Illinois Unemployment Application Information

How to Sign Up for Unemployment Insurance in Illinois

To apply for unemployment benefits in Illinois, the claimant can either file an application at the IDES office or online. Unemployment applicants wondering “How can I sign up for unemployment?” or wondering where to sign up for unemployment in their area can read through the sections below. Other information found in this section includes details about the application process, and what documents are required to file for unemployment in Illinois.

For more details on the different features of unemployment registration, review the following sections:

•    Where to register for unemployment benefits in Illinois
•    Information needed to file for unemployment in Illinois
•    Illinois unemployment registration process

Where to Register for Unemployment Benefits in Illinois

Claimants should file for an unemployment claim during the first week that he or she becomes unemployed. Regarding where to apply for unemployment in IL, claimants can file at an IDES office or online. For information about how to apply for unemployment online, access the application through the Illinois Department of Employment Security and follow the prompts. If you are uncertain about your eligibility for benefits, please review the eligibility section. 

Information Needed to File for Unemployment in Illinois

To file an unemployment EDD application at the IDES office, applicants need to submit the following identification and documents:

  • Social Security number and card
  • Driver’s License/State ID 
  • If claiming a spouse or child as a dependent, the Social Security number, date of birth and names of dependents.
  • Name, mailing address, phone number, employment dates, and termination reason for all the employers you worked for in the last 18 months. Wage records (W-2 form, check stubs) from these employers may be necessary.
  • All gross wages for any work performed must be reported, whether it’s full or part-time. A gross wage is the total amount earned before deductions, not take-home pay, including wages in the form of lodging, meals, merchandise or any other form. Gross wages must be reported the week in which they are earned, not the week in which the applicant receives the wages. If the gross wages earned in any week are less than the weekly benefit amount, the applicant may be eligible to receive a full or partial benefit payment.
  • Records of any pension payments received (not including Social Security)
  • If the applicant is not a United States citizen, he or she needs to present Alien Registration information.
  • Veterans who were recently terminated from employment will need to show a Member 4 copy of the DD form 214/115. Other copies of the DD Form 214/215 are acceptable, but the Member 4 copy is the most commonly available.
  • Recently terminated civilian employees of the federal government needs to show copies of the Standard Form 8 and Personal Action Form 50.

To fill out the online application for employment, the claimant needs his or her Social Security number, name, and date of birth. The applicant’s personal information is compared to data from the Social Security Administration. If the information does not exactly match, the online services will not work.

Illinois Unemployment Registration Process

After unemployment applicants file for an unemployment claim, they will be assigned a call day to certify for weeks of benefits. Applicants are required to complete their registration with the Illinois Employment Service system and will be informed that they must actively look for work and must maintain a record of their work search efforts. The work search log must be produced if requested by the agency.

A determination that the claimant was actively seeking work during a week claimed is subject to reconsideration. This determination may be reconsidered despite the fact that benefits were paid or the claimant returned to work. In order to preserve evidence that you were actively seeking work, you should not discard the written work-search record for any week you claimed unemployment benefits until 53 weeks have passed from the end of that week. 

After the claim is filed, IDES will send the unemployment insurance (UI) beneficiary a statement called a UI finding. The finding shows: the first certification date, the wages paid by each employer in each calendar quarter of the base period for insured work, date of claim and benefit year begin and end dates, the weekly benefit amount (WBA) and dependent allowance, and the maximum benefit balance. The WBA and maximum benefit balance will be described in more detail on the Benefits page.

If the UI finding is correct, it should be retained. If it is not correct, the unemployment applicant needs to report the error immediately to IDES and have proof of wages paid during the base period (W-2 statement, check stubs, etc.). Once the unemployment EDD application is filed in Illinois, it cannot be withdrawn, even if a claim with a later effective date would result in a higher weekly benefit amount.

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