ICYMI: Over 16,000 Unemployment Claims Stuck in Appeals Backlog

18 Months Into COVID-19, Tony Evers Refuses Accountability or Action on Unemployment Claims Disaster

[Madison, WI] – In case you missed it, 18 months into COVID-19, Tony Evers is still failing to deliver Wisconsinites the unemployment benefits that they were promised. For months, reports have revealed the extent of the Wisconsin DWD’s failures under Evers’ leadership — including the Legislative Audit Bureau report showing that only 10 percent of unemployment appeals have been decided within a month.

Meanwhile, Tony Evers continues to mislead the public as his administration purports that they have “cleared the backlog of claims,” yet over 16,000 Wisconsinites are still waiting for their appeals to be adjudicated. Instead of helping the Wisconsinites whose jobs he helped crush by implementing costly lockdowns, Tony Evers continues to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist as he even ignores requests for information from elected officials.

The fact that Tony Evers still continues to point fingers and do nothing to resolve this crisis reveals his complete disregard for the Wisconsinites who are suffering as a direct result of his mismanagement. 

Read more from CBS 58 below:

Thousands stuck in unemployment appeals backlog
CBS 58
Kristen Barbaresi
September 16, 2021

A year and a half into the pandemic and Wisconsin’s unemployment system is still struggling to keep up.

Tens of thousands of people in Wisconsin are stuck in a backlog of appeals. Clint Marks is one of them. He just opened his own business, in part because he had to.

“I borrowed money to lease a shop to get moving,” Marks said.

He lost his job in November and filed for unemployment. He got benefits until March, when he was told an adjudicator had to review his case.

“Thirteen weeks later, an adjudicator, and says you’ve got seven days to get a hold of us to explain why you got discharged from your job,” Marks said.

Marks says he called the adjudicator back and left multiple messages.

“I get a letter in the mail a week later saying it was denied because I didn’t reach out to them,” Marks said. “I feel wronged because to this day I haven’t been able to explain my half of the story.”

So Marks filed an appeal and opened his car detailing shop to make ends meet.

“Bills are stacking up, luckily I had family that was able to help me out,” Marks said. “I had to borrow money to pay essential bills, keep a roof over my head.”

It’s been three months and he’s still waiting for a hearing to be scheduled, and he isn’t alone. Right now 16,410 people are waiting for an appeal, and only about 2,600 of them have a hearing date scheduled.

Nicholas Yurk, an unemployment attorney at Alan C. Olson & Associates, says that backlog also includes people who received benefits but now are told they got too much money and have to pay it back.


The average wait for an appeal is 55 days, pre-pandemic it was about 12 days. According to a report from the Legislative Audit Bureau, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development did not comply with federal regulations from June 2020 through May 2021. Those regulations require states to issue appeal hearing decisions for 80 percent of appeals within 45 days. In May of 2021, DWD reported 17.5 percent decided within 45 days.


“This is the first time I tried to get unemployment and it failed me,” said Kyle Crowdis, who applied for unemployment 65 days ago and hasn’t heard back. He’s concerned if he’s denied, he’ll have to start waiting all over again for an appeal.

“I can’t pay rent, it’s unfortunate,” Crowdis said. “I can’t make excuses, I have to borrow money.”