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    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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