $1350 in their “high quarter.” That would interpret to weekly unemployment benefits of $54, which is the existing minimum under state law; the maximum is $363 for inhabitants who earned $9075 or more in their high quarter. Your total wages from your 4 quarter base period must be up to at least 35 times your weekly benefit amount.

Partial Unemployment

You may be able to collect unemployment benefits in Wisconsin at a decreased rate if you work on a part-time basis. You have to report all income, including any income for paid time off such as holiday wages. The state calculates your partial wage rate by subtracting $30from your gross income and multiplying your remaining wages by 67%. It subtracts that number from your weekly unemployment amount and rounds down to the nearest dollar. That total is what you obtain in unemployment benefits for the week. You cannot collect a partial unemployment check for less than $5.

77 comments on “Eligibility
  1. Roberta Opatik says:

    I was layed off this week due to the work slowing down. When I filed for unemployment I was told I am not eligible because I was part time. I worked 32 hours a week. My question is: Why was I denied when there are quite others in the plant that were working part time and they receive benefits? I was not given a reason other than I am not working full time. I do not have any other jobs I can fall back on.

    • Mary Langkamp says:

      You worked 32 hours if you work 32 hours you are not allowed unemployment benefits for that week. Any week you work part time and work under 32 hours a week then you can get unemployment.

  2. Kyle Clark Cady says:

    I recently had some surgery done and I am off work for the next three months. My workplace will not let me work light duty since I was not hurt on the job. Am I able to file for unemployment to support myself while I recover?

    • wisunmentadmin says:

      Hi Kyle,

      In order to receive benefits you must have lost the job through no fault of your own and must be able and available to take up suitable work. You can check if you can avail temporary disability benefits.

    • Aj Demarinis says:

      I work only in the summer. And I also am a current student. I make about 4500 a summer. Do I still qualify for unemployment?

  3. laura says:

    my former boss told me that if I don’t come back to work (my 2 year old broke his arm) in a certaint amount of time that I will no longer “have a spot.” she also told me she was going to dock my wages for her bill and that she was going to call the police on me for stealing a phone that is mine. she also refused to give me her fax number so that I could send her a doctors note for my son. I googled it and sent it anyways. I quit. am I eligible?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Laura,

      You can go ahead and apply for unemployment and see what the determination turns out to be. You will have to prove your innocence as it is needed to have lost job through no fault of your own.

  4. Jessica Reyes says:

    I’m wondering what is going on with my unemployment and I was wondering if you would take the payment out of the checks I get so I can paid off the payment off. I was wondering if you can take out the taxes too.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Reyes

  5. Jordan White says:

    I have been waiting over 7 weeks for a decision to be made on an eligibility issue that should allow benefits, I have never had to wait this long before in my life even when the recession was around. I know either way if the determination were to disqualify me for benefits for misconduct, that I still meet the requalifying requirements since I had held employment and made twice as much from a different employer that laid us off so I should get benefits one way or another but just never had to wait this long for a decision to be made over 7 weeks now.

  6. shelly says:

    I need help…I have just a few questions….Due to illness I was demoted from my position and 4.50 an hr was taken away from me. I cannot live on 8.50 an hr. Is there any way I can be eligible for help through unemployment? Please help…I cant seem to find the right phone # to call….ty

  7. Nordeng Vang says:

    Both my wife and I are working for the Eau Claire School District, however, we will not receive any pay over the summer which is from June 2013 to September 2013. I don’t know how could we survive, because both of us will not have any income during those months. Please let me know how both of us could do to receive any assistance so we could still pay for our house and other expenses during the time we are not working. Please get back to me. We are desperate during these three months.

    Sincerely,

    Nordeng Vang
    715.861.4509

    • Admin says:

      Hi Nordeng,

      It is unfortunate that you do not generate any cash during summer. Unemployment benefits are usually unavailable to teachers during school holidays. You can always try your luck!

