Denying UI to the disabled makes no sense

A time out for some politics.

Last week, the Dems introduced a bunch of proposals for peeling back some of the changes Walker had had made to unemployment, including an end to the ban on unemployment benefits for SSDI recipients.

As noted here previously, around 158,000 SSDI recipients work in some way in Wisconsin. As a result, one out of every twenty workers in this state is a disabled worker receiving SSDI benefits. This statement is not a mistake. One out of every twenty workers in this state is receiving SSDI benefits.

So, this ban is sucking money out of the recovery for one out of every twenty workers in this state. No wonder the UI trust fund did so well under Walker. One out of twenty workers is barred from ever collecting unemployment benefits no matter what happens to them.

And, this ban completely undercuts the whole of an unemployment system that is supposed to provide economic stimulus and support when times get tough. It makes no sense from any perspective except that of a greedy banker.


Yet, the Republican reaction to the Dem proposals was that these changes would somehow undercut the “economic success” of the last decade. Really? What economic success? The numbers for Wisconsin and the mid-west in general have been just awful. But for Dane County, Wisconsin has been losing jobs on the whole for the last several years. And, rural Wisconsin has been dying a slow death under these policies.

Ken Lonnquist has a column in the Isthmus about this idiocy:

These statements from Vos and Walker demonstrate ignorance, indifference, and even cruelty toward Wisconsin workers with disabilities. COVID-19 threw millions of people out of work, but it’s the Wisconsin Legislature that is throwing people with disabilities to the wolves.

Dealing with COVID-19 is hard enough for people with disabilities. Why deny these residents who lose their jobs the pandemic assistance that other workers are receiving? Why deny the Wisconsin economy the significant cash infusion this would bring?

Since mid-March, I’ve done a Facebook Live half-hour show for kids and families every weekday morning. It helps keep me in practice, entertains folks of all ages, and offers a resource to teachers seeking topics and themes for virtual study-units.

It gives me a little semblance of normalcy, and makes me feel like I’m doing something positive as we all endure this pandemic.

Our Legislature needs to do something positive, too.

If Republicans are serious about fixing the unemployment, they need to get the Legislature in session NOW and fix the UI system. Yes, DWD is not helping matters. For some reason DWD is still following the agenda of the previous administration. But, fixing some of the legal mistakes of the past should be a no-brainer.

6 thoughts on “Denying UI to the disabled makes no sense

  1. Many thanks for all you are doing to help disabled workers in our state. I am one of them . I was denied regular unemployment back in March while quarantined for covid virus. I applied for pua on April 21st and have been ignored by the State of Wisconsin and all politicians that i have reached out to for help. I applaud your efforts.

  2. Hi Victor. I would love to have a discussion about substantial fault with you one of these days. I don’t fall on either side of the fence politically, I came from a camp of logic and tend to find all proposals absolute garbage, aside from the SSDI change of course. That is a given and should never have been inked to begin with. Thanks so much for all of the education you put out into space. THIS is what people need!

  3. I do not think that Robin Vos is informed as to the definition of fraud. If he was, he would realize how absurd his statements are concerning SSDI. He is clearly ignorant and misinformed. I have no doubt the court will find this ban against the disabled unconstitutional.

  4. I have really learned how “political” this whole mess has become. I am in my 17th week of unemployment, I am on SSDI and I had UI paid for by my Employer on my behalf, but because of Wisconsin Law, was denied. I filed an appeal, but that got me nowhere. I contacted two Representatives (Republican) and was told that unless State Law was changed they could do nothing about it and that the next Legislative session wasn’t until January 2021. I contacted a (Democrat) Representative and they are currently working with the DOL on my behalf to get answers to this whole mess. I paid into Social Security for over 42 years and was thankful that SSDI was available when I needed it, but I never knew that I would be penalized like this! The definition and guidance given by the DOL in regard to PUA should at the very least be implemented to make up where our State Law is “lacking”, but no, our State even complicated that! Even with an “unfair” unemployment law also, North Carolina at least got PUA figured out! It is amazing that we are the only state in the country doing this. I am thankful to all the work anyone is doing to get this figured out…

  5. Well, looks like a new update in the FAQ for PUA eligibility in the DWD portal… Fingers crossed we can really use this money

    An individual cannot receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments and unemployment benefits concurrently (See s. 108.04(12)(f), Wis. Stats.) If an individual is receiving SSDI, they must report this information on their initial claim and weekly claim certifications. State law is applicable for PUA as well.

    NOTE: The department is holding determinations of PUA for recipients of SSDI in anticipation of receiving guidance from US DOL that agrees with our position that SSDI recipients are eligible.

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