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Panel gives green light to stricter jobless-benefits rules.

Byline: Erika Strebel,

A panel of lawmakers has given preliminary approval to a bill that contains stricter jobless-benefits rules. The Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform voted 5-0 to approve a bill that would make it easier for the states Department of Workforce Development to collect debt related to jobless benefits and add to the ways that claimants can be disqualified from receiving benefits. Lawmakers typically adopt the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Councils recommendations.With the labor committee panel's approval on Thursday, the bill now heads to the full Legislature. The bill, named Senate Bill 399, would specifically make jobless-benefits claimants ineligible for benefits if they conceal holiday, vacation, termination or sick pay. Current law makes them ineligible only if they conceal wages or hours worked. The bill would also change the ways that DWD can collect debts related to jobless benefits. It, for instance, would eliminate a rule stating that a principal or partner in a company cannot be heldpersonally liable for unpaid jobless-benefits contributionsunless his ownership stake amounts to at least 20 percent of the total. It also would allow the DWD to try to recoup unpaid contributions by selling property using any means that will bring in the highest net price, including having anauction or a sale on the Internet. The bill would also change when benefits would stop for jobless-benefits claimants who fail to answer a DWD request for information about their eligibility for the assistance. Current law prevents claimants from collecting benefits for any week in which they have also failed to answer a DWD request. If a claimant later complies, that person may later collect benefits for the week the failure occurred. Senate Bill 399 would have benefit payments stop the week the department makes a request for information rather than the weekin which a claimant fails to respond. [follow id="erikastrebel" size="large" count="true"]

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Publication:Wisconsin Law Journal
Date:Oct 12, 2017
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