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

Updated : April 7th, 2022

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

    • Hi Mary,

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

  4. 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

    • 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.

  5. 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?

    • 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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??

  9. 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 ?

  10. 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???


  12. 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,

  13. 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

  14. 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?

  15. 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

    • 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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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