How to apply for unemployment in illinois

Learn how to apply for unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, welfare or temporary assistance, and other programs and services that can help if you lose your job.

On This Page

  • COVD-19 Unemployment Benefits
  • Apply for Unemployment Benefits
  • Continuation of Health Coverage: COBRA
  • Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation for Illness or Injury on the Job
  • Wrongful Discharge/Termination of Employment
  • Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

COVD-19 Unemployment Benefits

The federal government has allowed states to change their laws to provide COVID-19 unemployment benefits for people whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 authorizes:

An extension through September 6, 2021 for people already receiving unemployment benefits

Automatic, additional payments of $300 per week until September 6, 2021 to everyone qualified for unemployment benefits

Extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for self-employed or gig workers

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

There are a variety of benefit and aid programs to help you if you lose your job. CareerOneStop.org is a good place to start. It can help with unemployment insurance benefits, job training, and finding a job.

Unemployment Insurance

Am I eligible?

Unemployment insurance programs pay you money if you lose your job through no fault of your own. You must meet your state’s eligibility requirements.

How do I apply?

Each state runs its own program. Select your state from this map to find out how to apply. You may be able to file online, by phone, or in person.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Some states provide extended benefits when there’s high unemployment. Extended unemployment insurance benefits last for 13 weeks. You can apply for extended benefits only once you’ve run out of regular benefits. Check with your state; not everyone qualifies.

Other Types of Benefits and Programs for the Unemployed

Educational Help

Federal agencies offer many unemployment education and training programs. They are generally free or low cost to the unemployed.

Self-Employment Help

Self-employment assistance programs help unemployed workers start their own small businesses. Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, and Oregon offer this program.

Continuation of Health Coverage: COBRA

Learn how you can continue your health care coverage through COBRA.

What is COBRA?

COBRA is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. COBRA lets workers and their families remain in the employee’s group health insurance plan for a limited time after a change in eligibility.

Eligibility

There are three basic requirements that must be met for you to elect COBRA continuation coverage:

Your group health plan must be covered by COBRA

A qualifying event must occur. This could be voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, or divorce.

You must be a qualified beneficiary for that event

If you are entitled to COBRA continuation coverage, you must be given at least 60 days to decide whether to elect it.

How to Get COBRA

Group health plans must give covered employees and their families a notice explaining their COBRA rights. Plans must have rules for how COBRA coverage is offered, how beneficiaries may choose to get it and when they can stop coverage. For more COBRA information, see An Employee’s Guide to Health Benefits under COBRA.

Get More Information or File a Complaint

For questions or complaints about your COBRA coverage, contact your plan administrator or the Employee Benefits Security Administration. Note: In some cases, you can change from COBRA coverage to Marketplace health insurance coverage.

Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance

If you can’t work because you get sick or injured, disability insurance will pay part of your income. You may be able to get insurance through your employer. You can also buy your own policy.

Types of Disability Policies

There are two types of disability policies.

Short-term policies may pay for up to two years. Most last for a few months to a year.

Long-term policies may pay benefits for a few years or until the disability ends.

Employers who offer coverage may provide short-term coverage, long-term coverage, or both.

If you plan to buy your own policy, shop around and ask:

How is disability defined?

When do benefits begin?

How long do benefits last?

How much money will the policy pay?

Federal Disability Programs

Two Social Security Administration programs pay benefits to people with disabilities. Learn about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI).

Workers’ Compensation for Illness or Injury on the Job

Workers’ compensation laws protect employees who get hurt on the job or sick from it. The laws establish workers’ comp, a form of insurance that employers pay for. These laws vary from state to state and for federal employees.

Benefits Provided by Workers’ Compensation

In general, workers’ comp provides:

Coverage for workers’ medical expenses

Compensation for lost wages while a worker is out recovering

Benefits for dependents of workers who died from job-related hazards

Private Sector and State or Local Government Employees

If you get hurt working for a private company or state or local government, seek help through your state. Your state workers’ compensation program can help you file a claim. If your claim is denied, you can appeal.

Longshore and Harbor Workers, Coal Miners, Nuclear Weapons Workers, and Federal Employees

Federal laws protect longshore and harbor workers, coal miners, nuclear weapons workers employed by the Department of Energy (DOE) or a DOE contractor, and federal employees. Contact the workers’ compensation program that applies to you for help filing a claim.

