Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to Phase Out Telephone-based Reporting System for Unemployment Insurance

Libraries May Experience Increased Use of Public Computers by Unemployment Claimants

Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development notified some stakeholders that they will be moving to an online only filing system for Unemployment Insurance – libraries will be necessary partners for these job seekers as many may be in need of internet and computer services to complete their weekly claims – please pass on to library stakeholders as you see fit. 

The Message distributed to legislators and others by the DWD is as follows (bold emphasis is mine):

logo for DWD, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

In the Spring of 2017 DWD will fully implement additional modernizations to further cement our Unemployment Insurance (UI) system as an efficient, 21st century online service delivery system that supports outstanding customer service and maximizes the value of reduced federal administrative funding for the UI program due to the improving Wisconsin economy.

With most unemployment claims already being filed through the state's fast, convenient and state-of-the-art online system, Wisconsin in spring 2017 will begin to phase out its 1990s-era automated telephone system. The state Department of Workforce Development (DWD), which oversees the state's unemployment system, will continue to operate telephone-based services to help UI claimants navigate online services and assist claimants with certain barriers in completing their claims.

Wisconsin is advising claimants and employers of these upcoming changes, which will provide four months of notification during the peak season for UI claims and allow claimants the opportunity to learn about and use our fast and convenient online services now.

DWD has long offered online filing services and in 2014 rolled out the first of several dramatic enhancements to its online UI system.  Today, three out of every four weekly claims are filed online (nearly 100% are able to be completed online) and three out of five initial claims are filed online (over 90% are able to be completed online). Online filing services offer several advantages over the automated telephone system, such as:
  • The ability to save work and conveniently finish a claim at a later time.
  • Options to view information entered for accuracy prior to submitting a claim.
  • Work search and wage entry screens to enter required data online, preventing potential payment delays associated with sending in the information by fax or mail.
  • Tips and answers to frequent questions during the filing process.

Additionally, customers can quickly and easily retrieve account information, such as:
  • Individual claim information, payment status and remaining benefit balance.
  • Printer-friendly documentation of payments received for housing or energy assistance.
  • 1099-G tax forms to view or print.
  • Personal information including the ability to update an address, tax withholding, payment method, and bank information.

DWD is collaborating with regional partners in encouraging claimants without a personal computer or mobile device to file at their local job center, library or other local center with online access. Wisconsin joins states such as Iowa in moving away from phone-based systems to file claims.

Information about the online filing system is available at this link. If you have questions about the change, the DWD provides an online email question form here

Post complied by John DeBacher, Public Library Development