Madison–State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance released the following statement:
Governor Evers declared a State of Emergency on March 12th. As of June 2, our DWD reported that 144,000 unique claimants were waiting to have their unemployment claims adjudicated. Governor Evers’ workforce agency has stated they think that this backlog will go on for months and that they are doing a great job.
“It has been nearly three months since this emergency began,” Rep. Nygren said. “I have constituents that have received no unemployment benefits since this began. It is way past time to think outside the box to get this backlog fixed. Gov. Evers still has no plan to address the backlog, so I am calling on him to take the following actions immediately.”
- The online unemployment filing tool is available seven days a week. Open your call centers seven days a week and extend call center hours.
- Evaluate the entire unemployment process with professionals to identify bottlenecks and wasted time in the processes. The state has a Continuous Improvement Program and trained employees in nearly every agency that could help with this effort. This is something that should have been done months ago.
- Legislative offices are receiving calls from constituents with minor issues that could be cleared up quickly. DWD should call employers to verify an employee’s separation instead of mailing verification forms to employers. DWD should call claimants with questionnaires instead of mailing them. It doesn’t take a new IT system to call or put together an online form.
- Post the backlog of claimants waiting to be processed. This will provide greater transparency and give the state a goal to eliminate the backlog and show progress.
This is the third instance that Rep. Nygren has offered suggestions on how to speed up the processing of UI claims. Each time, Gov. Evers and Secretary Frostman have ignored suggestions, which are based on feedback from actual UI claimants and the issues they are encountering with DWD. Since April 26, while Gov. Evers has ignored suggestions and done nothing to help Wisconsinites, the average number of days a claimant must wait for benefits has increased and over 3 million calls to the call center have been blocked or dropped.”
“There are tens of thousands of Wisconsinites waiting for the benefits they have earned,” Rep. Nygren. “It is time to quit blaming others or computers as Gov. Evers prefers to do at every turn instead of rolling up his sleeves and getting to work.”