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Wisconsin DWD Begins Issuing $300 Unemployment Supplement

Payments Start Nearly 3 Weeks After Additional Benefits Became Law

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

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced Friday it has started issuing a $300 unemployment insurance supplement, according to a press release from the agency.

The announcement comes close to three weeks after President Donald Trump signed the new benefits into law as part of the second round of federal coronavirus relief.

The supplement, known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), adds $300 a week onto an unemployment recipient’s state-level benefits. In Wisconsin, state-level unemployment benefits average about $290 a week and max out at $370.

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“DWD staff have worked diligently to rapidly code, test and implement the FPUC extension …” DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek said in a statement Friday. “More assistance is needed to help the workers who have bore the brunt of the COVID pandemic, but I am happy that we are able to provide this much needed benefit in a timely manner.”

In a previous iteration of the program passed under the first round of federal coronavirus aid, the supplement was $600 a week. Lawmakers in Congress from both parties settled on $300 a week in the latest iteration as part of a compromise package.

But in an address to the nation Thursday night, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus “rescue package” he aims to pass in the coming weeks after he takes office. As part of the plan, Biden is calling to increase the unemployment supplement to $400 a week and extend enhanced benefits through September.

The three-week lag in getting FPUC payments out to recipients means that many unemployment recipients are owed $300 back-payments for each week the program was payable but the department hadn’t finished setting it up. According to a note on DWD’s website, the department plans to issue that back-pay to recipients during the week ending Jan. 23.

According to DWD, the last week the $300 supplement will be payable in Wisconsin is the week ending March 13.

DWD continues its work to set up new benefits made available under two other unemployment programs — Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), for workers not typically eligible for unemployment like self-employed and contract workers, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extends the amount of time someone can receive unemployment. In the latest coronavirus relief package, eligible recipients were granted 11 additional weeks of benefits under both programs.

As of Monday, DWD said it was unable to share a timeline for when those benefits would be made available to out-of-work Wisconsinites.