Max. Weekly Benefit Amount
Max. Weeks of Benefits
Current Jobless Rate
Max Weekly Benefit Amount
Max Weeks of benefits
Current Jobless rate

Updated : July 14th, 2021

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. 

The following information will help you understand the 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

Eligibility Calculator

Eligibility requirements – overview

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?

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 dependants 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 on – (312) 338-4337. The lines will be open from 5:00 AM to 7:30 PM from Monday to Friday.

UI Benefit Amount

The unemployment benefits program in Illinois is a federal-center program, 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.

Benefits Calculator

Use the calculator to find out how much weekly benefits you may approximately earn in the state of Illinois.

Unemployment Benefits Calculator
Select Number of Dependents:
0 12 3 4 5
Unemployment Benefits Calculator
State: Illinois
Number of Dependents: 0

How much did you earn in each of these quarters?

$ 0
$ 25,000
$ 0
$ 25,000
$ 0
$ 25,000
$ 0
$ 25,000
Calculating your Benefits Amount ...
Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.

Know more about the Benefits Calculator

Things To Know After Filing An Application

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.

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.

Fraud overpayment 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.

Know more job training opportunities in IL

Office Locations and Phone Numbers

Most issues that you may stumble upon through the course of the benefit week, can be resolved by calling the relevant department. Here is the list of numbers of various departments that are related to unemployment insurance:

Tele-Serve: Phone: (312) 338-4337
Monday through Friday
5:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
TDD/TTY: 1-800-662-3943
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If you’re looking to contact the Illinois Department of Employment Security for services related to unemployment services, find the numbers below that may assist you:

IL Unemployment Office Phone Numbers

Unemployment Claim Questions Phone:(800) 244-5631
TTY: (866) 488-4016
Appeal Phone:(800) 244-5631
TTY: (866) 488-4016
MyTax Illinois/Employer Hotline Questions (800) 247-4984
Illinois Job Link Questions (877) 342-7533
The state of Illinois also provides an opportunity for the claimants to resolve issues through a web-based contact form. Open the web-contact page by clicking on this link, and fill in the form explaining the nature of your issue and submit the form. You will hear back from the department within a short while with the appropriate solution to your questions. If there are issues that you find difficult to resolve over the phone or over the internet, you could always book an appointment at a local IDES office. Here is the list of the location of IDES offices in the state of Illinois .

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.
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 appeal any determination that denies you benefits.
  • Review the document “Preparing for Your Appeal Hearing”, which is available online at You may also call Claimant Services for information about the appeal process.
  • By law you must file your appeal within 30 days after a letter of denial has been mailed to you.
  • File the request by mail or fax at the address or fax number listed in the determination letter. If the last day for filing your appeal is Saturday or Sunday or any other day that IDES offices are closed, the appeal may be filed on the next day IDES offices are open. Any request submitted by mail must bear a postmark date within the applicable time limit for filing.
  • Continue to certify regularly as long as your appeal is pending and as long as you remain unemployed.

Questions & Answers

  1. I have become a victim of unemployment fraud. I filled out the affidavit and sent it back the same day I received it via fax. How long before I receive my funds again? I have not received a payment since June 2021. When I certify and check the status, it says I wasn’t approved due to an judication decision. I have not received anything in the mail regarding this.

  2. I worked from July to November of this year and then was laid off. I was self-employed before that and have no UI wages during the prior 4 quarters. If I file this month, IL ignores my wages for this quarter and last quarter and computes zero benefits. Should I wait to apply in January (if I am still unemployed) or am I just out of luck on this?

  3. I filed for unemployment last year and was denied. I just lost my job a month ago and was approved for benefits, but they are based on last year’s application, so now I only get 2 months of unemployment. How can my benefit year begin and I was never paid in the first place?

  4. I’m a consultant collecting pandemic UI. The system was not available when I was first impacted. How can I get my claim back dated to the correct date? I have submitted an on line request and tried calling the phone lines to no avail. Any suggestions?

    1. Debbie,

      I am not sure if you can backdate. Please visit the “FAQ”s section of Unemployment Office’s web page.

  5. I am a consultant collecting pandemic UI. If I take a consulting engagement that lasts a week and then stops, will I have to refile a new claim all over again? Can I reopen the same claim the following week?

    1. Debbie,

      I am not sure if Consultants are eligible to claim UI benefits. Please check with the Unemployment Office.

  6. My former employer sold their business to new onwers about 8 months ago. New owners now want to move the company which would mean commuting 100 miles per day verses 45 now. If I were to quit my job, would I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

  7. My company gave it’s employees furlough letters in March & with the COVID19 government “Payroll Protection Plan” (PPP) loan that my company just received,we are all now being called back & paid as of today April 13th, but technically we’re not physically at back to work until the Govenor’s orders.
    My 1st paycheck back is paying out on our scheduled bi-weekly payroll period on May 1st.
    On my Bi-weekly certify day of next Wednesday,can I certify for “week 1” for unemployment benefits since I did not work & earn income last week & put down for “week 2”, this week,since I am returning to work & getting paid this week, enter the amount of my wages paid for the 2nd week so I am not overpaid benefits for the 2nd week of my certification ? This is all so confusing.I just need to know how to collect on Week 1 & not week 2.
    Thank you,

  8. I’m trying to get proof of state tax withholding for an unemployment claim I made back in 2014. Is the 800-244-5631 # what I should be calling to get this info?

  9. I have filed for unemployment, just want to know if I will be getting it? I have not received a e-mail for conformation.

