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Updated : January 29th, 2019

State: Illinois (IL)
Phone Number:(800) 244-5631; TTY TTY (866) 488-4016. Employer Hotline: (800) 247-4984; Employers calling for assistance: (877) 342-7533; Media Inquiry - (877) 566-6230
Major Towns:Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, Springfield, Peoria, Elgin, Waukegan, and Cicero.
Current Unemploymnet Rate in Illinois

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.

Direct Payment
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.

Questions & Answers

  1. I am an RN for home health and have been for 6 months. I have received subpar training and have requested more orientation to no avail. I work above and beyond 40 hours/week – anything above 40 I don’t get compensated for. Would I be elgible for unemployment if I were to quit my position? I feel as if I am being taken advantage of and have been set up to fail in this current position.

    1. Tara,

      You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

    1. The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  2. I have a mental disorder that is no longer allowing me to preform the primary function of my current job. If I should quit or be fired as a result, would I qualify for unemployment? It’s not that I can’t work at all, but my employer is unwilling to consider any ADA accommodations to allow me to continue with the company (State Farm). I am actively looking for a new position/company where I can preform job duties.

    1. Ria,

      Hope you get well soon.

      Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. Please check with the Unemployment Office on the eligibility front.

  3. I am a nurse on a psych unit at a hospital. The unit is being temporarily closed due to lack of dr. They don’t know for how long. I was offered different unit positions, but the hours are not suitable for me. I am a day shift and hours offered are midnights. Would I be entitled to unemployment because of this?

    1. Heather,

      If you refuse work due to the timings, it may be considered involuntary. I suggest that you call the Unemployment Office in your state to inquire about eligibility.

  4. Hello,
    I was laid off several months ago and am receiving unemployment. I recently found an opportunity to freelance on a part-time basis (3-15 hours per week), and I’ll be receiving a 1099 at the end of the year for it (not a W-2). Do I report my income from this freelance work?
    Thank you!

  5. i worked in security at Toyota for 16 years I had to quit because I have M.D and it has attach my muscle and my legs are very weak where I did a lot of walking. I was wondering if I would qualify for unemployment benefits????

    1. Timothy,

      Please check with the Unemployment Office in your state since UI benefits are only extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons.

  6. To whom it may concern,

    I applied for Illinois unemployment on 4/19/17. I then had a telephone interview on 5/1/17 and was told that I would be notified by mail. Today (5/12/17) is the 10th business day and I have not received anything yet by mail. Should I continue to wait or should I call the state to investigate further?
    Thanks for your time!

    1. Hello Brooke,

      Please call immediately to get an update. Make sure to chase at regular intervals to get a definite answer.

  7. I just retired from my job as Registered Nurse. Am I eligible to file for unemployment benefits? I am permanent resident of Illinois.

  8. Recently my employer has been cutting the hours of several of its employees. I remember a section in the illinois handbook about lost wages due to lack of work. How would we qualify for benefits?

    1. You will be eligible to claim partial UI benefits for the reduced hours. Please consider applying if there is a reduction in your hours.

  9. I live in Kansas but worked the pipeline from May 2016 to aug 11 2016 in Illinois Then we moved locations to Iowa Aug 12 to Dec 22 2016 Before that we were in New Mexico june 2015 till Jan 2016 In what state do I file for unemployment ? thank you !!

  10. Quick question-My IL employer has not paid me for three pay checks-If I quit would I be eligible for unemployment? Also, what happens if my employer has also not given me a payroll statement in over 6 months?

    1. This is a tricky situation. Do not decide to leave until you speak to the Unemployment Office in your state.

      I think you should be eligible. Please call the Office for further information.

  11. I am voluntarily separating from the military after 11 years of active duty service. I was told at a transition seminar that I qualify for unemployment, but when I check for eligibility online it says: “In most cases, when quitting a job voluntarily, you are ineligible for unemployment. However, you may be eligible if you have quit out of necessity and you can choose to prove that you quit your job for a good cause.” Do I automatically rate unemployment for honorably discharging from the military or would I have to prove the necessity for separating?

