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How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Illinois?

Illinois uses a very simple formula for determining unemployment insurance eligibility. The flat qualifying amount (FQA) method is utilized. You must earn a minimum of $1,600 within the entire base period to qualify. You must also earn an additional $440 in wages outside of your highest quarter wages.

Illinois offers both an extended base period and an alternate base period. The alternate base period uses the last four completed calendar quarters of the base period (instead of the first four). The extended base period is available to those workers who received disability under the Worker’s Compensation Act of the Occupational Diseases Act. If you qualify, your base period may be extended up to one year.

In Illinois an employer or employing unit is covered under unemployment insurance if it paid at least $1,500 in wages during any calendar quarter in the current or previous calendar year. Further, an employer/employing unit is also covered under unemployment insurance if it paid wages to at least one employee and employed said worker at least one day per week during the 20 weeks of the current or previous calendar year.


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