Illinois Unemployment Information – Benefits, Eligibility etc.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) is responsible for handling unemployment claims and benefits throughout the entire state. The state funded unemployed insurance is meant strictly for individuals who are temporarily out of work due to qualifying circumstances. In order to apply for Illinois Seal of Illinoisunemployment benefits, you must meet certain criteria.

Illinois Unemployment Qualifications

You may not be eligible under the following circumstances:

  • You were fired for misconduct
  • You quit your job by choice
  • You are missing work due to illness
  • You are not actively seeking work
  • You return to work
  • You refuse suitable work

In order to be eligible for Illinois unemployment benefits you must meet the following standards:

  • You must have earned enough wages in the past 18 months in order for IDES to determine a weekly benefits amount
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. Qualifying circumstances include:
    1. Being laid off as a result of business closing, lack of hours
    2. Work hours cut below full time hours (not as a result of disciplinary action)

If you meet the above criteria, you may qualify to receive Illinois unemployment benefits and can start the application process.

How to Apply

In Illinois, you have a couple different options for applying for unemployment insurance. If you have internet access, the simplest way is to apply online at:

You must register to file online. If you have any questions in regards to applying online, you may call the IDES office at (800) 244-5631.

The other option you have is to visit an IDES office in person to apply. However, if you apply in person you can expect to wait in line. You can find the nearest IDES office using the office locater here: The office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30AM-5:00 PM. In order to ensure prompt service, make sure to have the required information when you arrive. You will need:

  • Your name and SSN
  • Name, date of birth and SSN of any dependents you claim
  • Two forms of ID (one must have your SSN on it)
  • Name, address, phone numbers, and dates worked for all employers in the past 18 months. You will also need to state the reason why you are no longer working with these companies.
  • If filing for unemployment the same week your employment ended, you must provide your gross income for all days worked that week
  • Recently separated veterans must bring the Member 4 Copy of their DD form 214 / 215
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen you must have your alien registration card
  • If you are filing for unemployment benefits but live out of state, this link will be helpful:

Receiving your Benefits

If you have been approved to receive benefits, you should receive your first payment within 3 weeks of filing your claim. Your benefits can last for up to 26 weeks and the amount that you receive weekly will depend on your prior income. Illinois allows claimants to receive $51-$358 per week for benefits. If you have a spouse who is also not working, the weekly benefits amount can be up to $459 and up to $534 if you have children as dependents. Illinois only allows you to claim either a spouse or children as dependents, not both.

By default, IDES issues payments to a prepaid debit card. However, you also have the option of choosing direct depot which you can apply for after you’ve been approved for your benefits. You can apply for direct deposit here:

Certifying Weekly Benefits

In order to receive continuing benefits you must certify for benefits on a regular basis. IDES will let you know your certification date when they send your approval letter. Your certifications will be done every two weeks on the date that Illinois assigns you. If you fail to certify, you will not receive your payments. You can certify online or you may call in to certify.

Certifying Online:

Certify by phone: 1-888-337-7234. You may call to certify Monday-Friday from 5AM-7:30PM



In the event that you are declined for benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision. In order to appeal, you will have to complete the Request for Reconsideration of Claims Adjudicator’s Determination form and mail it to your nearest IDES offices within 30 days of receiving the decision. You must identify why you are seeking an appeal and present evidence to support your claim.

If your request for reconsideration is denied, an appeal will be sent to the Appeals office. Once they have reviewed your appeal you will receive a letter notifying you of your hearing date. In the event that you miss your hearing you have the ability to file for a rehearing within 10 days of the original date. You must have a reasonable explanation for why you missed the original date.

You can also appeal directly to the Board of Reviews. You can either write out an appeals letter or complete the APL124F: Notice of Appeal/Board of Review form. All appeals can be mailed to:

Board of Review

IDES Board of Review
33 S State St, 9th Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-2802

The last resort you have in appealing a decision is to file an appeal to the County Circuit Court within 35 days of receiving your decision.

Other Important Information

As with unemployment claims in other states, Illinois requires that you are actively seeking work while collecting unemployment. If it is found that you have not been attempting to find work, benefits can be ended. You must register for work through IDES as well.

