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Backlog of unemployment claims subsides


MADISON (WSAU)   Wisconsin has almost eliminated its backlog for handling unemployment benefit claims. Last fall, the workforce development agency got behind on 9,300 requests for jobless benefits that were filed up to three months beforehand. But now, agency spokesman John Dipko says the backlog has been reduced to around 400 cases that are older than 45 days. The oldest ones were filed about February 4th. The cases involve those which must be reviewed by hand, instead of by the department’s automated system. Those are cases in which applicants under-reported their incomes, either on purpose or by mistake.

In other cases the state must make sure that recipients use up all their state benefits before getting federal extensions. They’re called “non-automated” cases – and there was a big increase in them last summer. The backlog was reduced by adding 35 limited-term employees to the workforce agency, while other agency employees were transferred to the effort.

The proposed state budget would cut 67 positions in the workforce development agency. But Dipko says none involve those who handle non-automated benefit claims.