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Max Weekly Benefit Amount
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Updated : March 23rd, 2023

Illinois Unemployment Benefits

Illinois Unemployment Benefits

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) offers unemployment benefits to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. To qualify for the Illinois unemployment benefits, an applicant must meet monetary requirements, job separation requirements and maintain his or her eligibility throughout the benefit period. 

UI Benefit Amount in Illinois

The unemployment benefits program in Illinois is designed to provide temporary monetary benefits to the eligible applicants. The following UI Benefits Calculator will help applicants to determine the approximate UI Benefits amount that he or she may receive in Illinois. 

UI Benefits Calculator
Calculate Your Illinois Unemployment Benefits

Try the Illinois unemployment calculator to estimate your weekly benefits.

Illinois Unemployment Calculator


Unemployed or not, living in today’s job market, it is always indispensable for you to equip yourself with the know-hows of the unemployment benefits offered in your state. Illinois, like other federal states, has its own department which takes care of unemployed populace and seeks to address their financial problems, either you are a part-time worker or a retired veteran.


In the hope to provide as much knowledge on the unemployment insurance (UI) and benefit claims offered in Illinois, we have compiled everything that you should know.

The following information will help you understand the Illinois eligibility criteria, application process, how much benefits you may approximately receive and many other information that you should know to make it through the benefit period.

Eligibility Criteria

The state of Illinois has laid down certain conditions that prospective applicants need to fulfill in order to gain eligibility to obtain unemployment benefits in Illinois. These conditions are designed to take into account the recent work history of the applicant.

The eligibility conditions also include the amount of money that the applicant earned in a given time period and identifying the reason for separation from his or her previous employment. The criteria that the applicants need to fulfill are the following.

Monetary Eligibility

There are certain monetary conditions that applicants need to fulfill in order to qualify for unemployment benefits in the state of Illinois. The first four quarters of the previous five quarters preceding the applicant’s benefit year is considered as the regular base period.

For instance – if an applicant benefit period starts from January 2019, his or her base period will be from October 2017 to September 2018. To know more, check out the base period calculator.

In the base year, the applicant is expected to earn at least $1600 during the period, and a minimum of $440 outside the highest-earning base period quarter. If the applicant fails to gain eligibility under the regular base period condition, he or she fails may verify under the alternative base period condition.

The alternative base period consists of four of the five most recently completed quarters. It must, however, be noted that the alternative base period can only be applied if the applicant is not monetarily eligible under the regular base period.

Find out more about eligibility requirements

Job Separation

Once the monetary eligibility is established, the applicant must then explain the reason for separation from his or her previous organization. The state of Illinois has set certain parameters to make sure that the applicants have lost the job due to no fault of their own. Below are some of the acceptable reasons for job separations that would be considered for unemployment benefits in Illinois:

  • The applicant did not quit the job in the previous organization voluntarily
  • The applicant was not asked to leave due to misconduct or participating in illegal activities
  • Applicant separated from the previous organization as he or she had to endure health complications, sexual harassment or domestic violence
  • The applicant had to accompany a military spouse or a spouse who relocated due to employment

Calculate your eligibility for Illinois unemployment benefits:

Illinois Eligibility Calculator

Maintaining Eligibility

The eligibility factor will not cease to feature once the application for weekly benefits is approved. The onus lies upon the applicant to continue to maintain eligibility throughout the benefit period.

The applicant must follow the below-listed points to make sure he or she receives the benefits without any hassles. They include:

  • File the claim weekly at the scheduled time through the Tele-Service system or online. Failing to do so may lead to discontinuation of benefits
  • Must be available for work throughout the benefit period. This means the applicant are not sick, retired, or on a vacation during the benefit period
  • The applicant must be actively looking for work. In order to establish that the applicant is pursuing opportunities, he or she has to periodically inform IDES about – (i) What is the applicant doing to find work?; (ii) The nature of work he or she is looking for; and (iii) Applicant’s chances of being hired in the week. Failing to do so would lead to stoppage of the benefits
  • Must accept the job offers made. If the applicant rejects any job offers without an acceptable cause, the benefits will be stopped. Applicants can consult IDES to make sure that his or her reason to reject a job offer falls is ‘acceptable’ before rejecting the offer
  • Must report any other source of income he or she is receiving or may receive in the course of the benefit period
  • Must complete the registration process at to connect with prospective employers. Unemployment benefits will not be paid if the applicant fails to register in the Illinois JobLink website.

