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    Sadly, many unemployed workers in Illinois lose their unemployment benefits because they do not follow the guidelines set by the Illinois UI Agency. Protect your UI benefits by learning what requirements you must follow according to Illinois Department of Employment Security guidelines.

    These guidelines are described in the State of Illinois Department of Employment Security (DES) Unemployment Insurance Benefits Handbook. This handbook provides detailed instructions on how to apply for UI benefits and protect your benefits. This article will summarize some of the main points of the handbook.

    First, it is worth noting that in Illinois, unemployment benefits are paid entirely by employers. Unlike social security benefits, which are funded from deductions off your wages, you do not pay any part of your UI benefits.

    Eligibility Requirements:

    To receive unemployment insurance benefits in Illinois you must:

    – Have earned $1,600 or more during your base period, of which at least $440 were earned on another quarter besides your highest earning quarter.

    NOTE: Your base period includes the first four calendar quarters of the last five quarters since you filed your initial UI claim. Your highest earning quarter is the calendar quarter when you received the highest income.

    – You must have lost your job due to no fault of your own. If you quit your job voluntarily, retired or were fired with cause (e.g. committing a felony or gross misconduct), you may be disqualified from receiving UI payments.

    – You must register for work with the Illinois Department of Employment Security and actively search for work during every week you claim for UI benefits.

    – You must certify your weekly benefits. If you do not certify for a weekly benefit, IDES may understand you have found work and cancel your claim.

    – You must serve a waiting week before UI payments start. Your waiting week is the first week you certify your weekly benefits for. During this waiting week you do not receive payment. If you follow IDES requirements, you can receive credit for the waiting week in future weeks.

    – Report any income you earn while receiving UI benefits. This includes tips, commissions, board and lodging and other benefits you might receive for your work.

    – Only claim for UI payments if you are willing and able to work. If you are not able to work due to illness, vacation or some other problem, you should not claim for UI payments. Unemployed workers who fall sick or suffer some kind of disability can apply for special benefits.

    If you claim for UI benefits without meeting these requirements your claim could be canceled and your future eligibility for benefits may be jeopardized.

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