Computing Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Weekly Benefits

Wisconsin State LogoUnemployment benefits in Wisconsin might not let you to maintain daily life you had while employed, but the benefits can help you remain economically solvent between jobs. Your benefit rate is based on your prior wages, with higher earnings resulting in highly weekly benefits. State laws set limits for both weekly benefits and total collective benefits, but federal funding might add to your total allotment.

After you are jobless in Wisconsin you must get in touch with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce office to collect unemployment benefits. Staff members at the department will assess your wages to decide the amount of unemployment benefits you are suitable to receive. Like most other states, Wisconsin has a minimum and a maximum benefit amount that unemployed workers can collect each week in spite of how much money they earned while they were employed.

The Maximum Amount of Unemployment Benefits in Wisconsin

Regarding weekly unemployment benefits, the highest amount obtainable in Wisconsin as of 2011 is $363. Generally, you may claim unemployment benefits for 26 weeks. Thus the highest amount of total benefits an unemployed person can collect in the state is $9,438. You could claim this sum over the span of a year if you opt-by not filling for benefits some weeks—but you can collect 26 payments.

Understanding Your Base Period

Your base period is a 12-month period before filing for unemployment. Dividing the year into fixed three-month quarters, Wisconsin describes the base period as first four of the five completed calendar quarters previous to a worker’s job loss.

In other words, if you filed for unemployment in the week of July 4, 2010, your base period would be from April 2009 till March 2010. Anything you made in the last complete quarter before the week you filed-which in this Instance is April through June 2010—does not add up toward the year-long total earnings employed to estimate your unemployment benefits.

Alternative Base Period (ABP)

If you do not have adequate wages to be eligible for a claim using the base period described above, an “alternate base period” will be employed. The alternate base period will be the 4 most recently completed calendar quarters prior to the week you filed your initial claim application for a new benefit year.

Extended Base Periods (EBP)

Wisconsin does not provide Extended Base period.

Determining Your High Quarter

Next, you need to work out your highest-paid quarter, or high quarter. This is basically defined as the quarter within your base period during which you made the maximum wages, adding up earnings from all work you had.

Remember that the quarters are set periods. You must not choose consecutive months randomly, but keep to calendar quarters: January through March, April through June, July through September and October through December.

Calculating Unemployment Benefits

Calculate Weekly Unemployment BenefitsThe key to deciding your eligibility for maximum unemployment benefits in Wisconsin is the sum of your earnings from recent work. In particular, the state matches your wages from your base period –the 1st four calendar quarters of the five most recently finished quarter before your claim.

While your total base period earnings decide your eligibility for benefits, the wages from your highest earning quarter decide your weekly benefit amount. The state takes 4% of your high-quarter earnings and sends you that sum each week. In order to obtain the maximum $363 weekly rate, you must have earned no less than $9075 in your high quarter.

When Wisconsin finds out how much to give you per week, it uses a formula mandated by state law. It employs the high-quarter method and computes the weekly benefit amount.

High Quarter Method: More than half of the states decide the weekly benefit amount by using the base period quarter in which wages were maximum. This quarter is viewed as the period most nearly reflecting full time work for the worker. By dividing this sum by 13 – the number of weeks in a calendar quarter – the average weekly wage is computed. Depending on the percentage of the weekly wage the state plans to replace, the weekly wage is divided and the weekly benefit sum is computed.

Formula for estimating weekly benefit amount

HQ (High Quarter Method)


Estimate your benefitsYou may be eligible for the weekly minimum benefit of $54 up to the maximum weekly rate if $363. 4% of your highest quarter wages during a qualifying employment base period decide benefit amounts.

The maximum benefit time limit for usual unemployment compensation is 26 weeks or when your benefits tire out 40%of your base period earnings, whichever is less.

The minimum WBR is $54, requiring high quarter earnings of $1,350; and the maximum WBR is $363, requiring high quarter earnings of $9,075.

Get an estimation of your Unemployment Insurance Weekly Benefit Rate should you become unemployed.

Covered and Excluded Employment

Covered employment is the work you carry out for an employer who is put through the unemployment insurance law. However, some work is “excluded” when performed for a covered employer. Only wages paid from covered employment can be employed to be eligible for unemployment benefits and to compute how much you can be paid.

Qualifying Wages

To meet the criteria for unemployment benefits you must have been paid wages from covered employment in no less than 2 quarters of your base period. You need:

  1. Sufficient wages in your high quarter to qualify for the minimum Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR);
  2. Wages in your 3 lowest quarters that equal at least 4 times your WBR when added together;
  3. Total base period wages equal to at least 35 times your WBR; and
  4. If you were paid benefits in a previous benefit year which has ended, you must have worked since the commencement of that benefit year and earned at least 8 times the WBR of that claim.

Computing Partial UI Benefits For a Weekly Claim

How Partial Benefits are CalculatedThe “partial wage formula” used to compute partial weekly UI benefits is shown below:

  1. Subtract $30.00 from the gross income.
  2. Multiply the remainder by 0.67 (67%).
  3. Subtract this new amount (including the cents) from your Weekly Benefit Rate.
  4. Round the remainder down to the nearest whole dollar. This is the amount of partial UI benefits payable for the week.

The smallest UI check that we will pay is $5.00, so if your computation results in a sum which is less than $5.00, no payment will be made.

Example: WBR=$200 Gross Income=$250

  1. $250.00 (Gross Income) minus $30 = $220.00
  2. $220.00 multiplied by 0.67 = $147.40
  3. $200.00 (WBR) minus $147.40 = $52.60
  4. Round $52.60 down to $52.00