‘The system is all messed up': Concerns continue for Wisconsin’s outdated UI system

NOW: ‘The system is all messed up’: Concerns continue for Wisconsin’s outdated UI system

MILWAUKEE(CBS 58) – State lawmakers listened to testimony of people who have waited several months for their unemployment benefits at a committee hearing, highlighting the continuing concerns over the state’s outdated system.

While the Department of Workforce Development says it has made progress in the last few months, there are still many who are waiting, including Senequa Howard, who lost her job as a school bus driver in March of 2020.

I’m just hoping this issue gets resolved so that I can move on with my life and pay my bills,” Howard told CBS 58.

Howard said she is stuck in the appeals process after her initial claim was denied. DWD said they boosted staffing to deal with those types of cases. But for Howard, the changes are coming too late.

“The system is all messed up, basically. The system needs to be updated and correct,” Howard said.

In an informational presentation, DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said its system is in need of dramatic changes.

“While the collaboration with Google and the short-term IT solutions assist claimants and DWD staff alike, they do not constitute a long-term solution,” Pechacek said. “The only path to preventing and preparing for future crises like the one we’re working through now is a comprehensive modernization of our IT system.”

The Evers administration is asking the state Legislature for an initial investment of about $5 million to get started on updating the system. The full price tag of a complete modernization of the system is about $90 million over several years.

Evers is set to call for more funding for DWD when he announces his next state budget in February.

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