Rules for Unemployment in Illinois


Illinois unemployment benefits are based on a set of guidelines that determine who can collect them and how much they can collect. All of these rules stem from the Illinois unemployment compensation laws. The Illinois Department of Employment Security enforces these rules as it reviews your application, processes your claim and distributes your payments. By understanding rules of eligibility, appeals and compensation, you may have an easier time navigating the Illinois unemployment compensation program.

Eligibility Rules

To collect Illinois unemployment, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements set by state law. You must be totally or partially unemployed but still ready, willing and able to work. You must have earned at least $1,600 in insured wages during your base period, and $440 of it must be outside your highest earning quarter. You also must register for the Illinois SkillsMatch service, a job search service sponsored IDES.

Appeal Rules

Both you and your former employer have the right to appeal an unemployment determination within 30 days of the decision. IDES sets an appeal hearing during which each side can present evidence that supports its claim. An impartial referee oversees the process and makes a decision regarding the appeal. While going through the appeal process, you must continue to follow weekly claims certifications, but you will not receive any payments. If your appeal is approved, you receive those back payments on the next payment day.

Compensation Rules

IDES determines your weekly benefit amount and maximum benefit amount by reviewing wages you earned from insured work during your base period. Your base period is the first four of the last five full calendar quarters before you filed your claim. State laws prevent you from earning more than $385 per week in compensation and earning more than $10, 010 per benefit year.

Payment Rules

Illinois payments are distributed every other week. You must log in to the website or call the claims line to file a weekly claims certification on your designated biweekly day to receive payments. You answer a series of questions about your eligibility for each of the previous two weeks. The IDES only distributes payments by two methods. The default is the prepaid debit card the state sends you after it approves your claim. If you fill out a form with your bank information, you can request your benefits be direct deposited into your bank account.

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