    1. Well, that condition is applicable for civilians. Each state has specific rules when it comes to claimants from the Military. You can be eligible to receive unemployment compensation.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further details.

  12. I live in Illinois and my unemployment benefits will soon run out and Illinois does not offer extensions. What are my other alternatives if I do not have a job at that time?

    1. The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

      Some states do offer Extended Benefits during times of high unemployment.

  13. My company in downtown Chicago, is moving to the suburbs and it will take me twice as long (over 2 hours as opposed to 30 minutes), to get there, and twice or 3 times as much money. Can I claim unemployment and look for a new Chicago job close to home? Is there an exact mileage that has to be reached before I can claim unemployment?

    1. Some states do provide relief in case of travel distance. Not sure how it works in IL.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to obtain further details.

  14. I receive $672.00 monthly from Soc. Security and applied for unemployment when I was forced to retire from my part time job. I keep receiving monthly mailings stating that I make more than the allowable amount. Can I not receive unemployment because I make too much on Soc. Security?

    1. Well, some states provide both while some don’t.

      Now sure how it works in IL. Please call the Unemployment Office and apply accordingly.

  15. I was recently released from a position in which I was a 1099 employee after 5 months. Am I eligible for Illinois unemployment insurance since employers do not pay unemployment insurance on 1099 employees?

  16. I was wondering if i am able to file for unemployment while i am off for surgery. My company has accounted my Temp time with them to be able to get fmla but will not count it to get my short term disability. I have been off for the last week and will not be released to go back to work until close to May due to having my Thyroid removed. Is this something that I would be able to get unemployment for to help with the finances part of it?

    1. You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Personal reasons such as health are not considered. If the surgery is work related, please look out for provisions under the Workers Comp scheme.

  17. I work from a small business(<20 employees)which is about to close or be sold. I assume I must hang in there 'till the bitter end in order to qualify for temporary benefits, but what is the case if a new owner offers to keep me for the time being at half pay? Do I have any options?

  18. I expect to get laid off soon due to a company buyout. If I get a severance package, can I still file for unemployment benefits?

  19. I am suspended from work, it has been 30 days already, i am still waiting to see if i am fired or going back to work, can i file for unemployment?

    1. Unemployment Insurance is only extended to those who have been laid off completely.

      If you’re fired due to involuntary reasons, you can claim. Please wait until your employer makes a decision.

  20. My drivers license is to be suspended for 3 months which will affect my ability to get to work, and my job requires me to drugs at times, so most likely I will be let go or laid off at least. Would I qualify for unemployment?

    1. You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  21. I have a job in illinois and Missouri, but my job in illinois suspended me for being late because i work two jobs i am tired, but i understand they run a business but it’s been two weeks since that
    Suspension and i have another job but i have nothing after i pay rent and bills i was wondering would i hey denied if i file for unemployment in illinois

    1. You still have a job in hand. Not sure if you will be eligible.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  22. I left my job in California on November 11th 2011 to come back to my home town in Illinois to take care of my Mother after my Father died on September 26th 2011. I was collecting from California but funds have stopped.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss.

      I am not sure if California has extensions at this time (don’t think they do – but look into it). Do you have any earnings at all in Illinois? Any amount at all and if Illinois has extensions, you might qualify there.

  23. I was self employed for the past 3 yrs., just went out of business,I filed income tax, can I benefit from unemployment benefits? And how can I file.

  24. I was laid off this past Friday. The company has given me a 6 week severance paid out weekly. Can I apply for unemployment while looking for work?

    1. Hi Mary,

      You cannot claim unemployment benefits while on a maternity leave. Please check if disability insurance can help.

