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COVID - 19 Update: May 29

Friends and Neighbors,

Despite the warmer weather, COVID-19 is still here in Wisconsin. Because of this, I encourage you to continue social distancing as necessary, continue to wash your hands often, and limit unnecessary trips. These steps will help keep our parents, siblings, and compromised friends safe.

As always, please contact my office if you have any questions or concerns. Continue reading for updates on rental assistance, agriculture, state parks, and more.



Unemployment Update

As you may know, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has been overwhelmed by the number of claims being submitted and processed each week. During the week of May 11 DWD received 4.2 million calls related to unemployment insurance. Since March 15, they have received over 500,000 regular unemployment insurance applications, 2.2 million weekly claims, and 80,000 pandemic unemployment assistance applications. This is an unprecedented volume, even when comparing to the Great Recession.

DWD is working to bring an adjudication vendor and two call center vendors online to help with the number of claims filed. These centers are expected to be live next week. In addition, DWD has hired hundreds of staff and is bringing on a few hundred more in the coming weeks. They have also expanded the call center hours to be 7:00AM to 5:00PM. To read more on these efforts, click here.

I know that many of you are waiting for a resolution to your claim. If it has been at least three weeks since you submitted your application and you have not received your benefits, my office may be able to help you.

If your claim is "pending," that means there are eligibility issues that require further information or investigation. You do not need to take further action at this time unless the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) tells you otherwise.

If you are experiencing a different issue with your application, please email Rep.Considine@legis.wisconsin.gov with the following information:

  • Full name (First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name)
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of application for benefits
  • Date of birth
  • Email
  • Status of your application (filing initial application, in adjudication, etc)
  • Reason for inquiry

My office will send this information to DWD and request that they look into your case.


Haven't applied yet?

Due to the high volume of claims being submitted, you are encouraged to apply online whenever possible. To find more information on unemployment benefits or to file a claim, click here.


State Parks Update

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has made the following changes:

  • State park properties are now operating under the regular hours of 6:00AM-11:00PM every day. Properties will not be closed on Wednesdays.
  • Limited restrooms will reopen for public use on June 3.
  • All group, family and indoor group campsites will remain closed through Sunday, June 7. Activities after June 7 are still under review.

To read more, click here.

Rental Assistance Program

My office has heard directly from constituents about the financial difficulties COVID-19 is causing. This extreme financial strain is impacting bills and rent payments.

I have been advocating for my constituents in my conversations with colleagues, and have heard that their constituents are in similar situations. That is why I am proud to support Governor Tony Evers' rental assistance program. Using money from the Wisconsin COVID-19 Relief Fund, $25 million will be invested towards rental assistance. This is a meaningful way to support one another in our fight against COVID-19.

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To apply, contact the following organization based on which county you live in:

Central Wisconsin CAC, Inc.
Counties Served: Columbia, Sauk
Phone: (608) 254-8353

Community Action for
South Central Wisconsin, Inc.
Counties Served: Dane
Phone: (608) 237-1255

Southwest CAP
Counties Served: Iowa
Phone: (608) 935-2326 Ext. 203

For more information on this progam, click here.


Agricultural Resources

On May 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The program provides financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered at least a five-percent price decline due to COVID-19, and who face substantial marketing costs for inventories.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses on May 26. Producers of all eligible commodities should apply through their local FSA office. Specific summaries about the information you will need in order to apply is available here. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020.

USDA has outlined the specific agricultural products that are eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments. The full list of products -- including livestock, dairy, non-specialty crops, wool, and specialty crops -- is available here.

To read more about the program and eligibility requirements, you may click here.


On May 20, Gov. Evers announced two new programs to support agricultural producers in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Farm Support Program will provide $50 million in direct payments to Wisconsin farmers. Eligible farmers will be asked to apply for the Farm Support Program through the Department of Revenue (DOR), and payments could begin as early as June. Those interested in applying for the assistance can sign-up for email updates to stay informed on the program. The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and DOR are working on eligibility rules now and expect to announce details within the coming week. To sign up for email updates on this program, click here.

The Food Security Initiative will commit $15 million to combat hunger in Wisconsin. A portion of the funding will go toward helping food banks, pantries, and other nonprofit organizations fight food insecurity posed by the COVID-19 public health crisis by connecting Wisconsin agricultural products with local consumers in need.


Division of Extension is producing updates that may be useful to you. One of the recent publications is about staying safe from COVID-19 on the farm. It acknowledges the unique benefits and risks that come with being a producer. I encourage you to read it.
Staying Safe in the Cab During the COVID-19 Pandemic


DATCP and the Wisconsin Grocers Association wrote an article about how COVID-19 is changing and interrupting the food supply chain. You can read that here:
Shop locally, shop responsibly during COVID-19

Routes to Recovery: Local Government Aid Grants

This Local Government Aid Grant program will help local governments in rural, urban, and tribal communities that have had unanticipated expenses in the battle against COVID-19. This program will utilize $200 million from the Wisconsin COVID-19 Relief Fund, ensuring each local government receives funds. The amount each receives is based on population, but no less than $5,000 will be provided to any local government.

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To read more on this program, click here.


COVID-19 Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

State Government Website on COVID-19

Columbia County, Dane County, Iowa County, and Sauk County websites.

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I encourage you to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns during this time. It is important to me to hear from you on issues at the state level.