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DWD: New PEUC Benefits Set To Be Available By First Week Of March

Officials Didn't Speak To Timeline For New PUA Benefits

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Angela Major/WPR

The state Department of Workforce Development expects to have one new federal unemployment benefit program up and running by the beginning of March.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program extends the amount of time someone can claim unemployment insurance. In the second round of federal coronavirus relief, Congress granted recipients an extra 11 weeks of benefits under the program.

Neeraj Kulkarni, director of DWD’s Bureau of Information Technology, said in a legislative committee hearing Wednesday afternoon that the department expects to have PEUC benefits available to unemployment recipients in the first week of March, “as of our current estimates.”

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The comments came in response to questions from state Sen. Andre Jacques, R-DePere, about why Wisconsin lagged behind some other states in deploying the latest PEUC benefits.

Kulkarni didn’t share a timeline for when new benefits under another federal program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), would be available. That program extends unemployment benefits to those not typically covered by the unemployment system, like self-employed people and contract workers.

Congress similarly granted an extra 11 weeks of benefits to recipients in the PUA program in the latest round of coronavirus relief.