Wrongful Discharge/Termination of Employment

If you feel that you have been wrongfully fired from a job or let go from an employment situation, you may wish to learn more about your state’s wrongful discharge laws.

  • Wrongful termination or wrongful discharge laws vary from state to state.
  • Some states are “employment-at-will” states, which means that if there is no employment contract (or collective bargaining agreement), an employer can let an employee go for any reason, or no reason, with or without notice, as long as the discharge does not violate a law.

If you feel you have been wrongfully discharged or terminated from employment, you may:

  • Contact your State Labor Office for more information on wrongful termination laws in your state.
  • Seek legal counsel if your employer terminated you for any reason not covered under state or federal law.
  • You may also be eligible for unemployment compensation and extension of your health care benefits.

Employers

If you are an employer seeking information about legal termination of employees, you may wish to contact both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and your State Labor Office to ensure you do not violate any federal or state labor laws. You may wish to consult with a licensed attorney.

Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally funded, state-run benefits program. Also known as welfare, TANF helps families achieve independence after experiencing temporary difficulties.

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: benefits.ides.illinois.gov/File4UI/Benefits

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: benefits.ides.illinois.gov/File4UI/Benefits/.

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.

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/Fraud

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.

Updated : December 1st, 2020

How to apply for unemployment in illinois

You can receive unemployment benefits if you have lost your job through no fault of your own. However, it terminates the moment you secure a new job. But if your new unemployment does not last long, you can start receiving benefits again by simply reopening your claim. Wondering how to reopen unemployment claims? This article will break it for you!

When Can You Reopen Unemployment Claims?

It is important to note that you can reopen your unemployment claim only if you have been laid off or you quit your job due to unsafe working conditions. In some cases, you can refile for unemployment benefits if you have been fired from your work.

How It Works

People who lose their jobs a second time, fall into two different categories. This first one being a case a where a person loses his job within 52 weeks of filing for UI. The second, a person who was laid off post expiration of the 52 week period.

For people in the first category, things are pretty easy. You can simply start claiming your benefits, if you have any remaining benefits ie. If you are in the latter category, you may have to reapply for unemployment insurance.

The benefit amount that you will receive and your eligibility criteria may depend heavily on the time duration between your previous unemployment compensation and recent unemployment. It is likely that your previous claim won’t be affecting your new claim in anyway, also your current benefit amount will be calculated from the wages you earned in your most recent employment. In most cases, the amount you receive will be smaller than what you received in the first benefit year.

You must also be able to prove that your recent unemployment is not voluntary or a result of your mistakes.

Details Required To Claim UI Benefits Again

You may need to submit all relevant details to refile for unemployment irrespective of whether you are still in the same benefit year. Before you start filing, it will be handy to keep the following information ready.

  • SSN
  • Personal identification number (PIN)
  • Motor vehicle card no. / driver’s licence
  • Complete mailing address with zip code
  • Contact number
  • Names and contact details of all your previous employers
  • Employer Registration Number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your latest employer
  • If you were a federal employee, copies of SF8 and SF50
  • For military service, your most recent separation form (DD214)
  • Lastly, your Alien Registration Card no. if you are not a citizen of the U.S.

How To Reopen Unemployment Claims

To reopen unemployment claims, you will have to submit a fresh application. Remember, your claim does not start until you apply for it. So you may want to consider doing that at the earliest. Follow these steps and you’ll be ok soon.

  • Submit a new claim. You can do this via telephone/internet/mail. We recommend using the internet because that is the fastest way to file a claim.
  • Wait for a response. Once your claim is taken up, the the State Unemployment Agency will check you remaining benefit balance and examine if you still continue to qualify for the benefits.

Extension of Benefits

As you may already know, benefits are usually awarded for up to 26 weeks, and extended benefits are provided only during the time of crisis. Once your benefits expire, you will have to reapply for it. The unemployment agency usually sends you a notice informing you that your benefits are about to expire, the notice usually contains information regarding how you can re-apply to enjoy continued benefits.

I Need Help To File My Claim

If you are disabled or unable to file the claim yourself, you may seek help from a trusted person. It is not mandatory that you have to file your claim yourself. However, no matter how much you trust the person you chose to aid you, we strongly recommend that you be present each time they help you and use your PIN

Also, do keep in mind that you will be held responsible for the actions of your helper. And also you will be subject to penalties and you may even forfeit your benefits if you are NOT PRESENT when a helper aids you.

