Initial state unemployment benefits in Illinois are available for a maximum of 26 weeks. To qualify for benefits, you must meet certain requirements relating to your earned income, the length of time you worked and the reason for your job separation. Most people who quit their jobs without a good reason do not qualify for compensation.
Illinois provides unemployment compensation for out-of-work residents who are searching for employment. Those who exhaust their first level of state benefits as of 2011 may qualify for two unemployment extension programs in Illinois: the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (EUC) and the state Extended Benefits (EB) program. If you qualify for all three levels of benefits, you can receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment compensation.
Initial Illinois Unemployment Benefits
Federal Unemployment Extension
If you are unable to find suitable employment before your initial benefits expire, you may be eligible to receive an extension under the federal EUC program. EUC offers extended compensation in four separate benefit tiers of 20 weeks, 14 weeks, 13 weeks, and six weeks, respectively.
Illinois State Extended Benefits
After EUC benefits run out, you may qualify for the Illinois state EB program, which offers you another 20-week extension of unemployment compensation. If you’re approved for EB, you must increase your work search efforts and keep a written record of the employers you meet, the dates you have interviews and the results of each meeting. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will disqualify you from receiving EB benefits if you don’t make regular attempts to find work.
Applying for Illinois Unemployment Extensions
If you qualify for EUC benefits, you’ll receive a notice from IDES when it’s time to complete an application. If your application for EUC is approved, the IDES will automatically move you to each tier as you exhaust your available benefits. Similarly, when you near the end of your EUC benefits, IDES will send you another notice with an application to apply for EB benefits.
- Illinois Department of Employment Security: Federal Extensions for Unemployment Benefit Programs
- Illinois Department of Employment Security: Unemployment Insurance (UI)
- Illinois Department of Employment Security: What Every Worker Should Know About Unemployment Insurance
- Illinois Department of Employment Security: Who is Eligible for Unemployment Insurance?
- Illinois Department of Employment Security: Extended Benefits Work Search Form
- Illinois Department of Employment Security: Weekly Claim for State Extended Benefits (SEB)