Find out on job search requirements

How To Apply?

Remember to gather all the right information and documents that would be required for the application for unemployment insurance. Be ready to answer all the questions for the interview in person and for the phone call. Do not forget to carry a copy of all the documents every time you visit an IDES Office location.

Unemployment Insurance In IL

In the state of Illinois, it is necessary to obtain the following information prior to filing an application for benefits. The list of information includes:

  • The applicant must have his or her social security number, without which his or her claim for benefits will not be processed in the state of Illinois
  • The applicant  must also compulsorily submit the social security number of dependents that are included in the claim
  • The applicant  will need to furnish either his or her driver’s license or state ID
  • Name, phone number, address, date of employment and the reason for separation for all the employers that worked for in the last 18 months must be presented
  • The applicant  must submit the W-2 form/check-stubs from these employers
  • Recently separated veterans will have to submit the Member 4 Copy of the DD form 214 / 215
  • If the applicant  receives a pension, you must submit the details relating to it. (This is not applicable for social security)
  • Standard Form 8 and Personnel Action Form 50 must be submitted if the applicant is separated from work as a civilian employee of the federal government

Once all the required documents are ready, the applicant can apply for unemployment Illinois by either visiting the IDES website to file the claim online or calling the Tele-Serve line to file the claim over a telephone call.


Filing a claim for unemployment benefits in Illinois over the internet is the most convenient way to register. Log on to the IDES website and fill in all the required details to get the process started.


The applicant can also file claims through telephone calls in the state of Illinois. The applicants can reach the Tele-Serve line at (312) 338-4337. The lines will be open from 5:00 AM to 7:30 PM from Monday to Friday.

Things To Know After Filing An Application

Get to know UI Benefits in IL

The responsibilities of the claimants will not end after filing the claim for UI benefits. Claimants must adhere to all the rules and regulations until the end of the benefit period to make sure that their benefits are not canceled at any point in time.

To make sure that they experience no hurdles, all claimants must be aware of certain rules that will have an impact on their benefit period. Also, the claimants would do well to know more about the training and personal development offered by IDES which will help be more competent in the job market.

How Do I Get Paid?

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) used to issue unemployment benefits onto a debit card managed by KeyBank. However, as of December 27, 2021, this arrangement was discontinued, leaving unemployment benefit payment recipients to get paid via direct deposit or paper check.

Unemployed individuals who still have funds left on the card can continue to use the debit card for purchases or to withdraw cash until the card expires on the date listed on the front of the card. No new funds will be added to the card, and benefit recipients must select the paper check or direct deposit option.

The Department of Employment Security strongly recommends not selecting the paper check option. Paper checks must travel through the mail and consequently can take longer to receive. Paper checks are easily lost. However, the paper check option may be the best choice for those who do not have a checking account or driver’s license.

The direct deposit option is strongly encouraged, as it is free, fast, and secure. All you need to do is log on to your IDES account, hover over the individual tab, and then select the option to enroll in direct deposit. You will need your driver’s license handy, as well as a paper check or some other way of accessing your bank account and routing numbers.

You will need to input these pieces of information in order to get the direct deposit set up. Please allow 24 hours for the information to process. Whether you select direct deposit or paper check, the amount of money you receive depends on your previous working income. The maximum amount of money you can obtain is $484 per week.

Overpayments And Collections

Overpayments occur when the applicant receives benefits that he or she is not entitled to. In the event, if IDES concludes that the applicant has received an overpayment, he or she will receive the Notice of Reconsideration and Recoupment Decision.

As per section 900 of the Illinois Unemployment Act, the amount that is deemed an overpayment must be paid back entirely to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. To pay the overpayment dues, the applicant must write check to the following address:

Director Of Employment Security – Benefit Account

Include the name, complete address and ID/Social Security number on the check or money order and mail the payment to:

Illinois Department of Employment Security
Benefit Repayments
28542 Network Place
Chicago, Illinois 60673-1285

The applicant could also pay the dues by phone using a credit card by calling 1- (877) 820-9155. To use this feature, the applicant must make sure that the credit card is issued in his or her name. If the applicant is unable to pay the whole amount at one go, he or she may get into a monthly installment plan.

