Illinois Unemployment

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File for Unemployment in Illinois

Unemployment applications are filed one of severals ways: using the IDES online system, in person, which sometimes results in long wait times or over the phone. Once you go through the application process and submit your claim you will then receive notice if you are eligible for any unemployment benefits. The following will discuss the steps on how to file for unemployment benefits and how to file weekly claims in the state of Illinois.

Unemployment Application and Initial Claim

File Your Unemployment Application and Initial Claim Process

There are three ways to file for unemployment insurance in Illinois.

  1. The easiest and most efficient way to file a claim is to use the IDES online system provided by the state of Illinois. Upon entering the site, you will be asked to create a username and password. You’ll then follow the on-screen instructions through the steps to file a new claim or check the status of an existing one. Once you verify your email, you will then be asked to create a personal PIN to reference your account. Make sure to have the necessary paperwork on hand to help assist filling out your application. The process should take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Filing for unemployment should be done in the state in which you were employed. If you live in a different state from which you worked, or have since moved out of the state from where you worked, you should file your claim for unemployment benefits within the state in which you were employed.

Once you have submitted your claim online at or in person, you will receive an email or letter with your unemployment insurance claimant wage information. This might take about two weeks after submission of your application. If after two weeks you have not received an approval or denial letter, call to inquire about your application. The letter will state on which day you should certify your unemployment benefits to start receiving them.

Every claimant must complete the certification process by phone or online. This part of the process requires you to answer some questions and to report your gross wages.

  • It is beneficial to know how your wages are reported. Note the difference between wages paid and wages earned. The later being wages before any tax deductions. For example, if you were fired on a Friday, but worked Monday through Thursday, you will need to know how much you earned the days you worked to report to IDES.
  • To certify for unemployment benefits by phone, call from 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the day that was stated in your benefit letter from IDES or what is referred to as your designated call day. (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday).
  • Certify online through IDES with your user ID and password.
  • You must re-certify your unemployment status every two weeks.

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If you miss your designated call in day, you can call in that Thursday or Friday of the same week. Payment of unemployment benefits will not begin until you certify your submission. Therefore, the longer you wait to call in, the longer it will take to start receiving your money.

At this point, you must choose your method of payment. The Illinois Department of Employment Security will by default, send you a debit card to use unless otherwise stated. If you prefer direct deposit, you must choose this option during the application process. Unemployment benefits take about three business days to process.

Documents and Information Needed During Filing

You must supply true and accurate information on your Unemployment Insurance application. Missing or incorrect information could result in denial or delayed processing time.

You will need the following documents and information to properly fill out your application and initial claim:

  • Two forms of ID are mandatory (State issued ID and driver’s license)
  • Social Security Number
  • The Social Security numbers of any dependents being claimed.
  • If you file for unemployment the same week your employment is terminated, you must bring proof of your gross income for all days of work that week.
  • Your contact information. This should include your home address and phone number so you can be contacted Monday - Friday during office hours of 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • An Alien Registration Number if you are a non-U.S. citizen.
  • Recently separated veterans must bring the Member 4 Copy of DD form 214/215
  • Your employment history including the dates you worked, total earnings, and the reason for separation for each employer for the past 18 months.
  • Bank account information if you opt for direct deposit for your unemployment benefits.

When determining your gross income for the 18 months prior to applying, remember that you must report ALL income. This includes gratuities and tips, and any cash received for performing a service or duty outside of your usual occupation.

If you’re filing for Illinois unemployment and live out of state visit:

At this point in must the process, you might be asked to participate in a survey either online or in person at your local IDES office.

Claim Weekly Benefits

Once your claim has been approved, you should claim your first week of benefits on the first Monday after your initial claim. To continue to receive unemployment benefits, you must certify each week that you are unemployed. In Illinois, claim weeks run from Monday through Sunday. You can certify online at Tele-Serve. To receive benefits promptly, you should submit your claims on Sunday for the previous week.

How to Claim Weekly Benefits

In order to receive benefits, you must certify on a regular basis. Once you receive your approval benefits letter from IDES, it will include your certification date where you will be able to start receiving benefits. Illinois requires you must certify every two weeks or you will not receive payments. There are two ways to certify, online being the fastest and easiest way to do so.

  • Certifying Online at:

    Claim Denials or Discrepancies

    When you file an unemployment claim, IDES will review your work history over the previous 18 ­month period. From time to time, discrepancies could arise that the department will consider for adjudication. This means that an adjudicator will conduct an audit to clarify any discrepancies in determining eligibility or disqualification. Adjudication can delay benefit payments and could take up to six weeks to reach a conclusion. To avoid adjudication, it is imperative for you to report your entire work history, even if you only worked one day or one hour at a particular job.

    In Illinois, if you are disqualified or denied from claiming UI benefits, a Notice of Determination will be mailed to you explaining why you were denied and how you can either re-qualify or file an appeal.

    Appeals Process for Denied Claims

    If you are disqualified from claiming UI benefits, you may appeal this decision. It is mandatory to complete a Request for Reconsideration of Claims Adjudicator's Determination form and either mail it or bring it to your local IDES office. A request for an appeal must be presented within 30 calendar days after the determination date listed on your eligibility notification. When the 30th day falls on a weekend or legal holiday, you must file for appeal by the following business day. You must note why you are requesting an appeal and provide sufficient evidence to back your claim. If the department approves your application for UI benefits, a past employer may file an appeal for an administrative hearing within the same timeframe.

    Once you file an appeal, the Appeals office will review your claim and send you a letter informing you of your hearing date. In the unlikely event that you missed your hearing date, you must provide a sufficient explanation and request another date within 10 days of your original date. Within the 24 hours before your hearing, all applicable exhibits or documents to prove your case need to be mailed or faxed to the IDES Appeals division.

    Office of Appeals Contact Information

    Contact information for appeal related questions:

    • If you already have an appeal hearing scheduled, contact:
      • Phone Number:(800) 244-5631
      • TTY:(866) 488-4016

    Chicago Office:

    IDES Appeals Division

    33 S State St, 8th Floor

    Chicago, IL 60603-2802

    Springfield Office:

    IDES Appeals Division

    607 East Adams, 9th Floor

    Springfield, IL 62701‚Äč