  25. I work for ford assblmey plant and i do not have vaction time since i just startd but the first week of July they shut the plant down ive heard i can fil for unemployment is this true

    1. Hi Damion,

      If the plant shuts down and you are rendered jobless, then you are mostly eligible to receive benefits. But please note that there are other eligibility requirements like the duration you worked, the amount you earned etc. You will have to meet these requirements to qualify for benefits. Once you qualify, you have to satisfy other requirements which involve searching for work and being able and available to work.

  26. Currently, I am working part time, 18-20 hours per week, and soon will be “laid off” due to lack of work. I am collecting Social Security benefits. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

    1. Hi Caroline,

      Anything below 32 hours is usually considered part time and if the company reduced your working hours, you can go ahead and apply for unemployment benefits. You will have to declare the amount you receive as SS benefits during the filing and/or weekly claim process.

  27. I am recently unemployed due to health issues. Severe anxiety and depression required that I resign from my previous employer. I am currently living with my daughter as I have no income at all. What do I need to do to qualify for assistance. Also, I lived in Columbus,Ohio up until 4/1/13. Do I have to go through Ohio, or can I apply here in Chicago?

  28. I have worked for my company for almost 26 years. My job is being changed to a part time position. Can I collect unemployment for the rest of the hours

  29. I was off work for a wk knew I was getting holiday pay but still was under the allowed income to collect ump for the wk..I just found out the company paid us a bonus in the same check with the holiday pay .It was last mo. with that it puts me over allowed I have to claim the bonus when I certify??

  30. if a person has been laid off – collecting Unemployment – has been offered a job as an independent contractor – for 6 month term – with hope that it will turn into a ful ltime job- -if after that 6 months – there is no full time job offered to perosn –will he still be elibile to collect Unemployment agian ?

  31. I had a back injury with my last employer….had a doctors excuse to be off work…..I felt better…told them i was coming in..and on that day i was shut out of the plant…and they called later said they didnt need me anymore….do i qualify for unemployment benefits???


  33. I have currently been on Unemployment in 2012. I understand you get 25 weeks of UE and then they offered an extension till 12/29/12 due to the amount of people on UE. Since, that term is over, is there any other way of getting any kind of extension in 2013, because I still haven’t been able to find a job. Please let me know. I would appreciate it.

    Thank you,

  34. i work 27 hours a week at one job and 6 to 12 hours a week at another. I just got fired from the 27 hour a week job due to a new gal that complained about me (3 times) so they choose to terminate i able to get unemployment for that job even tho i still have the other job? I have been with this school for 4 school years but only 3 years total

  35. My Job is going to 32 hour work weeks. And the. Shutting down during thanksgiving week and Christmas week.
    Can I claim the 1 day a week through unemployment?

  36. I live in Illinois…I worked in Wisconsin until Saturday, 10/20/2012, when I was fired…where do I file for unemployment???…thank you…

    Tim Ryan

    1. Every state makes its own guidelines for paying unemployment benefits. If you live in Illinois and worked in Wisconsin, you may wonder in which state you should file for benefits. You might think you would be better off filing in the state that paid the highest benefit, but you don’t get that choice. You should file in the state where you worked, regardless of where you live.

  37. i am employed by hostess brands who is currently in bankruptcy.its a union job and they are giving us a final offer. if we refuse the offer they will imediately liquidate the company. am i eligible for unemployment. a warn notice has been sent saying my employment may come to and end.

  38. If your on uemployment benefits and you choose to apply for a job that is only offering 4 hours a day at $12.00 an hour would this be enough hours for uemployment benefits termination status.

  39. Hi there, I found your web site by the use of Google even as looking for a similar subject, your web site got here up, it appears good. I’ve added to favourites|added to bookmarks.

  40. Dear Sirs,

    I have not received a W-2 or 1099 showing my unemployment earnings for the years 2010 and 2011. How do I get these and why aren’t they sent out automatically?

    Dave VanStone
    Flower Mound, TX

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