Illinois Unemployment Extension
Does Illinois Offer Extended Benefits?
If you live in the state of Illinois and become unemployed through no fault of your own, you are able to collect unemployment insurance benefits for 26 weeks. But what happens if – while making an honest attempt to find a new job – you still haven’t found one at the end of those 26 weeks? In certain instances, there are options for an extended benefit. However, these extended benefits programs are generally only available during periods of high unemployment, natural disasters, or pandemics.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Self-employed workers, gig workers, and contract workers who were not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits were eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. PUA, as it’s called shorthand, expired on September 4th, 2021. However, when it was available, it provided relief to those denied regular UI benefits.
PUA recipients had to submit their 1040 tax forms for the 2019 and 2020 tax years, depending on whether they applied for PUA in 2020 or 2021. PUA benefit recipients also needed to state that they were unable to work for a reason related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Eligibility for PUA in terms of Covid might include reasons such as: becoming sick with Covid, having to take care of a family member with Covid, needing to provide childcare because of school closure due to Covid, or even not wanting to go to a work setting where Covid-related protocols were not being enforced. People collecting PUA were also exempt from the regular requirements such as the Illinois unemployment work search.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provided benefit recipients with an additional $300 each week they filed for regular Illinois unemployment or PUA. As such, they were not technically extended unemployment benefits, but rather additional benefits for those filing for regular unemployment benefits and/or those filing for the Illinois unemployment extension.
These FPUC benefits were available federally from December 27, 2020, until September 4th, 2021—but the Illinois Department of Economic Security did not begin paying them out until January 4th, 2021. Anyone receiving even $1 of unemployment compensation received these benefits, and there was no separate application process for these supplemental benefits. Recipients were paid alongside the state benefits paid out as an unemployment claim.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation was provided to those collecting regular unemployment insurance who exhausted all their weeks of benefit collection, and then the 13 weeks of extended benefits provided by the state.
This program also ended on September 4th, 2021. PEUC benefits were available to jobless claimants for an additional 13 weeks. Combined with the 13 weeks of Illinois EB, this means a jobless claimant could have collected unemployment for up to 52 weeks.
Although PEUC was paid out by the state, it was a program that received federal funding across the United States to help Americans impacted by the Corona Pandemic with lost wages assistance.
Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
The Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation program was part of the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020. This provided an additional $100 per week to anyone collecting unemployment who was previously employed and also an independent contractor earning at least $5,000 during the applicable base period for determining their benefit amounts.
Note that this particular type of jobless benefit was not available to those collecting PUA benefits or regular benefits. But those recipients of MEUC who met the eligibility requirements of collecting even just $1 of mixed earners unemployment compensation could indeed also collect the $300 additional benefits of FPUC paid by the federal government.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)
Emergency Unemployment Compensation is a program that provides federally funded extended unemployment compensation benefits during emergencies. The EUC Program was enactment on June 30, 2008. The most recent extension to the EUC Program became effective January 06, 2013, extending the program through December 28, 2013. These benefits change from one state to another as it is dependent on the unemployment rate of the state. Congress has enacted various tiers over the years.
Benefits under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program are payable to individuals who:
- Have exhausted all weeks payable under the Regular Unemployment Insurance Compensation Program and
- Continue to meet all applicable eligibility requirements.
During national emergencies, an individual may be eligible to receive up to a maximum of 37 paid weeks under the EUC program. Eligibility requirements are applicable.
The number of weeks stated below applies to claimants who have no deductions or reductions of their weekly benefit amount payments.
An individual must exhaust the number of payable weeks available in one Tier before collecting benefits on the next Tier.
The payable weeks are divided into multiple EUC Tiers as follows:
|EUC TIERS||WEEKS AVAILABLE|
|Tier 1||14 weeks|
|Tier 2||14 weeks|
|Tier 3||9 weeks|
When the EUC claim has been established, you will receive a Notice from IDES regarding the EUC claim. Along with the notice, you will also receive a packet with instructions on when to report to your local office for Reemployment Services/Reemployment Eligibility Assessment Program. Participation in this assessment is required to determine your continued eligibility for EUC benefits.
The packet will also provide you with information on the requirements to remain eligible for EUC benefits.
Illinois Extended Benefits (EB)
Extended benefits in Illinois are generally not available unless the unemployment rate is extremely high. However, they were available during the COVID pandemic. These extended benefits provided an additional 13 weeks of unemployment relief to those claimants who had already exhausted their 26 weeks of regular unemployment.
If you lose your job, it’s important to look at your unemployment insurance as a temporary measure. Using the Illinois unemployment calculator will help you gauge the total dollar amount of benefits you will be able to collect, so you can plan out your personal finances accordingly. Remember that outside of certain circumstances like a pandemic or extreme economic recession, you will not be able to rely on the possibility of extended benefits.
Regarding any of these expired programs, you might be wondering if it is possible to file a claim for unemployment back pay if you missed filing for any of these extended benefits during the pandemic. Unfortunately, the IDES stopped accepting applications after October 6th, 2021. However, any application that was submitted before then was reviewed and provided with a determination.
Some individuals during the COVID Pandemic received PUA overpayments to the tune of somewhere around $125 million. Overpayment recipients received or will receive a Request for Waiver of Recovery of PUA Overpayment Questionnaire in the mail, which they must fill out and return. They will not have to return the overpayment if it was collected through no fault of the claimant and returning the overpayment would violate equity and good conscience.