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Record high unemployment, local frustration as DWD looks to serve claimants

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 12:11:32-04

MILWAUKEE — Nearly 15 percent of Americans are unemployed right now. It's a national record.

In Wisconsin, more than 500,000 people are seeking assistance with unemployment benefits as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

More than 28,000 people have filed in Wisconsin this week alone.

Shamicka Govan checks every day about unemployment benefits. The mother said she's struggling to keep up as the bills keep coming in.

“I check it daily. It’s just at a standstill," she said. “I’m knowing things will get better. I just gotta keep telling myself as for as that.”

Her help is her husband Toran, an airport employee recovering from COVID-19. Shamicka is filing on his behalf with no luck getting through.

“I filed for his unemployment, probably like, the second week of April. I haven’t heard anything it’s still pending," Govan said. “To me, it’s not working. I don’t know if they don’t have enough workers."

Toran is once of more than 527,000 people who have filed in Wisconsin.

The Department of Workforce Development said it plans to bring on hundreds of people to take on calls in the coming months.

"As of right now we’ve got about 100 people on the phones," said DWD secretary Caleb Frostman.

DWD plans to have a 500-person call center ready to go in the next four to six weeks.

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