Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the daily number of initial applications filed for unemployment reached 21,250 Monday, according to data from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

The daily counts on Monday almost doubled from the 10,872 unemployment claims recorded the day before, according to DWD data. Compared to last year, the number rose by 14 times from 1,412 daily claims filed on the same day in 2019.

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According to the DWD webpage, the daily counts are not official but still preliminary. After the claims are processed and verified, the counts will be reported weekly to the United States Department of Labor. 

Last Tuesday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced a freeze on county hiring which was effective immediately. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the hiring freeze does not apply to roles critical to the ongoing county response to COVID-19, which include janitorial positions and sheriff deputies.

Other positions, according to WSJ, will be subject to an appeals process to help prioritize the most important positions for county operations.

“These are historic times,” Parisi said in an interview with WSJ. “We face a challenge unlike none we have experienced in this modern era.”

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According to the DWD webpage, Wisconsin unemployment benefits are available to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own.

If an employer shuts down operations and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for such benefits if they meet the monetary and weekly eligibility criteria.

Self-employed individuals, according to DWD, are not eligible for unemployment benefits at this time.  

Individuals can apply for unemployment benefits here on the DWD website. After submitting applications, individuals will receive a Claim Confirmation and Instructions form. If qualified, individuals will then receive a notice directly from the DWD regarding the amount of benefits they are eligible for. If they are not, a notice will also be sent out explaining the reasons.

After applying for benefits, individuals are also required to file a weekly claim for each week they want to receive an unemployment benefit payment, according to DWD.