Claim Denials

Unfortunately, claims can be denied sometimes. Several reasons could lead to this. The most commonly seen reason for claim denial is when the unemployment agency fails to determine that you lost your job through no error of yours. Or if you have not earned sufficient wages during a base period. Whatever the case is, the agency holds the right to deny your claim if they find you ineligible.

However, if you claim gets denied, you can always request the agency to reconsider your application. To do so, you will have to file an appeal. Directions on how to do so are usually enclosed within the letter you received from the agency stating that your claim has been denied. In most cases, there is a specific time-frame within which you must reapply if you want to send an appeal.

I Don’t Think I Will Qualify

Has reading so much has lead you to believe that you won’t qualify for the benefits? If so, we still strongly recommend that you still proceed with filing your application. This article is only of an informative nature. Only the State Unemployment Agency has the absolute authority to decide if you qualify or not. Apply all the same, we’ll think of the rest later. You can also refer to our Unemployment Q & A section for more information.

Hunt For Jobs

Not Steve Jobs, the ones that pay you for the work you do. You know that you can’t go on depending on your UI benefits forever. Also, it is imperative that you actively search for a new job because it is one of the requirements that you must fulfill in order to qualify for the benefits.

A Word of Advice

We understand that you are going through a very difficult stage. Worrying about it too much is not going to help in any way, in fact it will only lead to adverse effects on you. Try to stay positive, spend time with your loved ones and search for new employment opportunities. Update your social media profiles so that they become more employer- friendly and never give up faith! Good luck guys!

Related posts:

  1. When Can You Reopen An Unemployment Claim?
  2. Can You Reopen Unemployment Benefits If You Are Laid Off Again?
  3. Utah Unemployment Insurance Claims and Benefits
  4. Wisconsin – Filing An Appeal When UI Claims Are Denied

Did you find this article helpful? YES | NO How to apply for unemployment in illinois

Workers laid off temporarily — and even parents caring for children home from school — can qualify for unemployment benefits under the state’s recently adopted emergency rules.

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How to apply for unemployment in illinois

Workers board up at Sally Beauty in downtown Chicago on Sunday, March 22. Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo

With applications by state residents for unemployment insurance surging, the Illinois Department of Employment Security has announced emergency rules for those who can qualify for benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The giant coronavirus stimulus legislation signed into law Friday provides federal money for the state to provide extra and extended unemployment benefits.

The Department of Employment Security has not yet revised its website to reflect how newly eligible people can apply for the new federally funded assistance, with state officials still working out the details.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a briefing Saturday a “deluge” of applications for unemployment continue to flood the department.

Under the new federal law, funding will flow to states to help cover gig workers newly eligible for unemployment compensation; 13 weeks of extra payments will be added to the 26 already allowed and, according to Section 2104 of the legislation, there will also be an “emergency increase in unemployment compensation” of “an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months. “

Tens of thousands of workers across Illinois have been temporarily out of work since the outbreak began forcing businesses to close. Last week, Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants to stop serving dine-in customers, and on Saturday, he issued a stay-at-home order leaving just “essential” businesses in operation.

Frustration mounts as state scrambles to keep up with jobless benefits claims

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The result is countless people are now out of work and being forced into the state’s unemployment system. Illinois alone saw more than 64,000 new claims for unemployment benefits from March 16-18, and an unprecedented 130,000-plus claims so far this month, officials said.

To handle this massive influx of new applications, IDES announced it recently adopted emergency rules for who qualifies for unemployment insurance.

Unemployment insurance (UI) basics

In normal times, UI provides temporary income via federal funds to Illinois residents who are unemployed but able, available and actively seeking work each week.

The amount residents can receive depends on their usual pay rate with benefits ranging from $51 to $580 per week. Those approved can receive up to 26 weeks of benefits in a 12-month period.

The new emergency rules adopted during the coronavirus pandemic open up UI to a much larger group of workers. This means many people who wouldn’t typically qualify for UI can get benefits during the state of emergency.

Additionally, under the federal relief bill passed last week, Illinois residents receiving unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 weekly above what they would receive in regular unemployment benefits until July 31, 2020.

