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Applying for Unemployment

We are an online resource to help answer your questions, check eligibility and assist in applying for Unemployment. You will also be advised if you qualify for additional benefit programs and receive our benefit guide.

Illinois Unemployment

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program was created to help individuals financially while they find a job. You may also qualify for benefits if you work less than full time because of lack of work.

In order to receive UI benefits, individuals must comply with several requirements.


You are considered “eligible” if:

  • You were unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You are able, available and actively looking for work.
  • You were unemployed during the week claimed.
  • You were paid $1,600 or more in wages during your base period for insured work.
  • You were paid at least $440 of your base period wages at any time during the base period outside the calendar quarter in which your wages were highest.


You also need the appropriate documentation and information.

These include:

  • Social Security number
  • Names and addresses of past employers
  • Number of days worked for each employer
  • Records showing wages earned (including dismissal wages and vacation pay)
  • Records of any pension payments and/or earnings while unemployed
  • Your spouse’s employment status and Social Security number
  • Names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of your children, including stepchildren, adopted children under 18, disabled children regardless of age and any child of whom you have court-ordered custody (bring a copy of court order)

If you fulfill both the eligibility and document requirements, you can file a UI claim.

Filing a Claim

You can file an unemployment benefit claim online or in person.

To file a claim online, visit: https://benefits.ides.illinois.gov/

To file an unemployment claim in person, visit an Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) office.

To find an office near you, call 1-800-244-5631 or visit: http://www.ides.illinois.gov/

Continued Eligibility

After you file your claim, you will be assigned a call day to certify for weeks of benefits.

You must also register for job placement service at an IDES office or online at: https://illinoisjoblink.illinois.gov/

You must file an UI claim as soon as you are unemployed or your hours have been reduced.

After your initial claim, you must certify claims biweekly.

You can certify for benefits using Tele-Serve, a touch-tone voice response system.

To contact Tele-Serve, call 312-338-4337.

You may also report biweekly claims by mail. Ask your local IDES office to make sure you meet the specific conditions to be a designated mail filer.

Different types of Unemployment Insurance:

Partial Benefits

You may claim some benefits for a week if you work less than full time because of lack of work. Your earnings for the week must be less than the weekly benefit amount you would receive if you were totally employed. You must report all your earnings from part-time work. Partial benefits equal the difference between that part of your earnings that exceed 50 percent of your weekly benefit amount and your weekly benefit amount for total unemployment.

For more information, call 1-800-244-5631 or TTY at 1-866-322-8357.

Interstate Benefits

If you move to another state, you may still receive UI benefits if you meet Illinois eligibility requirements. This is called an interstate claim. You may file your claim at the unemployment insurance office that serves the area in which you live. If you just moved to Illinois, you may be able to claim benefits from your home state.

To file a claim online, visit: http://www.ides.illinois.gov/

You can also call IDES at 1-800-244-5631 or TTY at 1-866-322-8357.

Combined Wage Claim

If you worked in other state(s) during the past two years, you might be able to combine your out-of-state wages to qualify for a valid claim, or to increase your weekly benefit amount. To apply for benefits, file a combined wage claims.

Call IDES at 1-800-244-5631 or TTY at 1-866-322-8357.

Extended Benefits and Emergency Unemployment Compensation

For information regarding Extended Benefits (EB) and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), visit: http://www.ides.illinois.gov/

If your EUC unemployment has ended, visit: http://www.ides.illinois.gov/

What happens if I’m fired, laid off or if I quit?

If you are fired, quit your job or refuse work, you must report it to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), so a determination of eligibility for benefits can be made. In most cases, a worker must be out of work through no fault of their own to be eligible for benefits without penalty. When you file a claim, your employer will be mailed a “Notice of Filing” to verify the reason you have stated as to why you are no longer working. However, the Department will have final say on your eligibility. If you have been laid off, there is no penalty or reduction in unemployment benefits.