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The Process to Claim Unemployment Benefits in Illinois

How to claim unemployment benefits, register for work, and continue to meet the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in Illinois is determined by state regulations. The calculation and limits of benefit payments are some of the different features governed by these rules. 

We have compiled helpful information, hints, and tips about claiming unemployment benefits in Illinois on this website and FAQs and our free guide. Learn more about unemployment benefits in Illinois by reading below, checking out our Illinois FAQs, and reading our free guide.

Learn About Unemployment Benefits in Illinois

An unemployment applicant’s weekly benefit amount during the benefit year depends on the amount of their wages they earned for insured work paid during the “base period”.

The “standard” or “regular” base period for an unemployment benefits claim consists of the first four of the last five completed quarters. The four calendar quarters are as follows:

  • January to March 
  • April to June 
  • July to September 
  • October to December 

Unemployed individuals who lack sufficient wages to qualify for federal unemployment benefits using the standard base period may be eligible under an “alternate base period” which consists of the four most recently completed quarters. 

The “weekly benefit amount” is the payment eligible beneficiaries receive for a week during the benefit year. The size of the weekly benefit amount depends on the amount of wages earned for insured work paid during the two calendar quarters of the base period in which the wages were highest.

When claiming benefits for unemployment, applicants may receive an additional benefit payment for the dependents if they have a dependent child or nonworking spouse. 

This equals the “total amount payable for the week”. Regardless of how much one is paid in the two highest quarters, the total amount payable for the week cannot exceed a legislatively set amount. The benefit table for the calculation can be found online.

The total amount of federal unemployment benefits that can be paid during the benefit year is 26 times the weekly benefit amount plus an allowance for dependents or an amount equal to the total wages for insured work paid during the base period, whichever amount is less.

Learn About Filing a Claim in Illinois

After becoming unemployed through no fault of their own, residents can go through the unemployment insurance application process online. They may be scheduled for a telephone interview, which usually involves filling out and submitting a questionnaire. But in some circumstances, the applicant may be required to report to an IDES office in person.

After unemployment beneficiaries are approved, they must recertify their eligibility to receive benefit payments every two weeks online or by telephone. The UI beneficiaries cannot receive their weekly benefits until they have been certified for that week and have proven they meet all of the eligibility requirements during that week. 

Benefits are claimed on a weekly basis, and unemployment beneficiaries receive payment for the week that has just passed. A calendar week begins on Sunday and runs through the following Saturday. However, IDES permits beneficiaries to file bi-weekly certifications online or by Tele-Serve.

As a reminder, wages must be reported for the week in which they were earned, not the week in which they were received. If the gross wages earned in any week are less than the weekly benefit amount, the claimant may still be able to receive a full or partial benefit payment.

How Long You May Receive Benefits in Illinois

The effective date of the applicant’s first valid claim starts their benefit year, which is usually the Sunday of the week in which they first filed their claim. Beneficiaries can collect weekly payments until they exhausted their total benefit award within the 52-week benefit year.  

An Illinois unemployment benefits extension is possible if you have exhausted your regular unemployment insurance benefits during a period when the nation is experiencing a high unemployment rate. The unemployment benefits extension page covers this topic more thoroughly.

Learn About Illinois Unemployment Benefits and Federal Income Taxes

Claimants can opt to receive federal unemployment benefits by direct deposit or debit card. Direct deposit is a more convenient and reliable way to receive benefit payments. The benefit payments are typically deposited into the specified account within two business days after the claimant is certified to receive benefits.

They can sign up for direct deposit online. If they do not do this, they will receive their benefit payments via debit card.

In the case of a debit card, it will be mailed to the claimant, and the benefit payment amount will be deposited onto the card approximately two business days after the beneficiaries claim unemployment benefits with IDES. The card will be administered jointly by a major bank card issuer and IDES.

Unemployment benefits are taxable depending on their amount. These benefits will be listed on Form 1099-G. You may elect to have federal income tax withheld at a rate of 10 percent and state income tax withheld at 3.75 percent.

Last Updated: October 10, 2022