The Marketplace radio show had an excellent feature on May 10th about the changes to unemployment that have occurred since the great recession:
Note: Hat tip to Democurmudgen for this story.
As with Andrew Stettner’s examination of this issue, the focus here is mostly on legal changes to shorten or reduce benefit eligibility.
But, as also obvious in the Marketplace piece, many states have, like Wisconsin, simply made it that much harder to even claim unemployment benefits in the first place. For instance, here are a few of the barriers that now exist in Wisconsin to filing an unemployment claim:
On-line only claims-filing
- In rural Wisconsin (and even suburban Wisconsin), on-line access is limited and mostly phone-based. So, folks need to fill in numerous forms and detailed information by pecking away on their phone keyboards.
- The on-line system is English-only.
- Claimants MUST create a job-seeking profile on the https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/ website.
- As part of this process, an English-only survey needs to be completed.
- As part of this process, a resume needs to be created. But, that resume needs to be typed in. Uploading a PDF of a resume is NOT allowed. Copying and pasting of resume sections is a possibility for some.
Attending job training events
- Claimants must travel and attend a seminar about searching for work that features the https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com website.
- Claimants must also travel and meet with a DWD jobs counselor about their job search efforts.
- For more than half of Wisconsin’s population, these trips require a drive of an hour or more.
In a state where broadband access to the Internet is universally acknowledged as limited, the barriers listed here are substantial. It is through these barriers that the state discourages folks from even applying in the first place.
To those that say these barriers are an exaggeration, please then point out all the efforts the Department has undertaken to advertise and explain this on-line filing process, to make it more accessible and easier to understand, and to remove the barriers to access (by having job counselors travel to claimants, for instance, rather than the other way around).