Illinois Unemployment Application Information

In areas where there are high levels of unemployment, unemployment extensions are enacted to further support you as you search for employment. In Illinois, you can receive both Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) after you've exhausted your normal benefits. Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) runs both extension levels, it also manages your eligibility and distributes your payments. You'll receive the same amount of payments as normal benefits only that the time is extended to 66 weeks of these extra benefits through extensions.

Illinois unemployment insurance laws oversee how much you can receive in compensation as well. The current amount is 50 percent of the total covered wages you earned during your two highest earning base period quarters. The law also dictates that no more than $330 per week should be paid. The total amount you can receive per claim is one-third of your total base period wages, but the law limits that to 26 times your weekly benefit amount.

Eligibility Requirements

Illinois unemployment insurance laws instruct IDES who is eligible to receive unemployment and whose claims must be denied. They mandate that you must have lost your job through no fault of your own yet willing, ready and able to work. You also must have earned enough income from previous employment during your base period, which is the first four of the last five full calendar quarters before you filed your claim. Total covered income must equal $1,134 and be one and a half times the income you earned in your highest earning quarter.

Reason for Unemployment - The state of Illinois disqualifies anyone to receive Unemployment benefits if terminated from employment for a reason such as not following the law or company policy. You will also not be covered if you left your job willingly, except where your employer broke certain employment laws. However, there are some exceptions which include leaving your job for health reasons, as a result of domestic violence or to follow a spouse in the military. When you apply for your benefits, the IDES will contact your former employer to verify the reason for your termination.

Financial Eligibility - IDES will also look at your previous income from a covered employer during your base period. Base period is the first four of the last five full calendar quarters before you filed for unemployment. To qualify, your covered wages during that time must total not less than $1600. At least $440 of your base period income ought to have been paid outside the calendar quarter in which you received your highest pay.

Work Availability -Since unemployment benefits are meant to be temporary, the IDES only grants benefits to able bodied adults who are available to work. However, being disabled doesn't automatically disqualify you from benefits; it only affects you if your disabilities prevent you from finding a job which in return prevents you from receiving unemployment insurance. If you are enrolled in school full-time or have other commitments that prevent you from finding work, you will not be considered available for work and therefore disqualified.

Job Search Requirements -IDES expects that you persistently seek new employment in order to receive unemployment benefits. You are therefore expected to register with the Illinois Skills Match program, a job placement service run by IDES as soon as you receive your approval letter. A good record of your job search must be maintained to show IDES any time they request it. This includes details like the date you applied for the job, name of the institution and the contact person. If you can't produce these details then you automatically lose your benefits.

Once IDES passes a decision on your unemployment insurance claim, the state laws gives you and your employer the right to appeal the decision. This is however duration of 30 calendar days from the date on the Notice of Determination. Both parties can table evidence that proves your side of the claim and an administrative law judge will make a decision on the appeal. Notice of the decision is received by mail from the appeals board.


Overpayments are instances where you receive more unemployment benefits than you are legally entitled to. Any amount overpaid must be paid back to the state, and it has the right to take it from your state tax returns. If your overpayment as a result of deliberate act on your side, it is referred to as unemployment compensation fraud and it is punishable by law.

Unemployment Application Instructions

There are three ways to apply for Illinois Unemployment Insurance:

Apply Online

To submit your application online, visit the Illinois Department of Employment Security website at this link:

Filing the application online takes about 30 minutes.

Apply by Phone

To file the application over the phone, call the Illinois Department of Employment Security at (312) 793-5280.

Apply in Person

Visit your local Illinois Department of Employment Security office or an Illinois Work Net Center to file for unemployment benefits in person. To find a location near you, use the Illinois Department of Employment Security website:

What to expect after you file your application.

You will receive an approval letter/ wage earning information sheet in the mail two weeks after date of application. If you do not receive your approval letter within that duration, call the department at 800-244-5631 to check the status of your application. You will be required to certify your claim within the times and date they give you after receiving your letter. Remember to note down the date otherwise you risk slowing down the process of approving your employment benefits.

You will then receive an Illinois Department of Employment Security debit card. You may opt to use either the debit card or register with direct deposit. You can sign up with direct deposit once you have your account online. You MUST certify your are still employment status every two weeks. This can be done online, by phone, or by visiting your nearest unemployment office in order to keep receiving unemployment benefits.

Funds are released through the Illinois Department of Employment Security in less than a week's time. For any queries regarding your account or allotted cash, call your local unemployment agency.

State of Illinois allots you 26 weeks or more in unemployment benefits. You may also qualify for extensions depending on current economic conditions.