Here’s what you need to know about the $300 unemployment payments in Wisconsin

The Department of Workforce Development announced Friday it would begin issuing  $300 federal payments to those receiving unemployment.

The announcement comes on the heels of weeks of uncertainty as to when the state would be able to implement the payments. 

Here’s what we know:

Where are the payments coming from? 

The payments are a part of the federal Continued Assistance Act, which Congress passed in December and President Donald Trump signed at the end of the month. 

Who is eligible for the payments? 

Anyone who is receiving $1 or more in unemployment payments is eligible for the payments. They will be issued with regular unemployment payments each week. 

How long will I receive the payments? 

The program was authorized for 11 weeks of payments, dating back to the week ending  Jan. 2. Payments for the first and second weeks of January, which were unavailable while the department programmed its system to disburse the payments, will be retroactively paid to claimants. 

The payments will extend through the week ending March 13. 

RELATED:‘I don’t know what to do’: With weekly unemployment claims rising, Wisconsinites are still waiting for answers

Why did it take Wisconsin so long to implement the payments? 

Wisconsin unemployment is currently operating on a mainframe system that is more than 50 years old. For each new federal program, like the $300 payments, the mainframe must be programmed, which can take weeks. 

Will the payments change after Joe Biden is inaugurated? 

It’s possible. Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package would bump the payments up to $400 a week, if approved, and extend the program through September. 

The plan would also provide for another stimulus payment of $1,400. 

Laura Schulte can be reached at leschulte@jrn.com and on Twitter at @SchulteLaura