Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Fall 2021 Remote Clinic Information

Although things are opening up in Wisconsin, we have found that we are able to service more claimants if we operate remotely. We will continue to operate remotely (over the phone) this Fall 2021.

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 unemploymentclinic@gmail.com 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.

Further Resources

  • Additional agencies:
If you are in the northern 33 counties you can go to Wisconsin Judicare at (715) 842-1681 or (800) 472-1638 - Toll Free. If you are in the lower 39 counties you can go to Legal Action of Wisconsin at 855-947-2529. If you are elderly or disabled you can contact the Aging and Disability Rights Center within your county. Otherwise you can use the LRIS (Lawyer Referral and Information Service) at (800) 362-9082 or (608) 257-4666 (in Dane County and outside of Wisconsin).  
  • Claim processing delays:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/09/16/delays-part-1/


https://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2020/11/wisconsin-covid-19-unemployment-thousands-waiting/

  • Hearing delays:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/11/24/unemployment-delays-part-4/
  • The backlog with claims remains:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/unemployment-delays-part-5/
  • Missing appeal deadlines or a claim-filing requirement because of bad DWD advice:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/09/17/unemployment-delays-part-2/
  • Resources for getting help over these delays are here:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/09/18/unemployment-delays-part-3/

  • For help navigating the UI portal to get actual documents:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/how-to-navigate-wisconsins-unemployment-portal/
  • The actual on-line claim screens are now available at:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/10/29/claim-filing-questions-in-wisconsin/
  • Finally, the workers' guide to unemployment law offers an overview of general unemployment issues as well as advice for preparing for your unemployment hearing:
http://dwd-uireform.vforberger.fastmail.fm/WorkersGuide-6.5.2017.07.pdf


Check out our original tips for filing here.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Spring 2021 Clinic Schedule Change

The Clinic is remaining remote (over the phone) until further notice

The Unemployment Appeals Clinic is performing all claimant intake interviews over the phone until further notice. 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.

Claimant intake interviews temporarily moving to Tuesday nights during Spring 2021

Due to a scheduling conflict on our normal Monday night time slot, the clinic will operate on Tuesday night from January 2021 until May 2021, at which point the clinic will go on recess prior to initiating its summer session. The timing of the clinic will remain the same, with scheduled claimants receiving a call from a student between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Student volunteers may call from a blocked number, so claimants should be prepared to accept a blocked number call on Tuesday evenings. 

The importance of a hearing packet

The clinic is prioritizing scheduling claimants who have received their hearing packets from the Department of Workforce Development. A hearing packet is a collection of documents organized by the UI Hearing office, watermarked with U#, sent to a claimant before their hearing. These documents indicate the hearing is already scheduled or will be scheduled shortly. They are also key to understanding the basis for the unemployment insurance denial. Since there is a large backlog of hearings (some not being scheduled for several months after initial appeal) the clinic is attempting to focus on those claimants whose hearing is either already scheduled or will be scheduled shortly.

Further agencies working on unemployment insurance appeals

  • Additional agencies:
If you are in the northern 33 counties you can go to Wisconsin Judicare at (715) 842-1681 or (800) 472-1638 - Toll Free. If you are in the lower 39 counties you can go to Legal Action of Wisconsin at 855-947-2529. If you are elderly or disabled you can contact the Aging and Disability Rights Center within your county. Otherwise you can use the LRIS (Lawyer Referral and Information Service) at (800) 362-9082 or (608) 257-4666 (in Dane County and outside of Wisconsin).  
  • Claim processing delays:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/09/16/delays-part-1/


https://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2020/11/wisconsin-covid-19-unemployment-thousands-waiting/

  • Hearing delays:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/11/24/unemployment-delays-part-4/
  • The backlog with claims remains:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/unemployment-delays-part-5/
  • Missing appeal deadlines or a claim-filing requirement because of bad DWD advice:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/09/17/unemployment-delays-part-2/
  • Resources for getting help over these delays are here:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/09/18/unemployment-delays-part-3/
  • For help navigating the UI portal to get actual documents:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/how-to-navigate-wisconsins-unemployment-portal/
  • The actual on-line claim screens are now available at:
https://wisconsinui.wordpress.com/2020/10/29/claim-filing-questions-in-wisconsin/
  • Finally, the workers' guide to unemployment law offers an overview of general unemployment issues as well as advice for preparing for your unemployment hearing:
http://dwd-uireform.vforberger.fastmail.fm/WorkersGuide-6.5.2017.07.pdf



Thursday, May 14, 2020

Clinic Operation Under Social Distancing


Dane County’s stay-at-home order has been extended through the winter months and likely into 2021. Here are the ways the Unemployment Appeals Clinic has adjusted to these circumstances:

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 thorugh United Way (contactable by calling 211). We help specifically with unemployment appeals, not issues pertaining to applications or delayed determinations.

The clinic will operate remotely every Monday this summer

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. Virtual “walk-ins,” or last-minute additions to the schedule, are welcome! 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.

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 unemploymentclinic@gmail.com 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.

On Monday, the administrator will call you to confirm your attendance at the clinic that evening.

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 clinic primarily offers assistance to people who have applied for and been denied unemployment benefits. If you have not received a determination from the Department of Workforce Development stating that you are ineligible to receive benefits, we can answer your questions, but our ability to provide assistance will be limited. Our primary purpose is to help people who have been denied benefits and wish to appeal their denial. The student advocate can then advise you over the phone on the appeals process and your specific case. If your issues go beyond what the advocate can answer, they can add a supervising attorney to the call to get more insight.

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 advise you on how best to proceed with an appeal, as well as point to 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.

Check out our original tips for filing here