  8. Carmen W. Shively says:

    I am leaving my job to move back home. I have been in wi. for 6 years after transfering. My parents are both having health issues and my only other sibling passed away a couple months ago and theirs no one else around. I just need to be able to collect benifts till I find work. I was making 25.00 an hour here but am willing to work for 10.00 to 15.00 to get started back in Ohio. Im making this sacfrice to get back to be close to my parents. You only have one set of parents and thats all the family I got left and they need me their.

  9. Amy Marshalek says:

    I have been diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and had to cut my hours at work from 40 hours a week down to 27 hours a week. Would I qualify for any unemployment benefits?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Amy,

      Unless this health condition was due to your work environment, your chances to receive unemployment benefits are slim. This means, if you are unable to work, you may not receive unemployment compensation. Check if you can avail short term disability benefits. Take care.

  10. bryan says:

    my company is going to out sorce my work,the new company will pay the same with dramaticly less benefits but same pay.two part question 1)do i have to except the job?if i do not will i be eligibile for unemployment 2)if i am not extended an opportunity to work with the new company, am i eligibile for benefits?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Bryan,

      A-1: If you are given a job suitable for your qualification and you turn it down, you may have some hurdles in receiving unemployment benefits.

      A-2: If you are not given another offer, then it might come across as the company had to drop you due to lack of work. In this case, you may receive unemployment compensation provided you pass all other eligibility criteria set by the state unemployment office.

  11. janet says:

    im self employed and my big acct is moving and will not need me anymore, can I collect unemployment? Thank yoe.

  12. Lauren says:

    I am moving over 60 miles from my job due to my husbands work. I only make 9.50 an hour with gas and babysitting with my two kids I would be losing money am I eligable for Unemployment?

  13. Mirthalice says:

    I’m 35weeks pregnant and I’m having difficulties with my pelvic and its muscles. Is very hard to move around and sit all day at work. The dr has put me in bed rest until the baby is born. Am I able to get unemployment ?!

  14. Lisa Starin says:

    I am a full time surgical technologist and due to the low census of the hospital, my hours have been cut considerably. I average at least eight and sometimes sixteen to eighteen hours cut per biweekly pay period. Am I eligible for unemployment compensation? I would take a second job, but with health care and surgery, set hours are almost nonexistent. Thank you in advance.

  15. Peter says:

    I lived and worked in Minnesota for a Wisconsin Company, a Senior Engineer. In October of 2010 the company closed the MN plant and relocated me to Milwaukee. I worked in the Milwaukee plant until Dec. 31, 2012 when I was let go. The Company had moved the Production Line to Mexico. I returned back to Minnesota, January of 2013.

    I had 27 weeks of severance pay due. That will end shortly. I’m currently living back in MN and do not plan on returning to Wisconsin for work. I will look for work in MN where I live. The question I have is; do I apply in WI or MN for UI if I cannot find work?

  16. Brenda says:

    Does the income earned to make a personal eligible for unemployment benefits need to be earned in Wisconsin, or are out of state earnings used for that calculation as well?

  17. lauren says:

    I’m on unemployment but working small part time hours and reporting all wages. I requested off 2 months prior for an event with family and my employer approved it as well as my witnessing her book it in our calender. She has now given me scheduled hours and the days I asked off are erased. Can she do that when I asked off before other coworkers and there is no deniority for non holiday requests? I feel she is using my unemployment against me to say I can’t refuse hours. Even though I was approved before anyone else

  18. Kathy says:

    I left my former employer of 1.5 years and accepted a job as a paid trainee for a firm. I am putting in more than the required time and meeting calendar expectations; however, my test scores may cause them to terminate me after just 4-5 weeks. Do I meet the eligibility requirements if this happens?

    • Admin says:

      If you have been an under performer, you might be able to receive benefits as the unemployment office believes that the no one works to under perform, but if the company is able to prove that there has been a breach in the contract from your end then you might not be eligible.

  19. Michael says:

    I’ve had the same job for over four years now and recently my girlfriend moved to be closer to her school and her job. I stayed because of my job but our relationship will end if I don’t move by her. Will I be eligible for unemployment if I quit my job because I have to move?? At least until I find a new job at my new home.

