GOP Lawmakers Propose Loan Program for those Facing Unemployment Check Delays

Wisconsin Assembly Republicans proposed a new state loan program on Wednesday to support some of the roughly 140,000 people in the state waiting to receive delayed unemployment checks.

Under the GOP plan, the Evers administration would use $40 million in funding from the federal COVID-19 relief package passed in March, of which the state has about $280 million remaining, to offer zero-interest bridge loans to people awaiting benefit checks. The program could be administered by the state Department of Revenue, Republicans said.

According to a memo from the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office, $40 million could provide about 31,000 people a $1,308 loan, which equals four weeks of the average state unemployment benefit. The average weekly benefit was $327 in March 2020, the memo said.

The Republicans called on the governor’s administration to roll out the program immediately, saying legislation is not required to establish it.