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    The first thing you need to do if you become unemployed in Illinois is ensure you have an alternative income source. If you have savings, a real estate portfolio or have a rich uncle, this may not be a problem. Unfortunately, most of us are rather lacking in the rich relatives and real estate portfolio department. A more common method of ensuring a steady income during periods of financial instability is filing for unemployment benefits. You can do this online or over the phone. If you meet the requirements of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, you will receive a monetary disclosure letter detailing what weekly benefits you will receive and for how long. However, this is only the start. To begin receiving unemployment benefits you must file for your weekly benefits on a bi-weekly basis.

    Illinois Tele-Serve System

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security uses Tele-Serve as its automatic telephone certification system. This process of certification begins only after you prove you are eligible for benefits. After your application has been approved you must certify your weekly benefits either online or over the phone.

    How Do I Call?

    There are two numbers available to Illinois unemployed workers: the Statewide number for all Illinois workers: 888.337.7234 and the number for the hearing impaired (available from 8:30 to 5:00 pm on weekdays): 800.662.3943

    What Will I Be Asked?

    If this is your first time applying for unemployment benefits, you are probably wondering what is the purpose of this certifying process? After all, hasn’t my application being approved? Why do I need to certify every other week. The certification process determines you are still eligible for unemployment benefits. It also determines if you are receiving income from another source that should be deducted from your unemployment compensation. Answering specific questions about your personal and financial life can be difficult, especially if you do not have the information at hand. We have therefore included a list of the questions you will be asked by the Tele-Serve or online certification systems.

    You will also be asked to provide personal details to confirm who you are. Documents requested include your SSN, the PIN provided by the Employment Security Department, your earnings before taxes for the weeks you are certifying and you last certification statement.

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