The unemployment insurance (UI) program is supervised by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). You can locate your nearest IDES office by visiting the official IDES website. You can also contact the office by telephone at 1-800-244-5631 if you have any questions regarding UI benefits and claims. The services are offered in both English and Spanish.
Eligibility & Benefits
In order to submit a claim for UI, you must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. In most cases, unemployment is the result of lay-offs or closing of business buildings. You must be actively seeking work actively, ready to work, and physically able to work. Additionally, if you have worked up until the week before you submit your application, you must submit your gross earnings for that week. As part of your continued eligibility, you must also meet the work search requirement which states that you must keep a record of job search. In keeping with this condition, you must also submit a work search record for every two weeks that you are receiving UI benefits. In some cases, you can be partially employed and still be eligible for benefits; however, your earnings must be less than your potential weekly benefit amount that you would receive through the UI program. Moreover, you must report all of your earnings to IDES for each week that you choose to take on temporary or contract-based work. In contrast, there are certain industries that are not covered by unemployment insurance, which include agriculture, railroad, government work, and domestic industries.
In terms of eligibility, you must have earned at least $1600 during the 12-month period preceding the quarter in which you submit your application for UI benefits. This period is known as your “base period,” and it is used to determine the maximum amount that you would be qualified to receive through the UI program. For instance, any claims that were filed between July and September 2013, the base period would begin in April 1 of the previous year and end 12-months later on March 31. However, an “alternate base period” can be used if you do not qualify for the traditional option. The alternate base period is considered the four most recently completed quarters of the calendar year.
The weekly benefit amount is also determined by using your earnings from your base period. The calculation requires the sum of the first two quarters from your base period. Then, you must take 47 percent of this sum and divide it by 26 to determine the amount of your weekly payments. In the state of Illinois, you can receive up to a maximum of $406 per week, and you can benefit from UI payments for up to 25 weeks. In general, beneficiaries will choose to receive payments through direct deposit.
How to File a Claim
There are two ways in which you can apply for UI benefits. The first option is to apply online, and the second option is to submit an application in person. You will need the following items before you can begin the application process:
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s license or identification card
- Date of birth, address, phone number
- Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
- The dates of employment, your earnings, and the reasons for separation from all positions held within the last 18 months
- Alien registration number (if applicable)