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    In May, Illinois had an unemployment rate of 10.1%.  This is over half a percent higher than the national average.  This information is provided by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program.  Data is based on areas with a population of at least 25,000.

    Illinois unemployment is designed to help you meet financial obligations by giving you temporary compensation.  You’ll just need to make sure you are eligible according to Illinois law.  To be eligible for Illinois unemployment, you must have previously been employed.  You have to be not working due to no fault of your own, which means that quitting without a good reason isn’t going to permit benefits for Illinois unemployment.


    You will be expected to file ongoing claims once every two weeks (this is also called certifying for benefits).  Also, you will be expected to actively seek work and record any job offers or instances where you refused available work.  You will need to answer questions pertaining to any training you obtained.

    The amount of your unemployment benefits depends on your income during what is called a “base period”.  It includes the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters.  The four calendar quarters are January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December.  The  Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) program publishes information about begin and end dates of base period.  Benefits for individuals range from $51 to $385 every week.   However, if you have a spouse who is not working, the amount increases to $459 each week.   Having dependant children increases the potential  to $534 a week.

    Benefits that you receive from Illinois unemployment are subject to Federal income taxes.  You can just have the taxes taken out of your checks. File your claim as soon as possible after you become unemployed.  It can take two to three weeks before your first check from unemployment arrives in the mail.

    To file for unemployment, you will need your Social Security Number and your name as it appears on your social security card.  Filing for unemployment requires you to provide a lot of the same type of information you would supply on an employment application.  For each of your recent employers, you will need their name, mailing address, the date you started with the company and the date your employment was finished.

    You will need a reason why you are no longer employed with the company.  Bear in mind that to be eligible for unemployment you will need to prove that your unemployment is through no fault of your own.  Basically, you need to be able to show that you did everything possible to stay employed.

    Your Illinois unemployment benefits are paid through a debit card.  However, IDES prefers to pay via direct deposit and this would probably be more convenient for you as well.  This helps get your money sooner and it can be deposited into either a checking or savings account.

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