Workers temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 can get UI

Illinois residents who are temporarily out of work because their employer has closed due to the coronavirus can qualify for UI if they meet all the other basic requirements.

The state isn’t expecting anyone to go out looking for a new job during a stay-at-home order: as long as applicants are prepared to return to their job as soon as the employer reopens, they’ll be considered to be actively seeking work and will qualify.

Under emergency rules, these workers will not have to register with the employment service.

Workers who quit due to COVID-19 fears cannot get UI

Unlike Illinois residents who are temporarily laid off by their employers’ closure, workers who voluntarily leave their job over concerns of the coronavirus will not be eligible for UI. The agency says “an individual generally has a duty to make a reasonable effort to work with his or her employer to resolve whatever issues have caused the individual to consider quitting.”

Parents who leave work due to a child’s school closure can get UI

With all Illinois schools closed through at least the end of April, and possibly the remainder of the school year, parents who voluntarily leave work to care for their child can qualify for UI because they “could be considered as unemployed through no fault of” their own.

You must still meet all of the other standard requirements, and unlike workers temporarily laid off due to COVID-19, parents who voluntarily leave work must be registered with the employment service.

Anyone who’s already exhausted UI rights may be eligible for additional benefits

With the passing of the federal relief bill in Congress last week, IDES announced Tuesday that some individuals who have already received their full 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits in the last one-year period will be eligible for additional benefits during the crisis.

“If you have exhausted your benefits, or you are close to exhausting your benefits, we are finalizing the process to continue benefits under the stimulus package,” IDES said in a Q-and-A posted on its website. The agency says more information will be issued once guidance is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Here’s how to apply for UI

You can call the Illinois Department of Economic Services at (800) 244-5631 or 866-488-4016 (TTY), but users are urged to file claims via the IDES website. And do not go in person: as of March 19, IDES offices are closed to the public until further notice.

To accommodate the massive surge of applicants, the agency has staggered times for people to submit claims:

  • People whose last names start with the letters A through M are asked to file claims online on Sundays, Tuesdays or Thursdays.
  • Last names beginning with N through Z should file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays.
  • Saturdays are set aside for people who aren’t able to file during their allotted time, officials said.

People without internet access should call in according to the following schedule, per IDES:

This will take you to another website

Use this online form to get information about how to file for unemployment benefits and to access the online application system.

To complete this form, you will need:

  1. Your State ID or Driver’s Licence number;
  2. Your social security number ; AND
  3. Information about your employment situation.

This link sends you to the IDES website, where you can file a claim online and learn more about how to file for unemployment benefits.

Note: The link to begin the claim application process may not immediately appear on the linked page. You may have to navigate to the bottom of the page and click an empty checkbox before the site allows you to file a claim.

Learn more

Comments & Ratings

Was this information helpful to you? Let us know! We can’t give legal advice in the comments, so if you have a question or need legal help, please go to Get Legal Help, or view our FAQs.

Legal Comment

Legal Comment

Dependants

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/03/2020 – 20:35

Reply

Submitted by Karla Baldwin on Fri, 09/04/2020 – 09:35

Thank you!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/31/2020 – 14:05

Reply

Submitted by Karla Baldwin on Thu, 08/27/2020 – 18:26

No state ID means no unemployment ?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/05/2020 – 13:25

Reply

Submitted by Val Holdahl on Wed, 05/06/2020 – 19:16

It sounds like you may need legal advice on your particular situation. If you do, we cannot give that here in the comments, but please use our Get Legal Help system. Also, learn more about unemployment and the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

Hope this helps.

question

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/04/2020 – 11:44

Reply

Submitted by Val Holdahl on Fri, 04/10/2020 – 15:34

Hello, thanks for your question. After reviewing the IDES website and our articles, it does not appear that you can apply for unemployment unless you have a state ID or Driver’s License because it has your weight listed on it. See this IDES page for more details. Here is one of ILAO’s articles, Work, Coronavirus, and the Law: FAQs with more information on how to contact IDES to address your specific question since we do not have a direct answer for your situation at this time. Hope this helps.

helpful

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/28/2020 – 13:02

Learn how to apply for unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, welfare or temporary assistance, and other programs and services that can help if you lose your job.

