Four months after being laid off, a La Crosse man still hasn’t received unemployment benefits

The Wisconsin DWD is processing nearly 700,000 unemployment benefit claims since March 15

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Many people in Wisconsin are still having trouble receiving their unemployment benefits, including here in our area.

Months after he was laid off at his job, one La Crosse man is now finding life is really hard to get around.

Up until May 10 of this year, Jeremiah Hubbard had been working in the science field in La Crosse for six years.

“Basically I was laid off due to a restructuring,” Jeremiah said. “I understand their situation. They were hit hard by the pandemic.”

He filed for unemployment benefits to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development the same day his former employer let him go.

“They (the employer) were very, very kind,” Jeremiah said. “They said ‘don’t worry about unemployment. We’re not gonna contest. We’re gonna make sure you get that as quickly as possible.'”

Yet four months later, Jeremiah still hasn’t gotten a penny.

“I know I’m stuck in adjudication right now,” he said. “But when I asked them why, they were unable to tell me what would send me to adjudication.”

Jeremiah isn’t the only one in the state who still hasn’t gotten their benefits.

According to the DWD, the department received more than 6 million weekly claims from March 15 through September 5. Nearly 700,000 of them are still being processed.

“They have had significant backlogs due to the workload of the historic layoff through this pandemic,” Workforce Connections executive director Teresa Pierce said.

Pierce says the DWD moved most of their staff to the unemployment insurance sector.

“There’s been a substantial increase in the number of calls we’ve received at the job center,” Pierce said. “And then we refer them to Madison.”

Jeremiah isn’t sure when his unemployment claims will get through the legal process that determines his eligibility.

“They said it may took two weeks,” he acknowledged. “It may take a month.”

But he can’t wait for much longer.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I’m like running out of money here, honestly. And I’m starting to get pretty stressed out because in the next month, I’m not sure what I’m gonna do. I’m not gonna have enough to pay my rent, or pay my car, or pay any bills.”

Jeremiah says he will have to rely on his parent’s money or his retirement fund if he doesn’t get his unemployment benefits by next month.

He says he has been looking for other jobs in the science field in and outside the La Crosse area.

Jeremiah got his Master’s degree at the University of Iowa.