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State jobless benefit payments stalled by backlog

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Over 9,300 unemployed Wisconsinites have been waiting for several weeks to get benefit checks.

There’s been a large increase in the numbers of ongoing claims that have to be processed manually. And the Department of Workforce Development says the backlog might not be cleared up until next March.

Georgia Maxwell, the department’s executive secretary, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the backlog inexcusable – and she’s arranging for more people to get things caught up as fast as possible.

Spokesman John Dipko said many claims must be reviewed manually because recipients were overpaid after they underreported their incomes – either by mistake or on purpose. Other claims are reviewed to make sure that a person has exhausted the state’s jobless benefits before getting a federal extension.

Dipko said the number of manually-reviewed claims jumped from 1,500 a week to around 5,100 in early July – and the most complicated cases take hours to review. He said applicants will eventually get the benefits to which they’re entitled, even though they won’t be paid until the processing is done. 

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