Strive Tax, CPA, Small Business, Green Bay, Appleton
Updated 4/14/2020

UPDATE: Wisconsin Unemployment Payments


Unemployment benefits have traditionally been available only to those who work for an employer and lose a job through no fault of their own.

However, self-employed workers - including independent contractors, sole proprietors and gig workers - who have been dealing with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and business owners who operate as an S corporation might also qualify for unemployment benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Wisconsin plans to start taking applications the week of April 21, 2020

PUA provides up to 39 weeks of temporary income (unemployment benefits) to individuals who are unemployed as a result of the novel COVID-19 pandemic and are either self-employed, do not have sufficient work history to be eligible for a claim, or have exhausted other forms of unemployment insurance benefits. It is funded by the federal government, not by state unemployment taxes paid by employers.

  • Available To Self-employed/Independent Contractors/1099 filers/Farmers who are affected by COVID-19


  • Payment Amount:

    • Minimum weekly benefit amount: $163

    • Maximum weekly benefit amount: $370

  • Benefit Amount:

    • Based on 1% ​of 2019 net income; subject to payment minimum and maximum


  • First Payable Week:

    • Retroactive to week ending February 8, 2020 (or the first week after an individual is out of work due to COVID-19, whichever is later)


  • Last Payable Week:
    • Week Ending December 26, 2020


  • Eligibility

    • For purposes of PUA eligibility, an individual is deemed to have exhausted benefits when:  

      • no payments of regular unemployment may be made under state law because such individual has received all available regular unemployment based on employment or wages during such individual’s base period; or

      • the individual’s right to such regular unemployment has been terminated by reason of the expiration of the benefit year with respect to which such rights existed (excluding any benefit year that ended before July 1, 2019)


  • Information will be provided on how to apply for PUA when it becomes available

PUA Update


Some websites say they will figure out your unemployment benefits or file a claim for you. However, the only place you can get a definitive answer or file for benefits is on your state unemployment website. ​Avoid getting scammed, and do not give personal information to a third-party website.


Applying for Benefits

  • If you've applied for regular unemployment, you must wait for a determination on your eligibility for those benefits.

    • Once you are denied then you may apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Calculation of Benefits

  • Your weekly benefit rate (WBR) will be based on UI law and is calculated using your gross wages. If you are self-employed, your WBR will be based on your net earnings from self-employment. If your earnings qualify you for less than 1/2 the average payment for a full week of regular unemployment benefits, your WBR will be increased to 1/2 the state average UI payment.

  • PUA benefits will be calculated the same way as they are for the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance program (under the Stafford Act)

  • Your PUA weekly benefit will be based on regular unemployment law and will not be less than half of the average payment for a full week of regular unemployment.  

  • The weekly benefit amount (WBA) will be based on the gross wages of the individual. If the individual is self-employed, the weekly benefit amount will be based on the net earnings (income) from self employment. Generally, benefits are calculated using the same formula used for state unemployment benefits; however, if the individual qualifies for less than 50 percent of the state average unemployment WBA, the WBA will be increased to 50 percent of the state’s average WBA, with certain exceptions for part-time workers.

Information You'll Need to Apply

  • Social Security Number


  • Wisconsin Driver's License


  • A list of all employers you worked for in the past 18 months

    • (including their addresses, phone numbers and the dates you began and last worked for them)


  • Those who don't monetarily qualify for regular unemployment will need proof of wages/self-employment from the most recent tax year


  • Self-employed individuals will need to provide proof of self-employment income see below


  • Farmers will need to report # of acres, # of acres in CRP, # of livestock, # of livestock sold due to COVID-19 pandemic, # of cows being milked.

Proof of Employment and/or Self-Employment

  • Proof of employment and/or self-employment is required.

  • If proof of employment cannot be provided at the time the claim is filed, individuals have 21 calendar days from the time the claim was filed to meet this requirement


  • Acceptable proof of self-employment or wages may include the previous year's tax returns, bank statements, financial statement, pay checks and stubs.

  • Failure to provide adequate proof of employment will result in your being denied and ineligible, any benefits already paid will be considered overpaid and required to be repaid.

Weekly Claims

  • Weekly claims cannot be filed until eligibility has been determined. A link for filing weekly claims will be offered if you are determined eligible.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

Wisconsin plans to start making these payments the week of April 26, 2020


These payments are automatic, DO NOT APPLY


FPUC is a temporary emergency increase of $600 per week in unemployment benefits.


  • Payment Amount:

    • $600 per week and is automatically added to benefit payments

      • ​If the individual is eligible to receive at least one dollar ($1) of underlying benefits for the claimed week, the claimant will receive the full $600 FPUC  


  • First Payable Week:

    • Retroactive to week ending April 4, 2020 


  • Last Payable Week:

    • Week ending July 25, 2020 


  • Other Information:
    • ​Individuals whose underlying benefit payments are intercepted to pay debts are eligible for the $600 payment, even if 100% of their weekly benefit amount is intercepted
    • Child support obligations must be deducted from payments in the same manner and to the same extent as these obligations are deducted from regular unemployment

  • An individual is not entitled to receive FPUC for a week in which the individual is ineligible for regular UC or the underlying benefit from another federal program​​ 

See more FPUC frequently asked questions 

Go To COVID-19 Index




Strive Tax & Accounting, LLC reminds readers that the information which is summarized herein is for general and informational purposes only, it is not legal advice. It does not take into account your specific circumstances and should not be acted on without full understanding of your current situation and future goals and objectives by a fully qualified financial advisor. In doing so you risk making commitment to a product and/or strategy that may not be suitable to your needs.


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