Also, if you are working part time while receiving benefits you must report your earnings to IDES. Failing to do so is considered fraud and can result in:

  • Jail/Prison time
  • Governmental prosecution
  • Inability to receive benefits in the future
  • Penalties, Fines, and repayment of all benefits received
  • Losing your future income tax refunds


Helpful Resources

Here are some links that will be useful if you’re considering filing for Illinois unemployment.

IDES Official Site:

All IDES Contact Information

File an appeal:

Necessary Forms:

File for Benefits:


Phone: (800) 244-5631

Guide to Illinois Unemployment Insurance:

Find out Which Illinois Employers are having layoffs

Job Search and Training

37 Comments to “Illinois Unemployment Information – Benefits, Eligibility etc.”

  1. PATSY RAGLE says:


  2. I need to know how to get my paychecks from unemployment in Chicago IL. I was at there office for 6 1/2 hrs.I had to leave I had to pic up my daughter. I think its crazy someone has to wait for that long.

  3. I have recived a notice of possible Ineligibility the day after the day I was given to call. I have tryed and tryed to call with no luck getting through. I have paid into the system for 45 years and now that i need help i cant get any. CAN ANYONE HELP?????

  4. Karen Harris says:

    My unemployment benefits expired on Oct 23rd 2013, I was able to certify on Monday of this week. I didn’t receive my last check so now I’m uncertain about what I need to do.

  5. Signed up for benefits over 3 weeks , my claim was approved. But I have not received my check. When will I get it? Please reply.

  6. Vanessa Land says:

    Certified for my benefits on Tuesday 11/27/13 I was to receive my benefits on Thursdsy 11/28/13.However because of the Thanksgiving holiday it should have posted today Friday,11/29/13.What is the problem now need my benefits today not next week?

  7. I am still employed with DHS but, I haven’t had a client since May 01, 2013. I’m trying to start my unemployment benefits. On the unemployment site it says that I am already in

  8. Last week on Wednesday 12/11/13, I certified for benefits, but none came to my account. Where do I contact to find out why I did not receive anything?

  9. I went to apply for ides and talk to them on the phone,and they said they was going to call me at a certain time and never did.i havent even got a letter!

  10. sameer say says:

    I went out of country on emergency basis to see my father as he was on deathbed and I could not inform unemployment office n I calimed already when I was leaving but I didnt receive any thing n now I am back n I got some letter from unemployment office saying there was an interview secduled for me n I didnt attended.I dont know how to go n what to do.

  11. i missed my phone hearing due to phone complications have tried to contact office by phone but have been unsuccessful. I need to know how do I go by rescheduling my phone hearing if possible or do I have to recertify and start all over. please help i learning the online process on my own.

  12. I was approved for benefits since oct 2013 till oct 2014 and now have recieved a letter about the employer filing an appeal.. I don’t understand this.. Is that possible after being approved already?

  13. i was a caregiven for my dad from march 12-2012 to april 13-2014 my dad die i need your help i have bills to pay i miss my dad i have my mom she is 84 my home nub is 847-455-7643 help me

  14. i was a caregiven for my dad from march 12-2012 to april 13-2014 my dad die i need your help i have bills to pay i miss my dad i have my mom she is 84 help me


  16. Dived Hermez says:

    Hello I ask if I can apply for Unemployment but , i quit from my job and I will move to another state because of my father i take care of him he is disable so can i apply for it

  17. Annonymous says:

    For two days the Illinois Department of Employment Services line has been busy and my DP is two days late even after certifying on my day on time. Is there some sort of issue with payments going through in IL because for two days it says that they have been processing my benefits… This is concerning because I am no where near 26 weeks I was approved for…

  18. Need to apply for second benefit year

  19. where can i get a copy of my w2’s

  20. y. Turner says:

    Recently my employer cut my hours from 14 to 10 I have worked for a year. May I apply for supplement benefits?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I live in Iowa, I have wages in Iowa and Wisconsin. I recently had a job in Illinois and he didn’t file a W-2 because I was under the amount. I was let go from that employer. How do I file for unemployment benefits and in what state?

  22. Hope says:

    I was wondering if I can file for the summer? I work very part time for a school district as a crossing guard. Please let me know, thanks.

