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Report: State eliminates nearly half of backlogged jobless benefit claims

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin has eliminated about half of the state’s backlog for handling unemployment benefit claims.

The workforce development agency tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that 4,700 requests for jobless benefits filed before December 10th are still waiting to be processed. That’s just over half the backlog of 9,300 cases from last October.

There was a big increase last fall in the numbers of claims that had to be reviewed by hand for various reasons – and those applicants were waiting for months to get their first benefit checks.

The state has since added over 30 part-time employees to process claims – and they’re chipping away at the remainder of the backlog. Those are cases in which applicants under-reported their incomes, either on purpose or by mistake.

Officials say the most complicated cases take hours to handle – and in other cases, the state must make sure that recipients exhaust their state benefits before getting federal extensions. 

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