Illinois Unemployment Compensation Qualification

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 How Does Unemployment Work in Illinois?

In Illinois, when a worker is laid off for a period that is expected to last for 7 days or more or is otherwise fired, employers are required to provide them with a copy of a notice that informs the employee of their right to apply for state unemployment benefits. The employer can give the employee a copy at the time they are laid off or fired or mail it to them within 5 days of the employee’s separation from their employment.

Illinois’s Department of Employment Security (IDES) administers the state’s unemployment insurance program. A person is entitled to unemployment insurance benefits during a period when they are unemployed if they meet all of the criteria. Employers finance the Illinois unemployment system through payroll taxes that they pay.

If a person who lives in Illinois has lost their job for any reason, they want to consult an Illinois employment lawyer for advice.

How to Qualify for Unemployment?

To qualify to file an unemployment claim in Illinois, first a person must have earned at least $1,600 during a recent 12-month period. Also, they must have earned at least $440 outside of the base period quarter in which the person’s earnings were the highest.

Second, a person’s employer must be subject to Illinois’s unemployment insurance law. Not all employers are covered. Some of the kinds of work that are not included in the unemployment system are certain agricultural, domestic, railroad, and government jobs. Also not included is certain work that a person does for their family or work done on a commission basis.

Third, a person must be completely without work or work less than full-time because full-time work is not available. A person must be either completely out of work or working less than full-time because full-time work is not available. If a person is working, their earnings must fall below a certain amount determined when the person files their application for unemployment benefits.

Finally, a person’s unemployment must be involuntary. A person does not qualify to receive unemployment if they quit their job voluntarily without good cause related to the employer. A person also does not qualify if their employment was terminated for misconduct related to their work or if a person’s employment was terminated because they committed a felony or theft offense while on the job.

Finally, a person who is out of work because of a labor dispute cannot qualify for unemployment.

A person must be able and available to work when they are receiving unemployment benefits. Benefits are not paid for any period in which a person is on vacation, or their principal occupation is that of a student, or they engage in any other activity that makes them unavailable for work.

Benefits are not paid for any day or days on which the person is unable to work because of illness, disability, family responsibilities, lack of transportation, and the like. A person is required to actively look for work and must be willing to accept any suitable job offered. A person must keep a log of their job search activities for every week for which they seek benefits. A person could be required to produce their log, so it is important to maintain it carefully.

It is important to keep in mind that while a person is receiving unemployment, they are physically able and available to work. If a person is on vacation or if their main occupation is attending school or doing any other activity that makes them unavailable for work, they cannot receive unemployment benefits.

How Long Can I Wait to File Unemployment?

It is best for a person to file their claim for unemployment insurance benefits during the first week after they have become unemployed. A person does not want to wait. The application can be submitted online at Or a person may submit their application in person at their local IDES office.

How to Apply for Unemployment?

A person can submit an Illinois unemployment application either online or in person at their local office, as noted above. To apply, a person has to provide basic information about themselves, their dependents, if they have any, their former employer, the history of their employment and earnings.

If a person’s application is denied, all is not necessarily lost. A person can file an appeal of the denial and claim the denial was made in error. There is usually a one-week waiting period before unemployment benefits are paid out to the applicant if their application is accepted.

An Alien Registration Number is something like a Social Security number, which is a number that a person who is a citizen can obtain at birth or whenever they become a naturalized citizen. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assigns an Alien Registration Number to immigrants who apply to live in the United States.

It appears on various documents, such as a person’s permanent resident green card or other employment authorization document. A person who does not have a Social Security Number can use their Alien Registration Number to apply for unemployment in Illinois.

How Long Does Unemployment Last?

In Illinois, eligible people who are partially employed or completely unemployed workers can file for regular unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. If the IDES approves an applicant’s claim for benefits, they may receive benefits after a one-week waiting period.

In Illinois, an unemployed person who exhausts their full 26 weeks of regular benefits can file a claim for extended benefits during periods of high unemployment, as defined by the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.

A period of high unemployment is a period of time in which the government’s official unemployment rate is higher than usual because many people are having trouble finding employment. If a person qualifies for extended benefits, they will receive the same amount of benefits as they received under the standard 26-week program for an additional period of time.

What Can I Do if I Run Out of Unemployment?

During periods when national unemployment rates are high, the federal government provides states such as Illinois with emergency unemployment compensation benefits. For example, these federal benefits were available in 2011 and were extended for 2012 because unemployment was high at that time, and many people had trouble finding jobs. People who were eligible and had exhausted their state benefits were eligible for an additional 53 weeks of federal unemployment benefits.

This federal program of extended federal unemployment benefits is not always available, so a person would have to check with the local unemployment office about the availability of supplemental federal unemployment. If the national unemployment rate is low, these federal benefits are not going to be available.

If federal benefits are available, a person who is unemployed might be able to get a total of 79 weeks of total benefits, 26 weeks of Illinois state unemployment insurance benefits, and 53 weeks of emergency federal unemployment benefits.

What Can I Do if My Claim Is Denied?

If a person’s application for unemployment benefits is denied, they can appeal the denial of their claim. Again a person can appeal the denial of the claim for unemployment online, but a person might want to consult an Illinois employment lawyer for help with an appeal.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

If you have lost your job because you were laid off or fired, you want to consult an Illinois employment lawyer. Your lawyer can help you file for state unemployment benefits. They can help you appeal if your application for benefits is denied. You want to maximize your chances of success in your application for unemployment benefits, and your lawyer can help assure you of this.


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