Freshman GOP Lawmaker Who Voted For Cutting Workers Comp: I Didn't Know What I Was Voting For
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330K unemployed Wisconsinites will receive an extra $600 per week from the federal aid package.

A $600 weekly boost will be applied to Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance payments by the end of this month, Department of Workforce Development Sec. Caleb Frostman said Thursday.

Beginning next week, DWD will begin implementing the program, made possible by the $2 trillion federal coronavirus aid package, Frostman said during a Department of Health Services-hosted livestream. First payments are expected to start going out as soon as April 26. The $600 payment will retroactively apply to each week of unemployment already received.

And should the state Legislature finally convene to waive the week waiting period for unemployment benefits, recipients will receive back pay, including the extra $600, for their waiting week, Frostman said. 

“We’re optimistic the Legislature will repeal the one-week waiting period,” he said.

Frostman made the announcements as coronavirus cases in Wisconsin approached 2,900 and deaths surpassed 110.

More than 330,000 Wisconsinites have applied for unemployment benefits since March 15, according to DWD data. Unemployment claims are slowing down, dropping from as many as 24,000 in a single day to just under 9,600 on Wednesday. However, it is still a far cry from last year’s numbers, when daily claims scarcely topped 1,000. 

Nationwide, claims are nearing 17 million for the past three weeks.

DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm said the coronavirus infection curve is beginning to flatten in Wisconsin, a sign that the statewide stay-home order is working to reduce the spread.

“We need to double down, and we need to continue to flatten that curve,” Palm said.

It remains to be seen what effect Tuesday’s widely condemned election will have on new cases, but it is expected to have a severe impact.

With Easter occurring this weekend and Passover taking place through next week, Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday reiterated the importance for religious congregations to not gather in numbers larger than 10. He previously shot down a call from state Republicans to allow full services for the holidays. The governor also had to close 40 state parks Thursday because visitors were not following social distancing requirements.

Evers also announced Thursday that the Army Corps of Engineers has begun setting up an alternative care facility in State Fair Park in West Allis. The facility will help reduce the load on the greater Milwaukee area’s health care system.