The Brillion News
MADISON - State Representative John Nygren, R-Marinette, the coi-chair of the legislatures Joint Committee of Finance, said the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) needs to extend its hours immediately as citizens locked out of work by the state's COVID-19 orders closing "non-essntial" business continue to look for the unemployment insurance compensation they were promised.
"Secretary Frostman needs to extend call center hours until the last unemployment claim is settled. Other states like Michigan and California have done this, why can’t Wisconsin?" Nygren asked.
Nygren said citizens have told his office that they have been waiting over a month to speak with someone at DWD regarding their unemployment claims. Nygren called that "inexcusable.”
Three dozen Republican legislators recently sent a letter to DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman urging the agency to explore all options necessary to speed up the processing of Unemployment Insurance claims.
One option suggested was developing pre-approval procedures for certain Unemployment Insurance claims that have a high likelihood of approval, pending any reviews the Department may need to conduct.
Similar practices are done in Medicaid to allow vulnerable individuals to receive healthcare as expeditiously as possible. Due to action at the federal level, DWD is eligible for $18.9 million in federal administrative funds. This federal funding helps with administrative costs like responding to and fulfilling requests. The Governor’s $2 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund could also be used for this.
Additionally, the bill Governor Evers signed into law last month allows the transfer of state employees between agencies.
“As has been the case since day one, the Evers administration and his secretaries continue to flat out ignore input from the Legislative branch and the people of Wisconsin,” Nygren said.
Frostman, a Democrat, was appointed DWD secretary after losing a state senate election to Senator Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, in November of 2018.