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‘I got nothing left’: Wisconsin’s jobless pushed to brink as ideas swirl for mending torn safety net

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Posted at 11:29 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 12:29:26-05

Brandon Cacek filed for unemployment insurance in mid-March last year after losing his substitute teaching job due to the pandemic. He’s still waiting for that crucial aid 11 months later.

“I keep leaving out hope that I'm going to get some kind of assistance through this,” said Cacek, 40, a Marine Corps veteran and father of two in Marinette, Wisconsin. “But the longer this goes on the less hope that lingers.”

Nearly every person who has reviewed Cacek’s case has found no reason to deny him compensation, he said. That includes an administrative law judge who ruled on Dec. 28 that Cacek qualifies for benefits dating to March 5.

But Cacek remains stuck on an obstacle course that has kept thousands of Wisconsinites from quickly receiving compensation after losing work as the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development wades through a record number of claims during the pandemic.

“I'm seriously not in a position financially for any further delays,” Cacek said. “I'm losing all credibility with my creditors. I got nothing left.”

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