Applicants can contact the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Benefit Overpayment Collection at (toll-free) (800) 245-9762 and (TDD) (800) 662-3943 to get more information concerning the repayment.

Overpayments are divided into types in the state of Illinois – non-fraud overpayment and Fraud overpayment.

Non-Fraud Overpayment

A non-fraud overpayment occurs when the claimants receive an excessive payment without the intention to do so. This may occur due to in the form of reversing an appeal decision or readjustment of benefit amount given to the claimant.

Fraud Overpayment

If a claimant receives an overpayment while knowing fully well that he or she is not eligible to receive the excessive amount, such transaction will be declared as a fraud overpayment.

The state of Illinois considers the following acts as a fraud:

  • Receiving benefits by knowingly making a false statement
  • Submitting false documents to influence the selection process
  • Failing to disclose relevant documents for the purpose of obtaining UI benefits
  • Making misleading or false claims on the work search requirement
  • Making misleading/false claims on the wages earned during the base period

This overpayment may be offset by 100% by the state of Illinois Comptroller from any future amount owed by the state. Any unpaid amount of fraud overpayment will remain collectible on the record indefinitely.

Illinois unemployment fraud may result in criminal prosecution under the State Benefits Fraud and Perjury Laws of the state of Illinois. This may also allow the state to file a suit against the claimant in a court of law to recover the dues.

Benefits Extension

There are no extension programs functional in the state of Illinois right now. The applicant can also visit Illinois’s IDES website to determine the current available Reemployment Assistance plans.

Job Training Assistance

Illinois workNet provides an array of training and development opportunities to the applicants from the state. The illinoisworknet website offers tools to learn about different types of degree programs, education programs, and other micro-credential programs.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) lends support to job seekers through its 22 Local Workforce Innovation Areas spread across the state. The IDCEO helps in coordinating and promoting initiatives that are designed to help applicants overcome their skill deficiencies.

IDECO builds and expands partnerships that engage businesses, other state agencies, educators, local governments, and economic development partners. This is done to ensure that a career approach to education and workforce development of the applicants turns out to be successful.

Additional programs and services handled by IDCEO include Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM), the Trade Act Program, disabilityworks®, and Illinois workNet® Centers.

The Illinois Department of Commerce also runs federally funded programs such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These programs provide on-the-job training to hire and train employees, customized classroom training to help train and retain employees, and incumbent worker training to upgrade the skills of existing employees.

Find job training opportunities in IL

Illinois unemployment contact information

If you have questions about your Illinois unemployment benefits, or require assistance with filing, you call the unemployment claims center.

If you are looking for help with finding a new job, including resume writing help and training programs, visit your local Illinois jobs center.

Illinois Unemployment BYE

What does Benefit Year Ending (BYE) mean?

Benefit Year Ending simply means that you’ve been receiving Illinois unemployment insurance benefits for a full 52 weeks. A benefit year lasts exactly 52 weeks from the date on which you filed your initial unemployment benefits claim. At this point, a new claim will need to be filed related to your situation in order for you to continue receiving benefits.

However – a Benefit Year Ending is not a cause for panic – the Illinois Department of Employment Services will review your situation at the end of your benefit year and provide you with information about an appropriate path forward. You don’t have to file a new unemployment benefits claim – any new claim that needs to be filed on your behalf will be completed for you.

This kind of claim is known as a Transitional Claim, and there’s no need for you to reach out to the Illinois Department of Employment Services to initiate it. If IDES has any questions while reviewing your claim, they either will call you or send you a letter with detailed instructions for the next steps. In the meantime, you should continue submitting your weekly benefit certification claims as normal.

How do I find my BYE date?

You can find your BYE date listed on your original determination letter. You’ll generally find it listed just above the table that outlines qualifying period quarters and wages paid. If you didn’t keep your original notification letter or otherwise can’t find your BYE date, you can calculate it fairly easily – it’s exactly 52 weeks from the date on which you filed your original claim.

Does Benefit Year Ending mean I lose UI benefits?