    Sincerely Michael.

  20. PB says:

    I was recently layed off from my job and have been collecting my unemployment, now I have to attend a class and will not be able to attend that specific day due to pregnancy, can I reschedule that day? will my benefits be affected by my pregnancy?

  21. KD says:

    I work in a non-medical capacity for a health care provider which is planning a merger. All indications are that the clerical staff in our organization perform functions already handled by existing employees at the other company which is based in another city. It’s possible that, when our positions are “transitioned”, there may be an offer of “comparable employment” (any other non-medical position because we are considered to be unskilled)which would require a half hour (or longer) commute. I understand that, if our positions are simply eliminated, we would be eligible for unemployment benefits. If we are offerred other positions at other locations with different duties/lower pay, would we forfeit unemployment benefits if we decline?

  22. Ying says:

    Hi, I have moved to a different city to work as a long term temp job (to hire), the company will slow down in January, by then I will be working for 6 months, there is a possibility of them letting go if workers. I am just worry since I have a place to pay under contract. Am i eligible for unemployment for 6 months of work?

  23. donna grudnowski says:

    I was injured on the job receiving long term disability for 2 years. After one year I received my lay off papers after two years I went back to work for 45 hrs. that job fell through there was no work for me I have worked for 35 years with no time off can I get unemployment?

  24. Tim N says:

    After being on unemployment for 11 months, I took a temporary job out of desperation. (The company was looking for 700 people for 2 months work)After 3 days of training, I realized that I could not do the job they had hired me to do and quit. I would only have made barely more than I was receiving on unemployment. Will I lose the remainder of my unemployment benefits?

  25. Susan Strobel says:

    I am currently employed full-time. Was moved to a new account in my full-time position to another full-time position; however, there is not enough work available for me to maintain an 8-hour day. What are my options?

  26. jamie says:

    Ive been at my job for just under a year. When hired I was hired as part time but working 35-38 hours a week. Recently I was steady at 28 hours (which I understand is part time) Also this ast Monday I started back at college and had to change my availability at work. I could still easily work 28 hours when I wasn’t in school. However after getting my schedule for next week, I’m only scheduled for 4.5 hours. Can i get benefits for this week that I’m only working 4.5 hours? And also if i left my job to finish school could I collect then? Thanks

  27. narvana says:

    I was wondering. My husband is in the army and will be getting out soon so we have to move back home, I work 27-33 hours a week (full time) as a house keeper when he gets relieved will I be able to apply for unemployment ? Were moving from ky back to wi …

  28. Marsha says:

    I have worked for a temp agency for 9 months I have recently moved to make this employment a 4 hour drive each day. I have done this for over a month. Will I be able to recieve benefits until I find a job in the city I moved to?

  29. Danielle says:

    I am an recovering addict and go to treatment daily which is why I am unable to work a full time job. I have been going for 2 years and now had a baby. Am I able to recieve disability benefits for myself or child? At treatment they make you go to classes and counciler appointments wait at the center for hours until you get your medication daily sometimes its 30 minutes others its 2 hours.

    • Jeffrey Becker says:

      You should get unemployment benefits since you’re not an addict and the double notion that you are not part of the status quo; due to government converting into bureaucracy.

    • josh says:

      You can talk to your care provider about recieving temporary disability benefits, I know I’ve had family members recieve it for mental health.

  30. miranda says:

    My dad has been working at a company since April 10, 2013.

    Originally, he was working just under 80 hrs per week. Recently, the compa y has decided to cut peoples hours and now he will be working 30 hrs per week.

    Would he qualify for unemployment?

  31. Jason says:

    I work for an outsourcing company. The company is not fully closed the day after Thanksgiving, however the clients that I work for are. I don’t have the option of coming in to work. We are told we either have to take the day unpaid, use PTO, or use a floating Holiday. Am I allowed to collect unemployment for this day?

  32. Jolene says:

    If I was terminated for sending an email home of my travel itinerary for my job, and told I did not handle a shoplifter correctly can I still get benefits?