  23. Sharon D. says:

    I will soon need to file for unemployment but I will also be receiving 5 weeks vacation at the end of my work schedule in one lump sum. How will this affect my unemployment and can I specify the start day of unemployment benefits?

  24. Todd Lichtenwalter says:

    I’m about to lose my job plant is closing. I’m waiting to go to college can I able to receive unemployment pay still?

  25. Mike h says:

    Im trying to just Register.Every time i do It says cant complete Registration.I call that number and its busy ….Help?

  26. William Konn says:

    I’ve received my Chase Debit Card from the State of Illness. I activated it as required, and the card showed a zero balance. How can it be zero when I just got the card. I tried calling all the numbers associated with he card, and I couldn’t get through, and no live people to speak to. Is there any adult supervision in the State of Illness? No I didn’t misspell Illinois, it is a State full of Ill politicians who haven’t a clue about the problems in their system.

    • Tonya says:

      I just got mine today. Activated it. Zero balance also

      • Ben Bradley says:

        I have been approved for benefits for over a month. I have been emailed, called, harrassed, called a liar, and flat out been shown the door by the people at the Lawrence street office. I am owed over $2000 for a wrongful termination. NADA ZERO YOURE [email protected] PEOPLE ABSOLUTELY CUCKOLD [email protected]

    • Dillon says:

      Same situation and I applaud this post

  27. Jacki says:

    i got my card about 4 days ago and activated it zero balance too. illinois says it will take up to 72 hrs after u get ur card and certify it has been 240 hrs for me where is the money???

  28. Kat says:

    I applied online 12/17/15. .Laid off 12/15/15. .I applied online, received UI Finding letter. Is this approved? It says certify 1/5/16. .Do I get benefits for 3 weeks? Cannot get through to them via phone. Thanks

  29. J. Vel. says:

    I registered and put three dependents (my kids). I got a letter approving unemployment, but nothing for dependents. When I registered online, it said dependent pay is $100. I have been trying to call, but it says high call volume, try again later. Will a separate letter come, or have my dependents been denied? Please communicate. Thanks.

  30. Elizabeth Medina says:

    Unemployment Insurance Benefits Denied?

    Was a question raised regarding your eligibility for benefits? Is your former employer fighting your unemployment insurance claim? Are you looking to appeal and receive the benefits you deserve? If so, then can help!

    I’m a paralegal who is eligible, by state law, to represent an individual or entity in any proceeding before the Director, referee or board of review (see 820 ILCS 405/806 of the Unemployment Insurance Act). I can not only help you fill out appeal forms or fill them out for you, but I can also help you understand the appeal process and even represent you at your appeal hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

    I have won simple and complex appeals for myself in the past and am extremely confident I can help win yours and I’ll charge you a fraction of what an employment attorney would charge you.

    Free initial half hour consultation. Call me today at (847) 293-7044 or drop me an E-Mail at [email protected]. Serving a claimants in the following counties: Lake, Cook, McHenry, DuPage

  31. Tonya says:

    I was on FMLA my employer gave my job to a fellow co-worker, told me I could take another position at the same pay got 2 of my doctors to release me then they told me I needed to go to their doctor so I did he released me but then when I called no one would answer my call so I could be put back on the schedule. I applied for UI which has been denied because employer states i resigned which is not true. How do I prove I didn’t resign?

  32. Elizabeth Medina says:

    Was a question raised regarding your eligibility for benefits? Have you been denied unemployment benefits? Is your former employer fighting your unemployment insurance claim? Are you looking to appeal and receive the benefits you deserve? Are you facing an unemployment hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)? Then I can help.

    Free consultation and representation.

    Call or E-Mail Elizabeth today at (847) 293-7044 or [email protected]. Serving all NE IL claimants.

    If you haven’t filed for unemployment or have recently filed for unemployment, then I can also provide you with general unemployment information and answer simple unemployment questions.

  33. Rick P says:

    I worked 2 jobs. My full time job closed the office I was working in. My part time job I quit to move back to Texas. I have been denied benefits because I quit my part time job. Will an appeal be the only recourse? The 800 number is a joke. Over being on hold for more than 40 mins only to be told the same info I already know. They will provide no assistance. I have been hung up on just trying to find out why the 800 number is my only connection. Illinois sucks

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