An unemployment extension approved last year won't be available in Wisconsin until at least March, according to state officials.
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In a Senate Committee on Economic and Workforce Development hearing Wednesday, the Department of Workforce Development said they would not have its system for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, set up until the first week of March.
"As of our current estimates, we are planning to have our PUEC sometime in the first week of March," said Neeraj Kulkarni, DWD Chief Information Officer. "Our programming has already started."
The department says the delays are due to the state's outdated IT system. The code dates back to the 1970s.
"Any changes have a cascading impact throughout the 8.6 million lines of code that we have to account for," Kulkarni said.
Kulkarni told lawmakers they also have to do extensive testing to make sure it's accurate.
"We also have to make sure our payments are accurate when they're calculated, and all that is taking time," Kulkarni said.
Under the Continued Assistance Act of 2020 signed by then-President Donald Trump in December, regular unemployment recipients could receive 11 more weeks of PEUC extended benefits, for a total of 24 weeks.
On their website, the department writes:
"The Continued Assistance Act of 2020 has been signed. We are working as quickly as we can to review the new program requirements and implementation of the extensions. There will be programming that needs to take place before we can implement the changes. Please check our websites often for the most up-to-date information available."