Due to the difficulty being caused by the omicron COVID-19 variant, we will continue to operate remotely (over the phone) this Spring 2022.
First, what is the clinic and are we a group that could help you?
The Unemployment Appeals Clinic is a small non-profit staffed by volunteer law students and local supervising attorneys. We have one student manager who helps organize the clinic evenings, with all of our appointments scheduled through United Way (contactable by calling 211).
We help specifically with unemployment appeals, not issues pertaining to applications or delayed determinations. Much of the unemployment backlog is caused by clerical issues. We do our best to stay abreast of the newest information on how the DWD is processing claims, so we may be able to offer some helpful information on that topics. However, our ability to help is limited if your issue is about delays or other administrative issues.
You can think of our Monday night clinics like office hours. You can sign up to receive a call from a law student to talk about your claim and get information on the state of unemployment law in Wisconsin. The student may be able to offer representational services as an advocate, but absent that clear offer (and furnishing of a retainer agreement) your relationship with the clinic ends at the time that your phone call ends.
Our goal is that everyone leave the clinic armed with useful information on the unemployment process and law so that they feel confident navigating their appeal hearing.
The clinic operates on Monday nights from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Normally the clinic takes place in person at the Labor Temple at 1602 S. Park Street in Madison, WI. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, the clinic will now operate remotely, every Monday from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, with all appointments conducted over the phone. We will be running the clinic remotely until we feel it is safe to meet in person again, regardless if any state or local orders are lifted.
You can make an appointment through United Way by calling 211. If you have questions about the clinic you can call the Unemployment Appeals Clinic phone service at (608)-255-5909 and leave a voicemail. Give your name and phone number as well as a description of your issue so the Administrator can call you back. We can only take about 10 claimants a week, and are only taking claimants two weeks in advance so that we can make sure that each claimant is afforded at least 30 minutes to speak to a student. Were we to take more claimants or schedule further in advance we could not guarantee enough volunteers to handle the influx of appointments we receive. We hope you understand why we need to have these appointment restrictions!
Once scheduled, you will receive an email from the Administrator explaining the remote clinic process. If you have documents connected with your appeal, such as an initial determination letter from the Department of Workforce Development, the Administrator will provide instructions on sending those documents to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be forwarded to assisting staff. Please be aware that the documents you send will be forwarded to law students serving as advocates so that they can review them while talking to you on the phone. Your documents will be kept confidential, but as an extra precaution please cover up or cross out any sensitive personal information contained in the documents such as social security numbers, birthdates, etc. before sending them.
Stay by the phone from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Monday, as you will be receiving a call from a student advocate. The advocate will perform an intake interview to learn more about the issues you are facing. The student will then confer with the supervising attorneys working that evening about your issue.
We have more appointments than ever before, so it may take some time to connect with the supervising attorney. The student advocate may ask to hang up for a brief period in order to move on to another client intake interview. Do not worry, the advocate will call you back in a timely manner.
Advocates are not able to represent every client who attends the clinic
Advocates are not able to represent every client who attends the clinic. The decision to represent a client is made at the advocates discretion, and will be clearly communicated to the client.
Even if an advocate cannot offer you their services at an appeal hearing, they can discuss the appeal process, relevant points of law, and offer resources that give guidance on the subject. An appeal is something a lay person can do on their own. All appeal hearings are being conducted over the phone currently.
Unfortunately, the Department of Workforce Development is extremely backlogged right now, so it is possible that it will be several weeks before your claim is resolved. The clinic cannot make the process go any faster. You can call the DWD at (608)-266-3131 for an update on your claim’s status. Due to the high call volume it may take some time to get connected with claims specialist, but the DWD is still the best place to go for an update on your claim.
- Additional agencies:
- Claim processing delays:
- Hearing delays:
- The backlog with claims remains:
- Missing appeal deadlines or a claim-filing requirement because of bad DWD advice:
- Resources for getting help over these delays are here:
- For help navigating the UI portal to get actual documents:
- The actual on-line claim screens are now available at:
- Finally, the workers' guide to unemployment law offers an overview of general unemployment issues as well as advice for preparing for your unemployment hearing: