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A Guide to Unemployment Benefits in Illinois

Unemployment insurance benefits in Illinois partially replace lost wages when Illinois workers have lost employment through no fault of their own.

Facing unemployment can be scary, especially when you have dependents to provide for as an employee. Whether someone you love is facing issues with employment security, or you’ve recently found yourself without sufficient income, consider applying for the unemployment benefits Illinois has to offer. At Benefits.com, we helping people claim the benefits they qualify for, especially Illinois residents, and created this Illinois unemployment benefits application guide to walk you through the process.

Understanding Illinois Unemployment Benefits 

Unemployment benefits are amounts of money you can apply for to help float you between jobs—as long as you meet eligibility requirements which we’ll discuss shortly. Though each state has its various limits and regulations for the benefit payment an individual can receive, the program is possible through a partnership between both state and federal governments in the United States. The Illinois Department of Unemployment is called the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), and it’s in charge of the unemployment benefits Illinois offers to its residents, people looking to apply should visit their website to get started.

So, where does this money come from? Unemployment benefits are funded by employer payroll taxes in the United States(not employee taxes), which means employers pay into a fund as a sort of insurance for their employees on behalf of their unemployment. In fact, unemployment benefits are typically referred to as “unemployment insurance,” so you can think of it as a fund to ensure these regular unemployment benefits if there’s a possibility of becoming unemployed. If you find yourself unemployed and you meet the Illinois unemployment eligibility criteria for Illinois residents, then you’ll get to pull on that insurance money until you find something else.

Illinois Unemployment Services

Private WebsiteIllinois Unemployment
Apply OnlineFile a Claim
Weekly CertificationFile a Weekly Claim
Appeal a DenialRequest a Hearing
Find a Local OfficeCareer Center Locations
Report FraudBenefits Fraud
Coronavirus UpdatesCOVID-19 Assistance

Eligibility Criteria for Unemployment Benefits in Illinois:

So what are the specifics for qualifying for these unemployment benefits? Take a look.

  1. You must have earned a minimum of $1,600 in the last 12 months (also known as your base period). However, it must be broken up. When the government looks at your base period, they break it up into quarters, or 3-month increments. Of the $1,600+ you must have earned during your base period, $440 of that must have been earned in a different quarter than the quarter in which you earned the most.
    1. For example, if you made $500 in the first quarter, $600 in the second, $300 in the third, and $200 in the fourth ($1,600 total), then you’d see that your most profitable quarter was the second when you earned $600. To be eligible, you must make $440 during a quarter that was not your most profitable, so in this example, you’d need to make at least $440 in the first, third, or fourth quarters.
  2. Your previous employer must be subject to Illinois’ unemployment laws (see pages 28-29). This means that you were working in a job covered by Illinois unemployment insurance (which your employer would have been paying). An example of a job that is not covered by Illinois unemployment insurance is an elected official in your town. You can’t receive unemployment benefits just because your term ended.
  3. You must be entirely out of work or be working part-time because full-time work is not available. Also, your earnings from your base period must be below a set threshold which will be determined when you first file your claim.
    1. Note: Receiving other benefits like Social Security disability could hurt your chances of qualifying for unemployment and vice versa.
  4. You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. This means that you cannot have:
    1. voluntarily quit your job without good cause attributable to your employer;
    2. been discharged for misconduct in connection with your work;
    3. been discharged for a felony or theft in connection with your work; or 
    4. are out of work because of a labor dispute.
  5. You must be able and available to work. You cannot receive benefits if you are a student and, because of that, you aren’t available to work certain days or times. You also cannot receive benefits for days you are on vacation, are sick, or are otherwise unable to work due to disability, family responsibilities, lack of transportation, etc.
  6. You must be actively seeking a job and be willing to accept any suitable job offered. You’ll need to keep track of your job search activity (resumes submitted, interviews completed, etc.) for every week that you claim benefits. You’ll need to be ready to produce that document at any time to continue receiving your regular unemployment benefits.

Benefit Payments and Duration

Base PeriodFirst 4 of the last 5 completed quarters
Alt Base PeriodLast 4 completed quarters
Duration of BenefitsWeekly PaymentMaximum Benefits Amount (1 year)
26 weeks$51$669$17,342

How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits in Illinois: 

Now we’ll cover the nitty-gritty details of actually applying for unemployment benefits in Illinois.

  1. Once you meet the eligibility items we discussed above, you can file your Illinois unemployment claim here by clicking the “File a Claim” button near the top of the page.
  2. You’ll be taken to a page that lists 10 things you should know about filing a claim. Read it, then near the bottom click the “File an Unemployment Insurance Claim” button.
  3. Create an ILogin account and follow the instructions sent to your email to create a password, then revisit the 10 Things You Should Know page and click the “File an Unemployment Insurance Claim” button again. This time instead of registering, click “Sign In.”
  4. Once you’re logged in you’ll see “My Apps” near the top of your screen. You’ll also see three “State of Illinois” apps underneath that. Click on the IDES app, then click the “Click Here” button. Fill out the information needed to register for benefits and submit it.
    1. Note: You’ll need personal documentation such as your social security number and driver’s license as well as the social security numbers and birth certificates of any dependents you are claiming.
  5. After 7-10 days you’ll receive a UI Finding letter in the mail that will tell you your benefit amount and the day you should “certify,” or report any wages and other earned, social security disability benefits information about money received and any relevant changes, every two weeks. This certification determines your eligibility on an ongoing basis.
  6. Read the well-written “I Filed My Claim, What Happens Now?” document on the Unemployment Benefits Illinois website to learn about your Illinois unemployment claim status and what to expect during the certification process. 

Calculating Unemployment Benefits in Illinois: 

  • If you’d like to try and calculate your unemployment benefits before going through the process of submitting a claim, or if you’d like to get a general idea of what to expect before your UI Finding letter arrives, claimants should take a look at Illinois’ Weekly Benefit Table that breaks everything down for you. You’ll need to know the wages you earned in the highest two quarters of your base period or your average wage during your base period per week, and the number of dependents you claimed.

Appealing Denied Unemployment Claims in Illinois: 

The Illinois unemployment appeals process doesn’t have to be complicated. There are two ways to appeal a denied unemployment compensation claim. The first is in regard to your UI Finding letter. If your UI Finding letter says your benefit amount is $0, then that means there’s no record of you receiving enough funds during your base period to qualify. If you did work and earn enough to qualify, you’ll need to upload appropriate documentation as soon as possible.

The second way to appeal is to fill out a Request for Reconsideration of Claims Adjudicator’s Determination document with your reasons and any proof you have. If the reconsideration is denied, an appeal is automatically sent to an IDES administrative law judge (“Referee”). You’ll receive a date and time for you to have a recorded hearing via phone with the Referee in which you can present your case.

If you feel the Referee also made an incorrect decision in denying you unemployment benefits in Illinois, then you can appeal to the Board of Review within 30 days by filling out the Notice of Appeal / Board of Review document.

Illinois Unemployment Office Locations

Edwards County Unemployment Office334 Industrial DriveRoute 4 Box 136Albion, IL 62806618-445-2379
Union County Unemployment Office1000 N. Main StreetPO Box 439Anna, IL 62906618-833-7431
Cook County Unemployment Office723 Algonquin RoadJim Ballee Resource CenterArlington Heights, IL 60005847-437-9424
Kane County Unemployment Office143 First StreetBatavia, IL 60510630-762-2120
Cass County Unemployment Office109 White Pine LaneBeardstown, IL 62618217-323-1859
Unemployment Office – Belleville4519 West Main Street, FL 001Belleville, IL 62226618-277-3090
The Workforce Connection – Belvidere530 S. State St.Suite 105Belvidere, IL 61008815-547-9616
Kankakee Workforce Services450 N. KinzieKankakee Community CollegeBradley, IL 60915815-802-8960
Illinois Employment and Training Center2207 Poplar StreetCairo, IL 62914618-734-9034
Career Link – Fulton County111 N. Main StreetFulton SquareCanton, IL 61520309-647-2946
Unemployment Office – Carlinville116 S. Plum St.P.O. Box 260Carlinville, IL 62626217-854-9642
Unemployment Office – Clinton County930 Fairfax StreetCarlyle, IL 62231618-594-4520
Unemployment Office – Carmi1700 College Ave.Carmi, IL 62821618-252-6020
Unemployment Office – Carterville700 Logan College DriveCarterville, IL 62918618-985-2828
Unemployment Office – Centralia2005 East McCord St.Centralia, IL 62801618-545-3250
Unemployment Office – Centralia27210 College RoadCentralia, IL 62801618-545-3113
Unemployment Office – Champaign1307 North Mattis Ave.Room 202Champaign, IL 61821217-531-8282
Career Center – Randolph County1 Taylor StreetSuite 104Chester, IL 62233618-826-4709
America Works of Illinois, Inc.205 W. Randolph StreetSuite 920Chicago, IL 60606312-726-5627
Chicago Workforce Center4314 S. Cottage Grove AveSecond FloorChicago, IL 60653773-538-5627
Unemployment Office – Pilsen1700 W. 18th St.Chicago, IL 60608312-994-8300
Northside American Job Center1145 W. WilsonSuite 1917Chicago, IL 60640773-334-4747
Job Center – Daley College7500 S. Pulaski Rd.Building 100Chicago, IL 60652773-884-7000
American Job Center – Daley College7500 South Pulaski RoadBuilding 100Chicago, IL 60652773-884-7000
Westside American Job Center605 S. Albany AvenueFirst FloorChicago, IL 60612773-722-3885
American Job Center at Prairie State College202 S. Halsted St.ATOC Building, Suite 148Chicago Heights, IL 60411708-709-7975
Vermilion County Workforce Development Center407 North FranklinDanville, IL 61832217-442-0296
Illinois workNet Center – Decatur757 West Pershing RoadDecatur, IL 62526217-875-8750
DeKalb Workforce Development Office650B North Peace RoadDekalb, IL 60115815-901-0177
BEST Inc. – Dixon Access Site112 E. 2nd St.Dixon, IL 61021815-288-1260
Illinois workNet Center – Effingham2311 Hoffman Dr.Effingham, IL 62401217-342-4382
Kane County – Unemployment Office270 N. GroveElgin, IL 60120847-742-2411
Hardin/Pope County Affiliate Center147 North Main StreetElizabethtown, IL 62931618-287-8880
Career Link – Woodford County1950 S. Main StreetEureka, IL 61530309-467-4445
Wayne County Satellite2004 W. Delaware StreetFairfield, IL 62837618-842-2962
The Workforce Connection – Freeport27 W. StephensonFreeport, IL 61032815-315-1830
Unemployment Office – Galena9483 W. US Highway 20Galena, IL 61036815-777-6177
Lake County Workforce Development19351 W. Washington St.College of Lake County C175Grayslake, IL 60030847-986-1511
Southwestern Illinois workNet – Bond County209 North Third St.,Suite CGreenville, IL 62246618-545-3473
Saline County Unemployment Office14 Veterans DriveHarrisburg, IL 62946618-252-2680
Career Link – Mason County114 W. Adams StreetHavana, IL 62644309-543-1035
Career Link – Marshall County509 Front StreetHenry, IL 61537309-364-4120
The Job Center – Jacksonville814 West StreetJacksonville, IL 62650217-243-5846
The Job Center – Jerseyville301 West ExchangeJerseyville, IL 62052618-498-1778
IDES North Chicago Street250 North Chicago StreetJoliet, IL 60432815-740-5101
Workforce Center of Will County2400 Glenwood AvenueJoliet, IL 60435815-727-4444
Pulaski County Satellite – Karnak530 West WashingtonP.O. Box 298Karnak, IL 62956618-634-2201
Illinois Worknet Center – Lawrenceville700 E State StreetP.O. Box 96Lawrenceville, IL 62439618-943-4442
Illinois workNet Center – Logan County2201 Woodlawn RoadHeartland Community College #200Lincoln, IL 62656217-558-4287
workNet Center- DuPage2525 Cabot DriveSuite 302Lisle, IL 60532630-955-2030
The Job Center- Litchfield, An Illinois workNet Center108 E Columbian Blvd. SouthUnit  BLitchfield, IL 62056217-324-2640
McDonough County Workforce Office440 N. LafayetteSuite 110Macomb, IL 61455309-837-1280
Unemployment Office – Marion3000 W DeYoung St Suite 800-BMarion, IL 62959618-998-9570
CEFS, An Illinois workNet Partner – Mattoon109 N. 16th St.Mattoon, IL 61938217-279-0371
West Suburban Cook County American Job Center1701 South 1st AvenueSuite 10Maywood, IL 60153708-223-2652
Hamilton County Unemployment Office110 E. JeffersonMcLeansboro, IL 62859618-643-2161
Massac County Satellite1 Superman Square Room 1CMetropolis, IL 62960618-524-2941
Warren County Workforce Office1025 S. 2nd StreetMonmouth, IL 61462309-734-4745
Illinois workNet Center – Piatt County1115 N. State St.Suite 111Monticello, IL 61856217-762-8404
Grundy Workforce Services725 School StreetMorris, IL 60450815-942-0566
Wabash County Unemployment Office119 W 12th StreetMt. Carmel, IL 62863618-262-4151
Unemployment Office – Mt. Carroll 301 N. MainMt. Carroll, IL 61053815-244-2522
Brown County Workforce Office206 S. West Cross St.Mt. Sterling, IL 62353217-285-2216
Unemployment Office — Washington County101 E. St. Louis St.Nashville, IL 62263618-327-4191
Career Link- McLean County705 E. Lincoln Street Suite 110Normal, IL 61761309-807-1386
Cook County American Job Center7222 W Cermak Rd Suite 301North Riverside, IL 60546708-222-3100
Illinois Valley Community College Career Services815 N. Orlando Smith Ave.Oglesby, IL 61348815-224-0370
Unemployment Office – Olney305 North West Street Room 208AOlney, IL 62450618-392-7777
Illinois workNet Center – Ford County258 W. State St.Paxton, IL 60957217-579-1010
Career Link – Tazewell County2956 Court StreetPekin, IL 61554309-347-8492
Career Link – Peoria County406 Elm StreetPO Box 5021Peoria, IL 61605309-321-0260
Unemployment Office – Menard County117 North 7thMenard County Housing AuthorityPetersburg, IL 62675217-558-4268
Illinois workNet Center – Menard County117 N. 7th StreetPetersburg, IL 62675217-558-4268
Pike County Workforce Center120 S. Madison StreetPittsfield, IL 62363217-285-2216
Livingston Workforce Services211 E Madison Street Suite 3Pontiac, IL 61764309-268-8280
Unemployment Office – Princeton225 E. Backbone Rd.PO Box 597Princeton, IL 61356815-872-0255
Quincy Workforce Service Center107 N. 3rdQuincy, IL 62301309-671-3157
Illinois WorkNet Center – Robinson102 W. Main St.Suite 283, P.O. Box  838Robinson, IL 62454618-544-3858
American Job Center500 42nd StreetRock Island, IL 61201-2155309-788-7587
The Workforce Connection – Rockford303 N. Main St.Rockford, IL 61101815-547-9616
Schuyler County Workforce Office233 N. Congress StreetRushville, IL 62681217-322-6916
The Job Center – Shelbyville515 North CedarShelbyville, IL 62565217-774-5550
Safer Foundation (South Holland)249 W. 162nd StreetSouth Holland, IL 60473708-596-0037
Illinois workNet Center – Springfield1300 South Ninth StreetSpringfield, IL 62703217-524-5996
NCI Works One Stop Center – Sterling2323 E. LincolnwaySterling, IL 61350815-433-4550
Illinois workNet Center – Christian County800 Spresser StreetSouth Building Room 1109Taylorville, IL 62568217-558-4283
Pulaski County Satellite8364 Shawnee College RoadShawnee Community CollegeUllin, IL 62992618-634-3293
Illinois WorkNet Center – Vandalia517 West GallatinVandalia, IL 62471618-283-2780
Illinois Worknet – Monroe County100 South Main Street Room 19Waterloo, IL 62298618-939-3332
Illinois workNet Center – Iroquois County1001 East Grant StreetWatseka, IL 60970815-432-5246
Job Center of Lake County – Waukegan1 North Genesee, 1st FloorWaukegan, IL 60085847-377-3450
Illinois workNet – Wood River101 East Edwardsville RoadWood River, IL 62095618-296-4301
McHenry County Workforce Center500 Russel CourtWoodstock, IL 60098815-338-7100
Career Link – Stark County106 E. Williams StreetWyoming, IL 61491309-606-9060
Illinois WorkNet Center – Kendall811 West John StreetYorkville, IL 60560630-553-8303 

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