On This Page

  • COVD-19 Unemployment Benefits
  • Apply for Unemployment Benefits
  • Continuation of Health Coverage: COBRA
  • Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation for Illness or Injury on the Job
  • Wrongful Discharge/Termination of Employment
  • Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

COVD-19 Unemployment Benefits

The federal government has allowed states to change their laws to provide COVID-19 unemployment benefits for people whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 authorizes:

An extension through September 6, 2021 for people already receiving unemployment benefits

Automatic, additional payments of $300 per week until September 6, 2021 to everyone qualified for unemployment benefits

Extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for self-employed or gig workers

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

There are a variety of benefit and aid programs to help you if you lose your job. CareerOneStop.org is a good place to start. It can help with unemployment insurance benefits, job training, and finding a job.

Unemployment Insurance

Am I eligible?

Unemployment insurance programs pay you money if you lose your job through no fault of your own. You must meet your state’s eligibility requirements.

How do I apply?

Each state runs its own program. Select your state from this map to find out how to apply. You may be able to file online, by phone, or in person.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Some states provide extended benefits when there’s high unemployment. Extended unemployment insurance benefits last for 13 weeks. You can apply for extended benefits only once you’ve run out of regular benefits. Check with your state; not everyone qualifies.

Other Types of Benefits and Programs for the Unemployed

Educational Help

Federal agencies offer many unemployment education and training programs. They are generally free or low cost to the unemployed.

Self-Employment Help

Self-employment assistance programs help unemployed workers start their own small businesses. Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, and Oregon offer this program.

Continuation of Health Coverage: COBRA

Learn how you can continue your health care coverage through COBRA.

What is COBRA?

COBRA is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. COBRA lets workers and their families remain in the employee’s group health insurance plan for a limited time after a change in eligibility.

Eligibility

There are three basic requirements that must be met for you to elect COBRA continuation coverage:

Your group health plan must be covered by COBRA

A qualifying event must occur. This could be voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, or divorce.

You must be a qualified beneficiary for that event

If you are entitled to COBRA continuation coverage, you must be given at least 60 days to decide whether to elect it.

How to Get COBRA

Group health plans must give covered employees and their families a notice explaining their COBRA rights. Plans must have rules for how COBRA coverage is offered, how beneficiaries may choose to get it and when they can stop coverage. For more COBRA information, see An Employee’s Guide to Health Benefits under COBRA.

Get More Information or File a Complaint

For questions or complaints about your COBRA coverage, contact your plan administrator or the Employee Benefits Security Administration. Note: In some cases, you can change from COBRA coverage to Marketplace health insurance coverage.

Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance

If you can’t work because you get sick or injured, disability insurance will pay part of your income. You may be able to get insurance through your employer. You can also buy your own policy.

Types of Disability Policies

There are two types of disability policies.

Short-term policies may pay for up to two years. Most last for a few months to a year.

Long-term policies may pay benefits for a few years or until the disability ends.

Employers who offer coverage may provide short-term coverage, long-term coverage, or both.

If you plan to buy your own policy, shop around and ask:

How is disability defined?

When do benefits begin?

How long do benefits last?

How much money will the policy pay?

Federal Disability Programs

Two Social Security Administration programs pay benefits to people with disabilities. Learn about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI).

Workers’ Compensation for Illness or Injury on the Job

Workers’ compensation laws protect employees who get hurt on the job or sick from it. The laws establish workers’ comp, a form of insurance that employers pay for. These laws vary from state to state and for federal employees.

Benefits Provided by Workers’ Compensation

In general, workers’ comp provides:

Coverage for workers’ medical expenses

Compensation for lost wages while a worker is out recovering

Benefits for dependents of workers who died from job-related hazards

Private Sector and State or Local Government Employees

If you get hurt working for a private company or state or local government, seek help through your state. Your state workers’ compensation program can help you file a claim. If your claim is denied, you can appeal.

Longshore and Harbor Workers, Coal Miners, Nuclear Weapons Workers, and Federal Employees

Federal laws protect longshore and harbor workers, coal miners, nuclear weapons workers employed by the Department of Energy (DOE) or a DOE contractor, and federal employees. Contact the workers’ compensation program that applies to you for help filing a claim.

Wrongful Discharge/Termination of Employment

If you feel that you have been wrongfully fired from a job or let go from an employment situation, you may wish to learn more about your state’s wrongful discharge laws.

