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DWD rule extends work-search waiver for unemployment benefits

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development issued an emergency rule on Thursday that continues to waive a rule requiring that unemployed people apply for jobs while they are receiving public assistance.

The DWD’s emergency rule, which it published Thursday, puts a halt to a rule calling on unemployment recipients to report four work-search attempts to the department each week. The rule extends a ban that was first enacted last spring amid the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Department recognizes that the work search requirement carries a significant burden on claimants when many businesses remain closed and job opportunities in certain sectors are still limited in response to the ongoing health and safety impacts of the global pandemic,” according to a news release.

By last week, the DWD had received 117,123 claims for regular state unemployment benefits, 25,005 claims for federal pandemic unemployment aid and 31,936 weekly claims for federal pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.

In each of these cases, the claimants would have been required to report their work search activities weekly had the state not had its waiver in place. The emergency rule also relaxes public-assistance criteria for people who cannot work for reasons related to the coronavirus, such as being quarantined.


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