Illinois Unemployment Benefits
Are you physically able to work?
Are you willing to actively look for a job?
Did your employer pay unemployment taxes ("Covered Employment")?
Did you earn at least $1600 in the base period in Illinois?
Base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. If you are filing today, base period is Jan 2012 - Mar 2012 to Oct 2012 - Dec 2012
How did you lose your job?
Did you quit your last job due to unsafe working conditions, not being paid, discrimination and / or health and safety risks?
Were you fired for no fault of your own?
Were you laid off for no fault of your own?
Applying online is the easiest and fastest way to claim benefits. Check for more specific details such as timings and requirements to claim benefits in your state.
CALL: (800) 244-5631; TTY (866) 322-8357. Employer Hotline: (800) 247-4984; Employers calling for assistance: (877) 342-7533; Media Inquiry - (877) 566-6230
Visit UC Center:
You can’t seem to find assistance on call? No worries. Visit one of the UC center and let the specialist help you out. Please note that wait times can be longer but assistance is guaranteed.
you are not eligible
What is the Eligibility Criteria in Illinois?
There are some basic rules for eligibility. Even if you meet some of these rules partially, you should still apply for unemployment because state offices make a reasonable attempt to process your claim, as long as you provide a good justification.
To learn more check unemployment eligibility article
A "base period" is four consecutive calendar quarters that fall within the 18 month period before establishing a new benefit year.Claim your benefits
How to File Your Initial Claim in Illinois?
If You Are Not a United States Citizen
You must give verification that you were legally eligible to work in your state and that you are presently eligible to begin a new job.
How to File Your Weekly Claim?
After you file your application for unemployment benefits, you must start filing your weekly claims. You require filing each week, even though you are:
You can file your weekly claim:
File every week that you want to claim benefits and keep on filing until you go back to work, run out of benefits or stop seeking work. You should claim at least one week before we can make a decision on your eligibility.
How to Claim for an Extension?
If you are presently filing weekly claims for unemployment benefits; carry on filing your weekly claim if you are jobless or working reduced hours. You will be informed by mail of your eligibility for the added benefits.
In case you have been filing weekly claims and are still laid off or working reduced hours, you will have to file an application for these extra benefits online or by telephone. You will be alerted by mail of your eligibility for the additional benefits.
To be eligible for EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits you must:
To be eligible for EB benefits you must:
Illinois Unemployment Questions
If I file an appeal of a decision, do I need an attorney?
The appeals process is administrative in nature and the majority of appeals hearings are held without attorneys. Your employer may be represented by an attorney or a tax consultant, but it is strictly your decision as to whether or not an attorney is needed.
If you do not want to hire a private attorney but feel you need professional advice for handling an appeal, you may qualify for limited free legal services - provided your claim is judged by the legal service provider to be a valid one, i.e. a position that appears to be well-grounded in fact and answers the requirements of the law.
Will the appeal process stop my unemployment benefits?
No. If benefits have been awarded, an appeal does not stop payment of benefits as long as other requirements are met.
However, if benefits are awarded and an appeal changes the decision to a disqualification, then benefits will be stopped. If the decision is reversed at the referee level, you will be required to repay any money you received.
Illinois Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are paid through a debit card, unless you elect to receive payment by direct deposit to a checking or savings account.
Before any benefits can be paid on a new claim, you must serve a non-paid "waiting week". Electronic payments made to eligible individuals are generally available within 2-3 business days of certification.
What is the difference between Certify and Re-Open a UI claim?
Certifying for benefits must be done every two weeks to ensure you remain eligible and can receive a benefit payment. Re-opening a claim is different. A customer re-opens when they have collected unemployment insurance benefits, returned to work for a period of time, and was laid off again within the same benefit year as their original layoff. That period of time could be as long as many months or as short as one week.
I opened my UI claim through Tele-Serve but now I can’t certify, why?
Any time you earn over your weekly benefit amount on a previous certification or have a new period of employment an additional claim must be filed either online or at your local office for residence of Illinois. If you reside outside the state of Illinois you may file online or by contacting our Interstate Benefit team at (800) 344-5573 (choose Option 1 for Claims, then option 2 for interstate claims).
I am trying to register online for UI but getting I keep getting a message I can't be validated, what does this mean?
The social security number, name and date of birth you enter are matched against the data we have for the social security number. If the information does not match exactly, you will not be able to use the online services. Claims may be filed in person at a local IDES office.
How are weekly benefit amounts determined?
Your weekly benefit amount is determined by the total wages paid to you by each of your employers during your "base" period. Your base period consists of the first four of the last five quarters (three-month periods) where you earned wages, going back from the time of your initial claim for benefits.
To be monetarily eligible for benefits, you must have been paid wages of at least $1,600 for insured work during your base period. Of this amount, at least $440 must have been paid to you outside of the base period quarter in which your wages were the highest. Effective for benefit years beginning on or after January 1, 2008, if you have not earned sufficient wages during the base period described above, we will try to establish your eligibility using a base period consisting of the last four completed quarters.
If you have a dependent child or a dependent unemployed spouse, you may also receive an allowance for one of them.
When do I get paid after I certify for unemployment insurance benefits?
On eligible claims, payment can be expected on your state issued debit card or by direct deposit 48 to 72 business hours after certifications.
How many weeks of Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits will I receive?
If you are eligible for Extended Benefits (EB), you will receive up to 20 weeks of additional benefits.
What if I miss my call date (to certify)?
If you miss your regular call day (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday), you may still certify on Thursday or Friday of that same week, either online or by calling (Tele-Serve). You may also certify on your regular call day in the following week (or Thursday or Friday of that week). Payment of benefits will be based on certifying for benefits in a timely manner and meeting the eligibility requirements of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.
What if I do not meet the work search requirements for extended UI benefits, or fail to mail or fax my Extended Benefits Work Search form?
If you do not send in your work search document or it is incomplete, you will be denied EB benefits indefinitely until you return to work for at least 4 weeks and earn at least 4 times your weekly benefit amount. If you are aware you do not meet the work search requirements when you certify for benefits through TeleServe you should answer "no" to the question regarding whether you conducted a systematic and sustained search for work. By answering no, you will be waiving payment for this week but this will prevent an indefinite denial for all future EB weeks.
How Benefits are calculated?
To calculate your weekly benefits amount click here
The minimum benefits amount in Illinois is $51.
The maximum benefits amount in Illinois is $403
A "base period" is four consecutive calendar quarters that fall within the 18 month period before establishing a new benefit year.
To learn more Unemployment benefits article