Republicans Again Call on Evers to Address UI Disaster


MADISON – Speaking at a press conference today on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) called on Governor Evers and his administration to take swift action to help the more than 100-thousand Wisconsinites who are awaiting delayed unemployment (UI) benefits.

“While no one could have predicted the impact COVID-19 would have on our livelihoods and our economy, my constituents are frankly fed up with the excuses from Governor Evers on why it is often taking months to process unemployment claims,” said Rep. Steineke. “That’s why I’m calling on the Evers administration to take swift action to deliver bridge-loans to those awaiting unemployment decisions to help ease the burden many families are facing.”

According to the latest data from nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, there are currently more than half a million weeks of claimed UI benefits awaiting decisions from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Even more staggering, since the start of COVID-19, the bureau reports that approximately 141,100 individuals are still awaiting judgement from DWD – many of whom have been waiting for assistance for weeks and even months.

Announced at today’s news conference, this proposal would allow the administration to provide funds to individuals waiting for their UI claims to be adjudicated. The temporary payments would provide financial relief while individuals await determinations from Gov. Evers’ DWD.

“With federal resources available and at his sole disposal, it’s long past time for the governor to utilize a portion of the federal CARES Act to assist these jobless individuals who are facing evictions or struggling to put food on their tables,” said Steineke. “Today’s proposal is a sensible step that Gov. Evers should immediately take to deliver meaningful relief for those forced with the hardship of joblessness.”

Prior to today’s news conference, legislative Republicans have called on Evers and DWD to open call centers seven days a week with expanded hours, pre-pay UI claims while a full review is conducted, and passed COVID-specific legislation to allow for the administration to shift additional state workers to assist departments in need.