Illinois Unemployment Weekly Claims

Once you are clear to receive unemployment benefits, the next step is to prepare yourself for weekly certification. In order to keep receiving an unemployment check every week you must file a weekly claim or continued claim or weekly certification.
The term “certify” or “claim certification” is used to describe how you claim weeks of unemployment and received benefits if you meet the eligibility requriements. This term is used because you are certifying on a biweekly basis by answering a set of questions.

Certification Questions –

Below is a list of questions that will be asked during the certification process. Review and prepare the answers before you certify to ensure quick, accurate certification. Your answers to the questions will determine your eligibility for benefits. Also, depending on the program from which you are receiving benefits, you may be asked additional questions.

1. Have you received or will you receive holiday pay during the period of Sunday (week 1 beginning date) through Saturday (week 2 ending date)?
Tip: Make sure you have your holiday pay amount available.
If yes, enter the gross amount of your holiday pay (before deductions) for each week.

2. Did you work during the period of Sunday (week 1 beginning date) through Saturday (week 2 ending date)? Tip: Have your gross earnings before taxes and other deductions available.
If yes, enter the total amount of earnings (before deductions) for each week.

3. Has your dependency status changed during this certification period?
Were you able and available to work each day during your normal work week?
If no, enter the number of days you were unavailable for work in each of the weeks.

4. Did you actively look for work for the week of Sunday (week 1 beginning date) through Saturday (week 2 ending date)?

5. Are you receiving or have you applied for primary Social Security benefits?

6. Other than Social Security, are you receiving or have you applied for a retirement or disability pension?
If yes, has the amount changed?

7. Did you attend school or receive training?
If yes, did you attend all scheduled training courses?
If no, enter the number of days that you did not attend class.

8. Do you have a current workers’ compensation claim or do you expect to receive workers’ compensation for a temporary disability?

These questions not only talk about what will be asked, they are a useful insight into how you must prepare yourself during the week and also what should be done each week to receive benefits continually.

Weekly Claim Options –

On your scheduled certification day, there are two ways to claim your weeks of benefits:

  • Certify Online (login required)
  • Call using the automated telephone service, Tele-Serve (English & Spanish)

Call Tele-Serve:
(312) 338-4337
5:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

1-800-662-3943 (TDD/TTY)
Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Certifications are done every two weeks on your assigned call day.

  1. I have a work injury with ongoing treatments. I was put on a weight limit restriction and have to wear a brace for 4 weeks. I have no money coming in from workman’s comp. My inquiry is regarding the question, “Do you have a current workers’ compensation claim or do you expect to receive workers’ compensation for a temporary disability?”. With the information that I have provided, would that be yes or no to that question?

    • Dear Robin,
      So far you’ve done everything possible, by filing a WC claim. However, it’s not possible to determine if you’ll get WC benefits, or when. The process is complex, and the agency that processes claims is understaffed (just like SSI/SDDI disability). Your best course of action is to call the WC office and speak with your claims rep. If you’ve received a letter or email from the WC office, that will be a starting point. You can receive worker’s comp for an injury that is expected to get better, because you are being compensated for lost productivity. Besides, it’s not possible to know if you will be back to 100% on the job.


  2. What if you received paid training but are not yet working? I only trained for 3 hours for 3 days at minimum wade so it’s not much. Will I still receive at least partial benefits until I actually start working.

    • Tabitha,

      To qualify for UI benefits, you should ideally be on the payroll of your employer, worked and earned during the last 4-5 calendar quarters. I suggest you use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

      • If I’m
        Back to work do I still need to certify bi weekly? Or do I just call back when I need to re open my claim

      • I may have answered the soical security question with a yes on accident on the telephone teleserve . I think I went to fast and answered yes,but I don’t receive soical security. What can I do

        • James,

          Please lookout for an option to speak to a claims rep or log in to your account online for relevant options.

  3. While certifying this morning 3/23/21, as usual Tuesday’s bi weekly, I printed out my certification which was fine, but looked at the date for next certification and it said next certification date is 3/30/21. That’s only 1 week. It should say 4/6/21, or 2 weeks. Is this correct?, or an error? Please reply and explain. If I try on the 30th and I get a too early, then I’ll do it as normal on 4/6/21. Can you please help me understand? Thanks.

    • Bob,

      There may have been a change in the claim mechanism. Please log off and log back in and check again. If it still shows the same, please file as required.

  4. I cannot certify, even on my designated days. And when I try to contact the ides phone number it just tells me “Unusually large call volume” then it just hangs up

      • I got paid over the amount of my unemployment benefits. I need to do an additional claim. Do i do the additional claim before my certification day? Or after I certify. I don’t want to get kick out the system.

      • I’m having the same issue and have been calling every day for hours for weeks. I didn’t receive a certification day and I’ve been trying online each day too and it still won’t let me certify.

        • Tom,

          There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

  5. I am trying to obtain the location of my unemployment office. My zip code is
    60660. Is the correct unemployment office location at 33 S. State Street in downtown Chicago, Il?

  6. Tried to certify for benefits for previous two weeks (returned to work the second week)…was only given certification dates for first week, which is fine, but after entering all required info never got to last page to confirm and print my answers or acknowledge I completed my certification because of software error. Do I recertify for third attempt or am I ok?

  7. I was granted benefits, and was supposed to certify last week. I didn’t, due to an accident and was hospitalized. Should I certify now or wait till my next certification date?

    • Mike,

      Get well soon.

      Please certify when the window is open. I am not sure if the system will let you claim during a non-operating time.

  8. My residence is in Florida. My employer is in Illinois. Do I file for unemployment due to lay-off in Illinois or Florida? Thank you.

    • Please file for UI benefits from the state where your employer is based since they would remit taxes there.

  9. I don’t understand illinois unemployment, do I file every sunday and certify every other Monday which is my certification day or do I only file every other monday?

  10. Applied online and was sent a letter and given an amount to expect on a debit card that would come out within 7 days. Also given my certification day of 3/8/15. However, I then got a letter telling me to prove my identity and that I had till 3/11 to send the documents. I faxed in the required documents on Sunday 2/28/16.

    So will my debit card be held up while they verify my identity? How long does the process to verify identity take?

    • The claim will be withheld until the verification is complete. Should not take them more than 5 days I suppose.

      Please call the claims center if you so not hear from them shortly.

  11. I just signed up, unfortunately. My concern is that I cannot find how many search contacts I am required to provide to make the weekly certification. Some generic sites say two, some say three. In short, how many weekly contacts am I required to produce to certify in Illinois?

      • I’m in illinois also…i had my first certification day I certified and now a week later still haven’t received my benifits

        • Johnathan,

          There might be a delay due to the pendency. Please continue following up at regular intervals.

      • Please note this is a private forum and we do not have access to your claim file. You should be able to check the payment status online.

    • It would be great if you can call the claims center on the official phone numbers provided to get precise information.

  12. tryed calling to certifi weeks of unemployment phone system lets me answer all questions then keeps repeating not certifing my benifits

    • Please check if you have an option to speak to a representative. Looks like this needs human intervention.

  13. I am trying to file certification for my last week of unemployment. I did not work the first week , but worked the second week. Will not let me enter zero for the 1st weeks gross wages.

    • You must receive communication from the labor dept.

      Initial claims will take up to 10 working days to be processed.

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