Not necessarily. For claimants who haven’t exhausted their UI benefits, the Illinois Department of Employment Services will transfer your information automatically into a new claim. In this case, you don’t need to do anything to keep receiving benefits; just keep certifying your weekly benefits as usual.

Depending on when and how much you worked and how much income you’ve earned since first applying for benefits, you may qualify for a new unemployment benefits claim. In this case, the Illinois Department of Employment Services will review your claim and notify you of the steps they’ve taken on your behalf.

If you have not returned to suitable work since filing your initial claim for unemployment benefits, it is unlikely that you will be found eligible to continue collecting unemployment benefits unless you requalify.

More Benefits for Illinois Residents

Illinois Disability

If you are in financially difficult straits or you are out of work longer than temporarily due to an injury or illness, you should explore other government benefits like Illinois disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance payments are available to those residents who have paid a sufficient amount of FICA taxes throughout their employment (indicated by how many work credits they have accrued).

For those individuals that do not have a sufficient work history to obtain SSDI payments, SSI might be an option. SSDI is not based on your financial resources but is granted to those individuals deemed by the DDS (Department of Disability Services) to have an injury or illness that prevents them from being gainfully employed.

Illinois Medicaid

If you’re disabled, blind, pregnant, or have a dependent who is a child or disabled, you may be eligible for Illinois Medicaid. You must also meet the state’s low-income requirements. However, with Medicaid Expansion, individuals who do not fall into any of the above mentioned but whose income qualifies them can also get Medicaid.

Not every state offers Medicaid Expansion. Also, the qualifying income levels for Medicaid in Illinois are lower than they are in some states. For example, a family of 5 can make a pre-tax gross household annual income of no more than $42,836. Some Illinois residents on Medicaid have to make copays on doctor visits, hospital stays, and medication, but these copays are typically just a few dollars.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. 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 gain eligibility, you must have received wages of at least $1,600 for insured work during the base period. Of this, at least $440 must have been paid to you outside of the base period quarter in which your wages were the highest. You can estimate your benefit payment using the Illinois unemployment calculator.
Q. What if I miss my call date?
Certifying for benefits should be done every two weeks to ensure that your eligibility status remains intact and can receive a benefit payment.

On the other hand, re-opening is when 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.
Q. When and where do I file for benefits?
File your claim for unemployment insurance benefits during the first week after you have become unemployed. File for benefits online at or at an IDES office. If you are uncertain about your eligibility for benefits, call IDES Claimant Services for further information.

You must also register with the Illinois Employment Service system at, or you may register at an IDES office.
Q. How can I change my payment method?
​• All claimants will start with a default arrangement of receiving the payment through the debit card until you enroll in direct deposit (online only).

• To enroll for direct deposit, you must change to a different bank account number. Log into your online account and make the appropriate change. The Claimant Services Center cannot perform this task.

• Direct deposit will normally be established within two to three business days of applying online.
Q. What does to be “able to and available for work” mean?
The law in Illinois states that the claimant must be able to and available for work at all times during the benefits period. This means that during the week you must have been willing, ready and able to accept a suitable job. You are, however, considered not able to and available for work if:
  • You are sick and cannot work on any day
  • You are away on vacation
  • You must stay at home to keep the house or care for your family
  • You have retired and will not accept a suitable job
  • After losing your last job, you move to and stay in a community where your chances of getting a job are definitely not as good as those in the community you left
  • The wages, hours or work conditions you insist on unreasonably limit the chances of your getting a job
  • Your main occupation is that of a student in attendance at or on vacation from school
  • .
Q. Can I claim extra benefits if I have a spouse who is a dependent?
You are allowed to claim your spouse as a dependent if she/he does not have enough wages of their own to qualify for benefits and you provided more than one-half of your spouse’s support for the 90 days prior to the first day of each week for which you file a claim for benefits.

However, if your marriage took place less than 90 days before the first day of the benefit week, you may claim your spouse as a dependent if he/she does not have enough wages to qualify for benefits and you have provided more than one-half of their support since the date of the marriage.
Q. What can I do if my claim is denied?
You can file an appeal if you are denied benefits. You must submit your request within 30 days after a letter of denial has been mailed to you. Continue to certify regularly as long as your appeal is pending and as long as you remain unemployed.

Questions & Answers

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