Illinois Unemployment Application
CALL: (800) 244-5631 | TTY (866) 488-4016
Applying for Unemployment in Illinois
If you are an Illinois resident and have become unemployed through no fault of your own, you should apply for unemployment benefits as quickly as possible. As a general rule, it’s best to file within the first week after you have lost your job. The state of Illinois makes it easy for you to submit an initial claim either in person or via its online portal, which features easy-to-follow instructions. Before you start, make sure you’re familiar with all the documentation you’ll need and make a plan for how you’ll submit your unemployment benefits claim.
Before Applying for Illinois Unemployment Benefits
Before you submit your initial claim for Illinois unemployment benefits, it’s important to understand the rules and guidelines, which can help you be more successful with your claim.
First, make sure you accurately report the reason for your separation from employment. Also, make sure you report all earnings, including part-time or temporary work. This includes income from all employers you worked for over the last 18 months before you filed your initial claim.
Make sure to file your initial claim yourself. While it may seem intimidating, you can quickly and smoothly submit your claim if you collect all the right documentation in advance. Paying someone else to make a claim on your behalf is a big risk – there are, unfortunately, many who would simply take your money without filing the claim on your behalf. At that point, they also have your personal information and can make a fraudulent claim using your identity. IDES will never ask for money in exchange for helping you with your claim.
And, finally, make sure the information you report is accurate. Don’t falsify any information on your unemployment claim – this constitutes unemployment fraud, which is a serious issue with grave consequences in Illinois.
Information Needed to Apply for Illinois Unemployment Benefits
When you submit your claim for Illinois unemployment benefits, you’ll need several key pieces of information, including:
- Your Social Security number
- Your driver’s license – or other issued state identification card
- The Social Security number, birthdate and name of any dependent you are claiming
- The name, address, telephone number, dates of employment and reason for separation for all employers you worked for within the last 18 months. Please note that certain wage records, such as W-2 forms or check stubs also may be requested.
- Any wages earned if you’ve been paid for any type of work since the Sunday of the week in which you filed your claim.
- Documentation of any pension payments you currently receive, except for any Social Security payments
- Alien Registration Information if you are not a U.S. citizen
- Member 4 Copy of the DD form 214 / 21 if you are a U.S. veteran who has recently separated from service
- Copies of the Standard Form 8 and Personnel Action Form 50 if you are separated from civilian service to the U.S. government
About Gross Wages:
- Gross wages are the amount earned before any deductions, not “take home pay”.
- You must report all gross wages for any work performed, full or part-time. Wages in the form of lodging, meals, merchandise or any other form should be included.
- Gross wages must be reported the week in which they are earned, not the week in which you receive the wages.
- If your gross wages earned in any week are less than your weekly benefit amount, you still may be eligible to receive a full or partial benefit payment.
How To Apply for Illinois Unemployment Benefits
Ways To Claim Benefits –
- Apply Online: This the fastest and easiest way to claim Unemployment Insurance. Establish a username and password to begin your claim. Write down your log-in information for future reference. Keeping information and paper work handy will help you file within 30 to 45 minutes.
- File over the Phone: Call IDES at (800) 244-5631 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for state holidays. Hearing-impaired applicants can call (866) 322-8357.
- Visit your Local IDES Office: Find the nearest IDES office and submit your claim in-person. Expect to wait in line and be sure to bring the required documents. Regular office hours are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, except State holidays.
The best way to apply for Illinois unemployment benefits is through the Illinois online portal – the Illinois Benefits Information System (IBIS). If you prefer to apply in person, that option is available, but you must make an appointment by phone in advance. You may do so by reaching out to the Scheduling Hotline at 217-558-0401.
Though you may submit your weekly certifications by phone if that’s the best option for you, your initial claim must be submitted either in person or through IBIS, which requires the creation of an ILogin account.
How To Create Your ILogin Account
Your ILogin account will allow you to access your IBIS portal, which is your one-stop shop for all things related to your Illinois unemployment claim. Using this portal, you may check the status of your claim, update payment methods, access tax documents and more Basically, ILogin is an identity verification system integrated with the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) unemployment benefits application (IBIS), which allows you a secure and simple login process.
The ILogin platform uses cutting-edge cyber-security systems to protect your valuable data – this includes identity proofing, strong authentication, fraud-detection analytics, and constant threat monitoring. The first time you access the ILogin system, you will be required to submit a brief registration form.
All Illinois unemployment claimants are required to create an ILogin account, even those who are existing claimants. When registering within the system for the first time, you will need to complete a few additional one-time steps to validate your identity. Once you have created an ILogin account, you will be able to access it for additional Illinois services and on some federal sites as well.
Claiming Dependents on your Illinois UI Application
If you have a spouse or child that you need to claim as dependents on your UI benefits claim, you have some options for doing so. You may claim a spouse as a dependent if they don’t earn enough to qualify for UI benefits on their own and if you were responsible for more than half of their financial support for at least 90 days before the first day of each week for which you file a UI benefits claim.
There are a couple of caveats to be aware of: First, if you got married less than 90 days before the first day of a benefit week, you may add your spouse as a dependent only if they do not earn enough to qualify for benefits on their own, and you have provided more than half of their support since the date you got married.
You also may add a dependent child if all of several possible situations are true. First, no one else has named the child as a dependent during the past year. In addition, the child you’re claiming cannot be a member of a family in which another child already has been claimed as a dependent by the other parent.
Next, the dependent child must be younger than 18 years old, or, if the child is older, they have been unable to work because of an illness or other disability during the 90 days prior to the first day of each week for which you file a benefits claim. Your dependent child also must be your biological child, stepchild or adopted child – or otherwise be named as in your custody by a formal court order.
In order to claim a child as a dependent, you must have provided more than half of the child’s financial support for the 90 days prior to the first day of each week for which you file a benefits claim – or for the duration of the relationship if it has existed for fewer than 90 days. Another eligible option is if you provided at least a quarter of the child’s financial support if you and your spouse together provided more than half the child’s financial support and were members of the same household.
It’s important to note that you are not allowed to claim both a dependent spouse and a dependent child at the same time.
IDES Finding Letter
Once you’ve filed your claim for unemployment benefits, you’ll receive from the Illinois Department of Employment Services a formal statement known as the UI Finding. Within this statement, you’ll find the determination of whether you are eligible for benefits, along with your weekly benefit amount, plus any appropriate dependent allowances. In addition, your letter will summarize the first date you need to submit a weekly certification, and the amount of income you earned from all employers during your base period, broken down by quarter. You will need to register with IDES as part of the Illinois work search requirement.
Your UI finding should list the date you filed your claim and the dates on which your benefit year begins and ends. It should also include your maximum benefit balance.
If this finding matches your expectations and names a benefit amount in alignment with what you were expecting, you need to do nothing at this point except continue to certify and collect your benefits. The Illinois unemployment calculator can help you estimate what your weekly benefit amount should be so that you have some idea of what to expect.
If there are any errors in your UI finding, you should notify the IDES as soon as possible. You may need to file an appeal so that your claim can be reviewed a second time.
More on Illinois Unemployment
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