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    Learn what questions you will be asked by Illinois' Deparment of Employment Security Tele-Serve benefits claim service.

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security requires all unemployed workers to certify their weekly benefits online or over the phone. Our previous article explained how you can access the online certification site or call Illinois’ Tele-Serve certification. This article will provide more detail on this important step so you don’ t miss out on your unemployment benefits.

    Remember certifying your weekly benefits is key to receiving unemployment benefits so you want to make sure you do it right. We include below a list of the questions you will be asked when certifying your benefits. The same questions apply whether you claim online or by phone.

    Question 1. Have you received or will your receive holiday pay during the period of Sunday through Saturday?

    If y0u have received holiday pay during the weeks you are claiming unemployment for, you must specify the exact amount you received. Any holiday pay you receive will be deducted from your unemployment benefits.

    Question 2. Did you work during the weeks you are claiming for?

    A week period for the claim on benefits starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. You must provide your gross earnings for any work during the two-week period you are claiming for.

    Question 3. Has your dependency status changed?

    If your situation has changed, i.e. one of your children no longer qualifies as a dependent or is no longer living with you, you must explain this to the Employment Security Department.

    Question 4. Were you available to work each day during the week?

    For instance, if you were sick during any of the days of the week and were not fit to work you must answer “No” and specify which days you were not available. Note you will not get paid for any days you claim to have been unavailable.

    Question 5. Did you actively look for work during the period you are claiming for?

    Again, if you were not searching for work, you do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

    Question 6. Are you receiving or have you applied for Social Security Benefits?

    If you are, it may affect your eligibility for certain unemployment benefits.

    Question 7. Are you applying for or have you received retirement or disability pension?

    Answer truthfully, but understand claiming for disability pension could affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

    Question 8. Did you attend training courses? Did you go to all the classes? And if so, how many days did you miss class?

    You will only qualify for unemployment benefits, if you are attending courses approved by the Illinois Employment Security Department. You may not qualify for benefits on days where you missed training classes.

    Question 9. Has your telephone number changes?

    The Employment security department requires you to provide your current telephone and address. Make sure your details are correct and up-to-date or you could miss important and valuable information.

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    Illinois Jobs

    Tele-Serve and Online Benefits Certification makes claiming for your benefit weeks easy so you can spend your time on more important things, like looking for a job.

    Once you have filed your unemployment benefits claim you have an extra step to overcome before receiving you unemployment benefits. The Illinois Department of Employment Security allows you to certify your benefits online or by telephone. You chose what is most convenient to you.

    Certifying for Benefits.

    Certifying for benefits is a requirement to receive unemployment benefits. The purpose of certifying for benefits is to keep your claim active and to confirm you are still searching for employment and qualify for unemployment benefits.

    You must claim for your weeks of benefits every two weeks. Every unemployed worker registered with the Illinois Department of Employment Security receives a scheduled certification day and date to avoid unnecessary delays in the system for those who choose to certify for benefits online. If for whatever reason you miss your appointment you can still certify on Thursday or Friday of the same week.

    Note that the first week you are on unemployment benefits is called the “waiting week” and you will not receive payment for it. The term “waiting week” has causes some confusion among workers who thought it meant you had to wait a week before filing for unemployment. The “waiting week” is the first week of unemployment benefits after your initial claim.

    Online Certification

    To certify your unemployment benefits online you can go to the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s website and click on the claim weeks for benefits link . The website recommend you use Windows Explorer browser. If you do not have Explorer, the later versions of Firefox and Safari may work.

    Read the instructions and click on continue. If you have not used this system before, you will have to register with the service. To register, click on the register link at the bottom of the page. Fill in the form and use the username and password provided to login. This will take you to the website’s landing page. Click on “Claims Certification” link, fill in the form and submit your online claim.

    Telephone Claims

    You can also claim for your weekly benefits by telephone using Illinois Department of Employment Security’s Tele-Serve. Call 1-888-337-7234 from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    On your first call you will have to create PIN number, so y0u can confirm your identity in future calls. Write down your PIN number and keep it somewhere safe. Tele-Serve will request the following information: 1) Your Social Security Number and the PIN you chose on your first call, 2) the total gross wages you earned during the weeks you are claiming, and 3) your last Statement of Certification form.

    You can reply to the questions asked by Tele-Serve by using a touch-tone phone. In the main menu, press 1 to claim for weeks of unemployment, 2 to file for an additional claim or reopen a claim, 3 to request information on the status of your claim and 4 to establish or chain your PIN number.  Make sure y0u do not hang up the phone until you receive confirmation from Tele-Serve that your claim has been accepted. You will later receive a Statement of Certification of your claim by post.

    For more information on what questions you will be asked in the online form or Tele-Serve questionnaire read the next article in this series.

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