Unemployment Office

The unemployment insurance (UI) program is available through the state of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The UI program provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who are unemployed and having difficult in their search for employment.



Firstly, you must be unemployed due to no fault of your own, and you must be in the process of searching for employment. You must also be willing to work, physically able to work, and available to take on any opportunity that is suited to your job skill set. Likewise, you can receive partial UI benefits if you are currently working part-time. In this case, you must be earning less than your weekly benefit amount in order to remain eligible for UI benefits.

Monetary Eligibility Requirement

This requirement has been established to ensure that you have earned enough wages in your “base period” to qualify for UI benefits. The base period consists of 12-months, and it is determined by taking the first four quarters out of the last five completed quarters of the calendar year. Thus, the wages earned in the fifth quarter do not count; it is considered the “lag” quarter. The base period is used to determine your weekly and maximum benefit amounts. In specific, your weekly benefit amount will be four percent of the most wages earned in one quarter, which is known as your “high quarter.” Moreover, the wages from the three other quarters must be equal to four times your weekly benefit rate. In another way, it can be said that the total wages from all four quarters must be equal to 35 times your weekly benefit amount.


In the state of Wisconsin, the maximum amount of UI benefits that you can receive is $363 per week; however, you must have earned at least $9000 in your base period. On the other hand, the minimum amount that you can receive in UI benefits is $54 per week, but you must have earned at least $1350 in your base period. Furthermore, you can obtain up to 26 payments of UI benefits in one benefit year, which is defined as a 52-week period. In this period, a maximum of 40 percent of your total wages from your base period can be paid to you in the form of UI benefits. You will receive your payments through a prepaid VISA debit card, which is provided to you by the U.S. Bank. However, you must pass a mandatory one-week waiting period before you can begin receiving payments to your debit card.

How to File a Claim

The fastest way to apply for UI benefit is online. You can also submit a claim by telephone, but you will need to find the contact for your region. You will need the following information to file your UI claim:

  • Social Security Number, address, and telephone number
  • Driver’s license or identification card
  • Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
  • The dates of employment and reasons for separation from all positions mentioned
  • Alien registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • Address and phone number of local union hall if you are a union member

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Department of Workforce Development 201 E Washington Ave Madison, WI 53703 (608) 266-3131 View Website Unemployement Claim File