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    If you are put off work for a week or longer you are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and your employer will make sure that you receive information about the steps you will have to take to take advantage of the program. In Illinois the unemployment insurance is administered by IDES which is The Illinois Department of Employment Security. There are of course legal requirements to be met for you to receive benefits provided for by your employers who pay taxes on your behalf while you are working for them. These benefits are not financed by deductions from your earnings.

    The basis for your entitlement to unemployment benefits is the amount you earned during a period of one year. You must have earned not less than $1,600 during your basic period. IDES calculate your base period as four quarterly periods during which you were working. The last quarter before you claim is not usually counted. So your base period if you claim anytime between January and March 2011 would be October 1 2009 through to September 31 2010. The quarter you earned the most will determine the amount of your benefits but you must have earned at least $440 in the rest of the base period in order to qualify for benefits. It is sometimes necessary for IDES to calculate your base period on the basis of the last four quarters that you worked and this can be arranged so that you qualify for benefits. Other arrangements can be made to take into consideration factors such as worker´s compensation or if you haven´t worked a complete year. If you have any doubts about this you can always get more information from your local IDES office. Apart from the foregoing information you should know that if your employer is not participating in the Illinois Insurance Program you are not entitled to benefits. This can happen in the case of some types of agricultural work and domestic work as well as some railroad and government employment. Benefits can be paid only if you are now completely unemployed or if you have taken on part-time work and are being paid only a fraction of your normal wage.

    It is also very important that you are out of work for reasons beyond you control. No benefits are paid if you leave your employment without a good reason and it must be your employer´s fault. If you are on strike you do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Once you file your claim and you are accepted as entitled to benefits you will have to remain qualified for those benefits at all times by being willing and able to work. Should you be on a training course approved by IDES you may still qualify but not if you are a regular student. You may not claim if you are on holiday or if for any other reason you are not able to accept a job such as sickness or family responsibilities.


    It is expected that you search for work and keep a record of your efforts every week that you receive unemployment insurance benefits,so that you can prove that you were willing to take on work if it was offered to you. Hopefully this information will be instrumental in helping you get through a difficult time in your life.

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