What is Illinois Unemployment Insurance? Who is eligible for Illinois Unemployment Insurance? How do I apply for Illinois Unemployment Insurance?

What is Illinois Unemployment Insurance? Who is eligible for Illinois Unemployment Insurance?

What is Illinois Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed
through no fault of their own that meet Illinois’ eligibility requirements. Illinois Unemployment Insurance is a state-operated insurance program designed to partially replace lost wages when you are out of work. … Unemployment insurance, however, cannot and does not protect you against wage losses while you are absent from work due to illness or while you are idle by choice.
Unemployment insurance is a state-operated insurance program designed to partially compensate you for
loss of wages when you are out of work. As with fire, accident, health and other types of insurance, it is for an
emergency: when you are temporarily or permanently out of a job or if you work less than full-time due to
lack of work.
The program ensures that, if you meet the eligibility requirements of the law, you will have some income while
you are looking for a job, up to a maximum of 26 full weeks in a one-year period. However, unemployment
insurance cannot and does not protect you against wage losses while you are absent from work due to illness
or while you are idle by choice.
Unemployment insurance should not be confused with Social Security, which is a federal program to protect
you and your dependents against loss of earnings upon retirement, permanent disability or death. You pay for
Social Security partially through payroll deductions; you do not pay any part of your wages, either directly or
through payroll deductions, for unemployment insurance in Illinois. Unemployment insurance benefits are funded by tax dollars collected from Illinois employers.
Because employers pay the cost of unemployment insurance (the amount that they pay varies depending on
the number of claims charged to their experience), employers have the right to contest claims that they believe
are not legitimate.

Who is eligible for Illinois Unemployment Insurance?

To be eligible for this benefit program, you must a resident of Illinois and meet all of the following:

  • Unemployed, and
  • Worked in Illinois during the past 12 months (this period may be longer in some cases), and
  • Earned a minimum amount of wages determined by Illinois guidelines, and
  • Actively seeking work each week you are collecting benefits.

Unemployment insurance, like other forms of insurance, requires that certain eligibility conditions be met
before your claim can be paid. These conditions are designed to determine that you have been recently
employed and are now unemployed through no fault of your own. You are eligible for benefits only for weeks
in which you meet all of the eligibility conditions and are not subject to disqualification.

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY

1. You are unemployed through no fault of your own.
2. You were paid $1,600 or more in wages during your base period for insured work
3. You were paid at least $440 of your base period wages at any time during the base period outside the
calendar quarter in which your wages were highest.
4. You are registered for work with IDES.

WEEKLY ELIGIBILITY

1. You filed your claim (certified) for the week as scheduled using the automated Tele-Serve system, via the
Internet or as otherwise directed by IDES staff.

2. You have served one “waiting week.” The “waiting week” is a qualifying period required by law. Benefits
are not paid for this week. It is usually the first week for which you file your claim

3. During the week, you were able to work, available for work and actively looking for work.

DISQUALIFICATIONS

Even though you meet the eligibility conditions listed above, you will not be eligible for benefits if you are
disqualified. You will be disqualified if:

1. You quit your job without good cause attributable to your employer, unless you quit because of one of
these reasons: health, sexual harassment, domestic violence, unsuitable work, acceptance of another job,
failure to exercise bumping privileges or the need to accompany a military spouse or a spouse who is
relocating due to employment.

2. You were discharged for misconduct connected with your work.

3. You failed, without good cause, to apply for or accept a suitable job offered to you. Under the law, a job is
not suitable if:

a. The job opening exists because of a labor dispute.

b. The wages, hours or other working conditions of the job are not as good as those that exist for the
same kind of work in the same community.

c. Your safety, health or morals may be endangered.

d. You would have to resign from or be prevented from joining a union to get or keep the job.

e. You would displace another worker under a collective bargaining agreement and cause that person to
be laid off.

Note: If any of the first three disqualifications apply to you, you will not be eligible for future benefits until you
find another job and earn an amount equal to or more than your weekly benefit amount in each of four calendar
weeks, and then lose that job through no fault of your own. (A few types of work cannot be used to requalify.)

4. You were discharged because you committed a felony or theft in connection with your work. You may be
denied all benefits based on wages paid you up to the date of your discharge.

5. You are unemployed because a labor dispute has caused a stoppage of work at the place where you work.
You may be denied benefits until the stoppage ends. If you can show that you and all the other workers in
your grade or classification were not participating in or directly interested in the labor dispute, you will
not be denied benefits even though there is a stoppage.

6. For the same week for which you claim Illinois benefits, you are receiving unemployment insurance
benefits from another state or under a federal law such as the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.

7. For any week for which you claim benefits, you have been or will be paid or your employer is obligated to
pay wages in the form of vacation pay, vacation allowance or stand-by pay for an announced shutdown
for inventory or vacation purposes or if, in connection with your separation, the employer makes or
will make such payment and files a timely designation of the period covered by the pay or for which you
receive wages in lieu of notice or a back-pay award.

8. For the same week for which you claim benefits, you are receiving workers’ compensation for a temporary
total disability equal to or more than the unemployment insurance benefits you could draw for the week.
If the amount is less than the benefits, you may be paid the difference.

9. Since the beginning of your prior benefit year (please see page 14) in which you were paid benefits, you
have not earned the required amount to qualify for a second year of benefits.

10. You will be paid or have received a retirement pension or other similar periodic payment for the week for
which you claim benefits. One-half (50%) of your retirement pension payment (if paid for in part by your
base period or chargeable employer) or all (100%) of your retirement pension payment (if the base period
or chargeable employer paid all of its cost) is deducted from your unemployment insurance benefits.

Retirement pension deduction is determined by using the following calculation: monthly amount of
pension is divided by thirty (30) then multiplied by seven (7), which is the weekly pension amount. If
the employer paid any part of the pension, then the weekly pension amount is divided by two (2) to
determine one-half (50%).

For example, an individual receives $1030.50 a month in retirement pension, of which the employer paid
part of the pension and the weekly benefit amount is $331.00. The formula is as follows:

11. Your claim is based on wages that were earned while you worked for an educational institution as a
teacher, researcher or administrator, you are between academic terms or you are on vacation or a holiday
recess and you have the reasonable assurance of returning the following term. However, educational
personnel might qualify for unemployment insurance benefits between and within an academic term
if they have sufficient non-academic wages. You will be disqualified if you worked for any educational
institution as a bus driver, crossing guard, cafeteria worker, clerk, etc. and you are between academic terms
and there is reasonable assurance that you will return to such work in the term that immediately follows.
Academic personnel might also be disqualified during a period of paid sabbatical leave.

12. You are a professional athlete, you are between sport seasons and there is reasonable assurance that you
will return to athletic services.

13. Your benefits would be based upon wages earned while you were an alien who was not a permanent
resident or did not have a work permit.

How do I apply for Illinois Unemployment Insurance?

Illinois now offers improved and expanded internet filing and online certification for most unemployment claims. Apply for Unemployment Insurance on the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

How can I contact someone?

For Unemployment Insurance inquiries, including questions about claims, certification, and Direct Deposit, or to certify for benefits online, please visit our website or call Claimant Services to speak to a representative at 1-800-244-5631 (TTY 1-866-322-8357).

For Employer Information, including Unemployment insurance tax contribution rates, special requirements for new and small employers, quarterly filing requirements and household employers, please call our Employer Services Center at 1-800-247-4984.

For help finding a job or to recruit a new employee, please visit Illinois JobLink. Illinois JobLink is your best source for posting and finding jobs in the state of Illinois.

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