  • Wrongful termination or wrongful discharge laws vary from state to state.
  • Some states are “employment-at-will” states, which means that if there is no employment contract (or collective bargaining agreement), an employer can let an employee go for any reason, or no reason, with or without notice, as long as the discharge does not violate a law.

If you feel you have been wrongfully discharged or terminated from employment, you may:

  • Contact your State Labor Office for more information on wrongful termination laws in your state.
  • Seek legal counsel if your employer terminated you for any reason not covered under state or federal law.
  • You may also be eligible for unemployment compensation and extension of your health care benefits.

Employers

If you are an employer seeking information about legal termination of employees, you may wish to contact both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and your State Labor Office to ensure you do not violate any federal or state labor laws. You may wish to consult with a licensed attorney.

Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally funded, state-run benefits program. Also known as welfare, TANF helps families achieve independence after experiencing temporary difficulties.

Workers laid off temporarily — and even parents caring for children home from school — can qualify for unemployment benefits under the state’s recently adopted emergency rules.

Share this story

  • Share this on Facebook
  • Share this on Twitter

Share All sharing options for: How to apply for unemployment benefits if you are out of work during Illinois’ COVID-19 shutdown

How to apply for unemployment in illinois

Workers board up at Sally Beauty in downtown Chicago on Sunday, March 22. Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo

With applications by state residents for unemployment insurance surging, the Illinois Department of Employment Security has announced emergency rules for those who can qualify for benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The giant coronavirus stimulus legislation signed into law Friday provides federal money for the state to provide extra and extended unemployment benefits.

The Department of Employment Security has not yet revised its website to reflect how newly eligible people can apply for the new federally funded assistance, with state officials still working out the details.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a briefing Saturday a “deluge” of applications for unemployment continue to flood the department.

Under the new federal law, funding will flow to states to help cover gig workers newly eligible for unemployment compensation; 13 weeks of extra payments will be added to the 26 already allowed and, according to Section 2104 of the legislation, there will also be an “emergency increase in unemployment compensation” of “an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months. “

Tens of thousands of workers across Illinois have been temporarily out of work since the outbreak began forcing businesses to close. Last week, Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants to stop serving dine-in customers, and on Saturday, he issued a stay-at-home order leaving just “essential” businesses in operation.

Frustration mounts as state scrambles to keep up with jobless benefits claims

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The result is countless people are now out of work and being forced into the state’s unemployment system. Illinois alone saw more than 64,000 new claims for unemployment benefits from March 16-18, and an unprecedented 130,000-plus claims so far this month, officials said.

To handle this massive influx of new applications, IDES announced it recently adopted emergency rules for who qualifies for unemployment insurance.

Unemployment insurance (UI) basics

In normal times, UI provides temporary income via federal funds to Illinois residents who are unemployed but able, available and actively seeking work each week.

The amount residents can receive depends on their usual pay rate with benefits ranging from $51 to $580 per week. Those approved can receive up to 26 weeks of benefits in a 12-month period.

The new emergency rules adopted during the coronavirus pandemic open up UI to a much larger group of workers. This means many people who wouldn’t typically qualify for UI can get benefits during the state of emergency.

Additionally, under the federal relief bill passed last week, Illinois residents receiving unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 weekly above what they would receive in regular unemployment benefits until July 31, 2020.

Workers temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 can get UI

Illinois residents who are temporarily out of work because their employer has closed due to the coronavirus can qualify for UI if they meet all the other basic requirements.

The state isn’t expecting anyone to go out looking for a new job during a stay-at-home order: as long as applicants are prepared to return to their job as soon as the employer reopens, they’ll be considered to be actively seeking work and will qualify.

Under emergency rules, these workers will not have to register with the employment service.

Workers who quit due to COVID-19 fears cannot get UI

Unlike Illinois residents who are temporarily laid off by their employers’ closure, workers who voluntarily leave their job over concerns of the coronavirus will not be eligible for UI. The agency says “an individual generally has a duty to make a reasonable effort to work with his or her employer to resolve whatever issues have caused the individual to consider quitting.”

Parents who leave work due to a child’s school closure can get UI

With all Illinois schools closed through at least the end of April, and possibly the remainder of the school year, parents who voluntarily leave work to care for their child can qualify for UI because they “could be considered as unemployed through no fault of” their own.

