The state Department of Workforce Development says that it has cleared its entire backlog of unemployment claims.
In a Wednesday morning press release, Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said the agency had reached its goal to clear the backlog of claims. DWD said nearly 100,000 residents had pending unemployment insurance claims in September, number that had been reduced this week to 22,100 who’d waited at least three weeks for a decision on their original claim.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our top priority at DWD has been ensuring that all eligible unemployment claims in Wisconsin are paid as quickly as possible,” Pechacek said. “Today, I am proud to say we have reached our goal to clear the backlog of claims. The tireless work of DWD staff has made it possible for UI to resume its seasonal level of timeliness in January. I look forward to implementing further enhancements to our UI processes to continue to improve services to Wisconsinites who are out of work through no fault of their own.”
DWD is also taking measures to address a backlog of some 15,000 appeals for people who have had initial applications denied.
At least one legislative leader was skeptical about the progress. Incoming state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said clearing the claims backlog is “completely disingenuous.”
Sen. LeMahieu also hinted that DWD Sec. Amy Pechacek might not get confirmed by the full Senate.
“If this is what we can expect from Evers’ new political appointee, it will be difficult to gain consensus towards confirming her.” – @SenatorDevin https://t.co/fOpub4T270
— Emilee Fannon (@Emilee_WKOW) December 30, 2020
LeMahieu also hinted that Pechacek – who’s been serving as transition lead for DWD since Governor Tony Evers requested the resignation of Caleb Frostman in September – may not get Senate confirmation.