    • cindy mitchell says:

      I was just approved for social security disability. I am currently receiving unemployment benefits. What do I do now?

  33. Maria S. says:

    My employer decided to leave me off the schedule this month and I have not worked since the end of Sept., however, they have not terminated my employment, nor will they return my phone calls. No reason given, (there is plenty of work) so I am left hanging and at a loss here as to why. Do I qualify for benefits?

  34. Tasha' G says:

    Hi. I was wondering how does unemployment affect my employer when I apply? If I get approved will they have to pay me directly from payroll or is there a fund that it is paid from?

  35. Michele says:

    I am currently receiving severance pay. Receiving two checks per month from my former employer. I have received conflicting info from my local unemployment office. First I was told yes you are eligible for unemployment benefits and yes you can collect while clearing severance pay. I waited several months unt I was looking for work and wanted to start collecting and the person on the phone told me no you can’t collect both. Why not ? I worked for 18 years, why do I have to wAit until my severance is over? One has nothing to do with the other. Please explain

  36. josh says:

    I am currently enrolled as a student and will continue to be until mar.24th.. My benefits are due to expire in december, someone told me that my benefits can’t be terminated as long as I am still a student, is this true?

  37. Dawn Lingo says:

    For the past 13 months I have been contracted to work in an interim position that will end on December 31.

    The permanent position was recently posted. If I do not apply for the permanent position, will I still qualify for unemployment because my contract ended?

    Thank you.

  38. ROtto says:

    On 9/9/2013 I quit my fulltime position to return to school. My prior supervisor wad aware of the was in agreement in March 2013 to allow me to change from FT to PT as I was available 28 hours weekly and eould of allowed my insurance to continue. The company did a restructue in June 2013 and the new supervisors denied my switch and put me as fill in status which stripped my health insurance and other benifits and gave me no quaranteed hours. I was scheduled 10-15 hours per week with no quarantee they would not switch and was not given any hours the last week of Sept. I guit do to those reasons…Is that a valid quit reason. And may I still apply even though its been 2 months since I quit?

  39. Sarah says:

    While receiving temporary disability through my job can I also apply for unemployment benefits? Temp. Disability only pays 1/3 of my original pay

  40. Rebecca says:

    A question came up in RES Group this morning. After what period of time can a claimant apply for the same job with the same employer? Ever? 4 weeks? Same job opening, same employer. Need rules clarification. Thanks!

  41. Kiley says:

    I work at a daycare and get schedule 40 hours a week but rarely ever work 40. I get sent home often which makes me lose hours. I come at 615am and often get sent home, not by choice, by 9am sometimes. Other days its 12 or 1. Can I collect unemployment for the rest of my 40 hours since I am being forced to leave and not refusing work?

  42. Sylvia says:

    I’m going to be fired tomorrow. Can my boss force me to stay and train my replacement? If I don’t stay, will that make me ineligible for benefits?

  43. Momma of 4 says:

    I was wondering if I have a temporary job that is ending, am I eligible to file for unemployment? I was hoping to get a permanent position or at least an extension, but no luck.

  44. sara d. says:

    hi. I am 6 months pregnant, when I first found out I asked my employer to temporarily reduce my hours, because I am high risk. I begged for my hours back after my first trimester, but he continously refused. on 11/15/13 he called me in and terminated me, he stated it just wasnt working out. any thoughts if I may be eligible for unemployment?

  45. crystal jo bonanno says:

    i worked three days for a company and got fired. the reason they gave me was i couldn’t perform the job after being trained for the three days. am i eligible for unemployment from this employer.

  46. Anita D says:

    I am working for an employer that only allows six days a year for illness. I am a single mom – I have a medical condition (brain bleed) that causes migraines. To date, I have taken 5 days off … after all of them, I have returned to work with doctor’s excuses – except for one when my 4 year old son was very sick with a stomach virus. I am most likely going to be terminated because I cannot miss another day between now and October 2014 or I will be terminated. Am I eligible to collect unemployment benefits under this scenario?

