Tip Line: 414-777-5808 | newsdesk@cbs58.com

Unemployment claims skyrocket, Wisconsinites await benefits

NOW: Unemployment claims skyrocket, Wisconsinites await benefits


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Niko Vera now spends more time at the park and working side jobs to make ends meet.

He got unlucky making a career move.

"I quit my job, probably a week before the lockdown started, and had two interviews that day,” Vera said.

He did get a job offer, but it was disrupted by the pandemic.

"The start date got pushed back to an undefined time.”

Now he’s starting the process of filing unemployment. But about 17 million Americans, like bartender Angela Vazquez,  are ahead of him, according to data released Friday.

“On St. Patrick’s Day is when we got the letter from City Hall that we were closing down.” 

She got on the phone right away, but hasn’t gotten a dime from the state.

She worries it’s because she wasn’t laid off, but her employer hasn’t given her hours in weeks. They worried she could have COVID-19, and she's been in quarantine.

“First week was a waiting week," Vazquez said. "I applied the next week. That one’s in review. I applied the week after, and that one's on hold from the week before.”

Between March 15 and April 6, the total number of new applications submitted for unemployment benefits in Wisconsin was 313,068, with weekly claims reaching 589,616. The total amount in unemployment benefits distributed equaled $68,759,104.

By comparison, during the same period in 2019, the total number of new applications paled in comparison, 17,748, with weekly claims of 155,148. The total amount of unemployment benefits during this period was $39,597,111.

Emily Savard with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says the volume of requests is making reviews of cases like Vazquez's take longer.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before," Savard said. "Even during the Great Recession we didn’t come anywhere near these numbers, because that was more of a gradual increase in unemployment."

Savard says the state is currently trying to implement the federal stimulus package, which would add $600 a week to unemployment benefits, and provide relief for some who don’t normally qualify for benefits.

Gov. Tony Evers said he would like to waive the one-week waiting period to receive benefits in Wisconsin. Republican leaders in the state legislature said they are open to that plan, but it is currently being held up in the political battle over a broad state relief plan.

Share this article:
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Post a comment
DawnMoneyhan 50 days ago
Yes, I trolled some posts with a news story link. It explains what is going on behind closed doors that is holding up the unemployment benefits. I encourage EVERYONE to blow up Fitzgerald & Vos's phones and tell them to knock it off! They are the 2 leading the charge and digging in, again. Call them every day you don't get your benefits! Leave them messages. Vent on the phone to them instead of or alongside of the internet. Go to their facebook pages and vent there, too.

And remember... Fitzgerald is running for federal office. He wants our Wisconsin Senate seat really bad. Remember this when you see his name on that ballot. Don't reward him for making you and everyone else suffer!! Send Fitzgerald and Vos to the unemployment line, let them learn 1st hand what it feels like!
Candy 51 days ago
Why doesn't our Governor make an executive order waiving the week of unemployment. This is the time we need our government to stand up for us. My husband got laid off due to this pandemic and we are affected by losing that week of pay. None of us have seen the extra federal funds either. All of us that have loss our income need our government to get their head out of their political stuff and work for us not them.
DawnMoneyhan Candy 50 days ago
Fitzgerald & Vos are playing their control games again. Call them and tell them to knock it off.
KierstenGruen 51 days ago
Its frustrating knowing that they have received the extra money as part of the relief package, yet no one in the state, currently getting unemployment, has gotten the extra 600 a week yet. Other states have started paying their people, but Wisconsin is just sitting on that money right now, and people are falling further behind on bills and such. Sure would be nice to be given an idea of when we will start seeing the extra. If other states can make it happen, I don't see why ours can't!
This should explain it. Call Fitzgerald & Vos and tell them to knock it off.

Ncable2359 52 days ago
What are suppose to tell our debtors wait until unemployment kicks in or when the government decides to let us have the money we pay in every year for taxes and such to realize we are drowning
DawnMoneyhan Ncable2359 50 days ago
Tell them to call Fitzgerald & Vos!

jason 54 days ago
While state legislators and politicians bicker about topics, we who have lost our jobs and income in Wi suffer. We pay tax and support our country and when time comes for some deserved help we get nothing. Our rent and monthly debts are still due and interest still accrues. We as working citizens are expected to pay the piper without having our unemployment benefits / or our CARES act funds. Wisconsin state government please stop wasting time and help US!
sickofitall jason 54 days ago
Thank you! I'm so sick of hearing that they're fighting over who gets to win the barter war with budget cuts that line their pockets while I struggle to keep the lights on. My bills aren't getting any smaller while they bicker over which ego gets the upper hand. And don't tell me they "understand what we're going through," because they are still making full wages while hemming and hawing.
You nailed it! Blow up their phones!! This is Fitzgerald & Vos at it again. And people need to watch for Fitzgerald on the ballot. He's running for the Senate (federal). We need to make sure he doesn't get THAT job or the damage he will do will make this look like nothing. We need to make sure he isn't rewarded for leading this charge! Both of them should be sitting in the unemployment line right alongside of everyone else!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?