You must still meet all of the other standard requirements, and unlike workers temporarily laid off due to COVID-19, parents who voluntarily leave work must be registered with the employment service.

Anyone who’s already exhausted UI rights may be eligible for additional benefits

With the passing of the federal relief bill in Congress last week, IDES announced Tuesday that some individuals who have already received their full 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits in the last one-year period will be eligible for additional benefits during the crisis.

“If you have exhausted your benefits, or you are close to exhausting your benefits, we are finalizing the process to continue benefits under the stimulus package,” IDES said in a Q-and-A posted on its website. The agency says more information will be issued once guidance is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Here’s how to apply for UI

You can call the Illinois Department of Economic Services at (800) 244-5631 or 866-488-4016 (TTY), but users are urged to file claims via the IDES website. And do not go in person: as of March 19, IDES offices are closed to the public until further notice.

To accommodate the massive surge of applicants, the agency has staggered times for people to submit claims:

  • People whose last names start with the letters A through M are asked to file claims online on Sundays, Tuesdays or Thursdays.
  • Last names beginning with N through Z should file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays.
  • Saturdays are set aside for people who aren’t able to file during their allotted time, officials said.

People without internet access should call in according to the following schedule, per IDES:

What is unemployment insurance?

Unemployment insurance provides temporary income assistance for those who have been separated from employment through no fault of their own and who meet certain eligibility requirements.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. You also must:

  1. be able (physically and mentally) and available for work;
  2. register with the state employment service; and,
  3. be actively seeking work.

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible at this time. To be eligible, you must be authorized to work in the U.S.

If you have reduced hours which results in your wages being less than what your unemployment benefit would be, you may qualify for some assistance.

For a full listing of eligibility requirements please review pages 4 through 6 of the IDES Unemployment Insurance Handbook at http://www.ides.illinois.gov/IDES%20Forms%20and%20Publications/CLI105L.pdf.

COVID-19: There are different eligibility requirements if you were temporarily laid-off due to COVID-19 (see below).

Am I eligible if I was laid-off due to the COVID-19 virus?

Yes. Individuals who have been temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment benefits as long as they are able, available, and actively seeking work. Under recently adopted emergency rules, the individual does not have to register with the employment service, and is instead considered to be actively seeking work as long as they are prepared to return to his or her job as soon as the employer re-opens.

What if I quit my job because I am concerned about COVID-19?

An individual who leaves work voluntarily without a good reason attributable to the employer is generally disqualified from receiving UI. The eligibility of an individual in this situation will depend on whether the facts of his or her case demonstrate the individual had a good reason for quitting and that the reason was attributable to the employer.

What if I am confined to my home because a licensed physician has diagnosed me, or someone I must stay home to care for, with having COVID-19? What if the government imposes or recommends a quarantine?

An individual in any of those situations would be considered to be unemployed through no fault of his or her own. However, to qualify for UI, he or she would still need to meet all other eligibility requirements.

What if I leave work because my child’s school has temporarily closed and I feel I must stay home with them?

Under the current circumstances, someone who left work to care for their child could be considered as unemployed through no fault of his her own; in that case, to qualify for UI, the individual would still need to meet all other eligibility requirements.

For more information regarding unemployment due to COVID-19, please review the COVID-19 press release issued by IDES at https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/COVID-19-and-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx.

Who administers unemployment insurance?

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

Phone Number: 800.244.5631

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

Visit https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/aboutides/Pages/10%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know.aspx. Along with general demographic and background information, individuals will need the following information to apply:

  • Drivers license or state ID
  • Current residential and mailing address
  • Social security number
  • Last dates of employment
  • Number of days worked during the last employment period
  • Number of weeks earning $484 or more during last employment period

If you experience difficulties filing an application online, you can call the IDES support phone number at 800.244.5631 for assistance. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online, as wait times are upwards of 30 minutes given the high call volume at this time.

Once my application is approved, how long will it take to receive the benefit and how much will I receive?

It takes roughly two weeks to get the first payment, and normally the first payment is for one week’s worth of benefits. Your benefit is calculated on earnings that have been reported by your previous employer. The minimum benefit per week is $51 and the maximum per week is $484. You may qualify for an additional amount if you claim a qualifying dependent.