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Wisconsin residents can now apply for 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits.

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The state’s Department of Workforce Development announced Wednesday that some Wisconsinites who’ve exhausted their unemployment benefits can now apply for an additional 13 weeks of assistance.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was created as part of the CARES Act, the federal coronavirus stimulus bill passed by Congress in March. People who’ve already received 26 weeks of unemployment insurance, typically the limit, can apply for the benefit through DWD, according to a news release from the agency.

"The added 13 weeks of benefits will provide financial support to thousands of Wisconsinites who remain out of work through this difficult time in our state,” DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said in a statement.

The agency notified individuals who’ve already exhausted their benefits that they may be eligible for the new program. It said people who are currently filing weekly unemployment claims will receive information about the program through their online claimant portal.

People who receive extended benefits will also receive an additional $600 per week from the federal government, another component of the CARES Act, through July 25, 2020, according to DWD.

On Wednesday, DWD also released local unemployment data for May. Estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show unemployment was down from April in Wisconsin’s 12 metro areas, though it was up year-over-year.

Compared to April, when many businesses were closed under the state’s "Safer at Home" order, unemployment was also down in 69 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. According to DWD, Taylor County had the lowest unemployment rate at 7 percent and Menominee had the highest at 31.2 percent.

On Tuesday, DWD said 23,773 initial unemployment claims were filed last week. That was down slightly from the week prior.

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