    1. Joan,

      Please note this is a private forum and we do not have access to your claim info. Please call the Unemployment Office directly.

  10. I manage a company that is all full-time employees. We never lay-off so our premiums are very low. Now we are trying to start a trucking company by hiring people that are retired, or only want to work part time. We want to have part time employees for this company because the trucking business is very sporadic. Could the part time employees file a claim for unemployment that will affect our insurance premium?

    1. Alan,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office for complete clarity. You may be required to pay a certain amount into the tax system.

  11. I certified Wednesday, but have not received unemployment payment. When do they pay out in Lake county IL? It’s now Monday.

    1. Please call the Claims Center for payment status. Electronic payments do not take more than 2-3 business days to credit.

  12. I work inhome care and when your clients contract is up through the company you may not have any work for up to a month or more can you claim unemployment.Also if you do apply for unemployment and your job decides to try to give you 10 hrs or under does that make you unqualified for unemployment?

    1. Robin,

      Contract workers in most of the states do not qualify since employers’ don’t remit unemployment taxes into the system. Please call the Unemployment Office to clarify.

  13. I was just told that I would be changed from full time to part time in August. Am I eligible for any unemployment compensation?

    1. James,

      If your hours are being reduced, you should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please call the Claims Center for more information.

  14. I was collecting unemployment in IL and moved to WI. Can I still collect IL unemployment and if yes is it taxable in IL or WI

    1. Janet,

      We suggest you consider a ‘transfer’ from IL to WI. Please call the Unemployment Office in IL for details on taxation.

  15. I am looking to relocate to Arizona in May 2020 to take care of my mom and wanted to know would I qualify for unemployment when I relocate? I am currently working full time and will be until the end of April 2020. Please advise.

    1. Gloria,

      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 clarification.

  16. do i need to file for my unemployment it will be 1 week since i have heard from the job i was working for and they were suppose to get back with me last week so i don’t know if i am fired or not no one has gotten back to me and the human resource lady said she was going to get back to me before i return to work so what should I do?

    1. Eunice,

      UI benefits are only offered to claimants who’re officially unemployed. Please chase your employer to understand what is leading to this situation.

  17. I was terminated by phone and told I was terminated due to violation of the attendance policy, I was late clocking in. When I filed for UI, the adjudicator was told by the employer I was terminated for misconduct, because i fell asleep in my vehicle an hour before work and didnt hear my alarm, which was set for 25 minutes before my shift. I didnt hear it because it did not sound. it is an older phone. Since there are 2 reasons given, why am I being denied and ineligible? Is this something I can discuss with the employer or will it hurt my case?

    1. Robert,

      Please go back to the adjudicator immediately or write to him/her about the situation. Also, note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose their job due to involuntary reasons.

  18. Hi, I am new to the Illinois and Iowa pay laws. The previous payroll person said that because there is a reciprocal agreement we (the Employer) do not have to pay unemployment in Illinois because these employees work in Iowa. My question is do we pay unemployment taxes to Iowa for those employees that live in Illinois?

  19. If my hubby works in Mo. but is a union member & resident of Illinois, can he collect unemployment from Illinois? TY!

    1. Kari,

      If your husband lost the job due to involuntary reasons, he should be applying from the state where his last employment was based.

  20. I put my two weeks in at my job because i was moving out of town but plans came abrupt and i couldn’t finish working because my mom was on her death bed will i be eligible for benefits. I work there for 3 1/2 years and 6 months. I called friday and couldn’t call off saturday because i was at the hospital this whole time

    1. Candace,

      I am sorry to hear about your mother. Unfortunately, personal reasons are generally not considered while handing out UI benefits. I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to confirm.

      1. Same thing here after 10 years. I just received a letter stating that my payment was withheld what does this mean

        1. Ruth,

          It may be a temporary hold. Please call the Claims Center for clarification and also to check if there is anything you can do to release the hold.

  21. Hi i was wondering if you guys wouldn’t mind answering a question for me, do u all have any ties to the department of apprenticeship as far as I’m helping to tattoo apprenticeship programs into a registered apprentice trade program because I have been trying to do this since 2015 And I would like to know what’s going on…….(708)-270-8646

      1. When I first started my job. I was told I probably wouldnt be able to get unemployment. The lady I take care of ended up in the hospital after 6 years. We didnt think she would be in there but a week or two. So I never applied for UI benefits. Well after 5 weeks they finally told us my lady would be in a rehab center for awhile until she got her strength back. So I applied for UI just to see if I was able to get it. Figured it was worth a shot. What are the chances of getting back pay for the 5 weeks I wasnt working before I applied. I’m just went back to work. When I first filed I was told to wait awhile before I applied for backpay. Because I wouldnt get any benefits until they made a decision.

        1. Cathy,

          The benefits will only begin once you’ve been approved and start claiming weekly payments on phone/website. Please call the Claims Center to understand more about your claim file.

  22. Dear Sirs:

    I was offered a sales job that is seasonal. During one month in the winter, I would be laid off and was told I would collect unemployment benefits. Eight years ago I lost my job and collected unemployment benefits at the time. The economy was very bad and I had no choice but to collect unemployment benefits for all 52 weeks until they were stopped. My understanding is that, since I exhausted all of my unemployment benefits 8 years ago, I no longer qualify for unemployment benefits again. Is this true? If so, I may decline this job opportunity as I cannot go a month without any income.

    1. Dan,

      Before you make a decision, please call the Unemployment Office to check if you’re eligible to claim.

  23. My Brother was on Unemployment and did not receive his w2 yet. What does he need to do, so he can file his taxes.

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