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Illinois Unemployment Appeal

Illinois Unemployment Appeal

Filing an Unemployment Appeal in Illinois

If you were denied unemployment benefits, or you disagree with the weekly benefit amount that IDES has calculated for you, it’s time to file an unemployment appeal. The right to an appeal hearing is part of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act. Illinois unemployment benefits are necessary for many people facing a period of joblessness. The Illinois unemployment appeal process is there to help claimants with good cause claim their rightful benefits.

When applying for unemployment insurance benefits, remember to do your due diligence first. Unemployment compensation benefits are based on your previous work history and wages. Take a look at the Illinois unemployment calculator to see the amount of unemployment insurance you should be receiving every week, or your WBA (weekly benefit amount). If the weekly unemployment compensation you’re assigned in your determination letter does not match the amount of UI benefits your work history suggests (based on the calculator), that’s another reason to file for an unemployment hearing.

Reasons your claim was denied

Your unemployment claim may be denied because it was discovered that you did not accurately report your work history and wages earned during your base period. The Illinois Department of Employment Security needs Illinois residents to report not just every Illinois employer they worked for, but also out of state employers, and the wages earned.

If you are already collecting unemployment benefits but failed to report any part-time work you did while collecting benefits, future benefits may be denied. If you previously collected unemployment, but then took a new job and continued to collect unemployment until you got your first paycheck, you may be denied future benefits.

If you did not perform a job search while collecting unemployment, you may be denied benefits in the future, even if you meet all other requirements for Illinois unemployment eligibility. You must also take a new job if it is reasonably comparable to your previous employment in terms of salary and job description. Failure to do that may result in the denial of future benefits.

If you were previously engaged in fraudulent claims, your unemployment may be denied as well.

You can also be denied if you do not meet certain eligibility requirements. Losing a job because of misconduct or leaving it because of a larger labor dispute may disqualify you. As filling out an appeal form or petitioning the IDES board will not help you here, your best advice is to seek some competent legal advice. At the same time, if you feel that your employee rights were violated and have a different story about the terms of your separation, you should file an appeal.

How to file an appeal

You must write a letter expressing your interest in an appeal or simply fill out the Request for Reconsideration of Claims Adjudicator’s Determination form (available on the IDES website). Mail, fax, or hand deliver this form to your local IDES office, which is listed on the Determination Letter you received in the mail after filing your initial application. You will then receive a Notice of Hearing letter in the mail that will indicate a date and time for a phone hearing.

An administrative law judge (also called an ALJ or referee) will conduct the hearing. You must mail in or fax any materials you wish to present at this hearing both to the referee and to any other parties who will be on the call, such as a former employer. If these materials are not provided to both the judge and the other party, they cannot be used at the hearing.

You may also send these materials to the main offices of the IDES Appeals Division:

Chicago Office: IDES Appeals Division
33 S State St, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-2802


Alternatively, there is the second address at:

Springfield Office: IDES Appeals Division
607 East Adams, 8th Floor
Springfield, IL 62701


If you wish to examine the materials you have submitted and make sure they are all there, submit a Review File Request at least two days prior to the hearing, either by submitting it to the local IDES office where you initiated your appeal.


You can also contact the main appeals office:

IDES Appeals Division
33 S. State
Chicago IL 60603


After the hearing, a decision will be communicated to you via mail. If you miss the hearing for whatever reason, you must wait 10 days before requesting another hearing.

2nd Level of Appeals

There may be times when you are still dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal even after it has been reviewed by a referee. If that’s the case, you have further recourse provided by IDES, by appeal to the Board of Review. As you keep filing your way up the appeal process, remember to keep filing your biweekly claim for Illinois unemployment. If your appeal is vindicated, you can be awarded back benefits. Alternatively, if you are vindicated but did not file, you may lose those benefits or have them delayed.

Appeal to the Board of Review

If you disagree with the decision communicated by the referee, you can appeal to the Board of Review by filling out the Notice of Appeal / Board of Review form available on the IDES website. Remember to include the docket number referencing the referee’s decision.

This form must be submitted within 30 days of the date listed on the Referee’s Decision form mailed to you. You can mail it to your local IDES office, the Appeals Division addresses listed above, or directly to the board at:

Board of Review
33 S. State St, 9th Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-2802


In most cases, you will not be present when the Board of Review looks at your appeal, reviewing the documents and testimony. Incidentally, this is why it’s very important to make sure you are submitting as many materials as you can to the referee during the first step of the appeals process. The decision of the Board of Review will be communicated to you via mail. But if you’re still dissatisfied with the outcome, you can appeal it with the County Circuit Court within 35 days. If not done during this time, you will essentially lose the right to appeal further.

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