Over 30,000 Wisconsinites have applied for the new federally-backed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that was created in the stimulus bill passed last month.

The plan expands eligibility of unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who might not otherwise qualify for the benefits. Some examples of those are independent contractors, freelance workers, and those with limited work history.

According to one source, the Department of Workforce Development, which oversees and administers unemployment benefits in Wisconsin, said they received over 17,000 applications on the first day the new program launched.

Individuals approved for the program can receive between $163 and $370 per week in benefits for no longer than 39 weeks.