  47. Andy says:

    I work in MN and live in Wi. My employer is relocating and my commute increases by 24 miles each way making the commute very long. Am I eligible for benefits while i find work closer to home?

  48. Stephanie says:

    I have currently been working 40+ hours at my job for the last 3 years. I now hear I may loose hours. Can I file for unemployment if I loose some of my hours, and if so how much

  49. Jp says:

    I’ve been filing and calling for 9 weeks and still haven’t heard from an adjudicator. Nothing in the mail stating when I will be contacted by the adjudicator. Btw I’m eligible but a previous employer didn’t contact wi ue office. What’s the hold up??

    • Caroline says:

      I was offered a severance pkge of 4 months-I was also offered a much lower paying position with the same company (was making 19.25-they offered me another [position at 14.50-my job is being eliminated)-if, after 4 months I haven’t found a job, will I qualify for unemployemnt? & how much?

  50. john says:

    My girlfriend has taken employment in another state, I will have to quit my job to move with her.. Will I be eligible for benefits for quitting to move out of state and which state would/should I apply for benefits in?

  51. RFB says:

    My wife is my only employee and has been for close to 2 years.

    I have been paying 4% SUI on her wages. If I lay her off would she be eligable to file for unemployement.

    My company is an LLC soley owned by me and she is an employee.

  52. Stacy says:

    I am considered a full time employee.. i was given 32 hours of work for a week.. which is not enough to support myself and my family. Can i claim? I normally get 40 hours/week.

  53. Tammy says:

    My place of employment just had a major fire and a couple of us workers don’t know when we are able to go back to work. Can we collect unemployment?

  54. Tiff says:

    I was “laid off” from my job with possibility to come back, my employer called and said they were going to let me go perm. because they were going to hire someone part time ( I was full time) that could do my job and help with another position. She said she would send me a final email to put it in writing then calls back a week later saying she was told if she was hiring she has to take me back but can not offer me full time and she can not offer me my same pay, do I have to accept?

  55. Kristin says:

    I confronted a supervisor on being mistreated and went to HR the sane day to let them know I had done so. That day they wrote me up for something I did not do and I raised my voice during this discussion. The next day I received a voicemail saying I was fired. Will I not receive benefits because I raised my voice?

  56. Katie says:

    I am an RN with a 36hr/wk position. Due to low census we have been getting lots of mandatory low census days. This week I only work 13.5 hrs. Am I eligible to sign up for unemployment?

  57. pt says:

    My husband has been working for a company full-time for almost a year now. He felt he has been mistreated. He has complained 3 times to his supervisor and feels they aren’t listening to him. Also, he feels that he is being taken advantage of and has voiced his opinions about it to them yet feels they are not listening either. He is trying his best to put with them but has had enough. In a situation one one leaves a job due to unfairness and being mmistreated, is he elgiable? Thanks.

  58. Jade says:

    Hi there. My husband is currently self-employed, but recently, the business has been financially slowing down quite a bit and is unsure if the business will last. Will he be able to claim unemployment in the case if his business closes down? Thanks, I appreciate the help.

  59. Sharron says:

    If I am working part-time in TN and have to move to Wisconsin because my husband is in the military and being transferred, am I elegible for unemployment?

  60. James says:

    For all of you people asking if you’re eligible for unemployment for quitting, or because you need to move out of state otherwise your relationship will end, NO. YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE. Why would you even think that? Even most people who were fired for legitimate reasons are not eligible in most circumstances. Wisconsin is an at will state. That means you’re free to leave your job for any reason, and your employer is also free to fire you for any reason.

    “Wisconsin is an “employment-at-will” state, so the default contract of employment is “at will.” This means that both the employee and employer are generally free to terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, as long as the reason is not illegal or violative of public policy (e.g., discriminatory). While the presumption in favor of at-will employment is strong in Wisconsin, the courts have recognized exceptions in some circumstances.”

    Please do research and stop posting inane questions like “My commute is longer. I don’t like it. Am I eligible for unemployment?” because really, looking over the questions here, 90% of you are not eligible.

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