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    People who lose their jobs through no fault of their own find thenmselves with a loss of income. They still need to pay for their homes, feed their families, and meet their basic needs. Unemployment insurance is a benefit set up to help people meet their needs until they find new employment. It is a temporary measure that helps fill gaps until people can get back on their feet.

    In the state of Illinois, unemployment insurance is meant to be a temporary benefit. Recipients are expected to be able to work and actively seeking employment. There are several requirements for recipients in regard to their job search. People on unemployment should be looking for employment and keep connected with their counselor or agency representative regarding any changes. While on unemployment, recipients must keep several requirements in mind:

    1. You must be actively be looking for a job. You must register for work with the Illinois Employment Service, either online or in person. Their offices may have contacts and listings of possible job leads. Being registered can help with the job search process.

    2. You must make at least 2 job contacts per week. Job contacts include filling out job applications and sending resumes. Many companies now only accept online applications. Consult regulations for this in regard to the job search with material given to you or with an agency represntative.

    3. You must keep a record of all of your job search activities, including a record of all job contacts, the dates you applied and places you apply for work. When you apply for benefits, you will receive a form on which to record this information which you may have to provide to the agency on a regular basis. A review of certification forms that each claimant must maintain can occur where recipients must document their work search efforts.

    4. You must not be disabled. If you become disabled there are different programs available to help you and your unemployment counselor or local unemployment office can direct you to those resources. If you are disabled you must contact the Illinois office so they are aware of this.

    Unemployment recipients must fufill these job search requirements each week. They should be prepared to provide a weekly verfifcation so  the unemployment office knows they are meeting all of the requirements. The  job search records must be up to date. Recipients may be called into their local unemployment office for a periodic eligibility review with an agency representative.

    While looking for employment, Illinois residents can take advantage of public offices that assist with the job search. The state has several agencies and webstes that help recipients with the job search. One of these sites is Illinois Job Link. (http://www.ides.illinois.gov/page.aspx?module=10&item=2375) The site provides tools and resources such as job search events and fairs in local areas of the state. Information on workshops and new publications are also available.  This site provides information to job seekers in areas like:

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    Illinois Jobs

    Illinois Unemployment Assistance

    In the first week that you are laid off work you should file for benefits. It is best to do it right away either online or at your local IDES center. The Illinois Department of Employment Security is geared to provide assistance when you are unemployed and you can clear up any doubts you may have about eligibility as quickly as possible. At the same time you can register for job placement right there at the IDES office or online at Illinois Skills Match. When you make your claim be ready to supply the information that they will need to process your claim.

    First on the list of course will be your social security number which you will need to verify by some means such as a valid Social Security Card or a W-2 form or even your wages check stub. Have ready the names and addresses of your employers along with the length of time you worked for them as well as a clear record of the wages you received ( do not leave out your vacation pay or your severance pay if you received them). Other information you will need to submit is whether you are presently receiving any pension such as Social Security and any other money you earn either part-time or doing odd-jobs. Have your husband´s or wife´s social security number available and state whether or not your spouse is presently working.

    Other necessary data includes the names of your children, their dates of birth and their social security numbers. This is required even if the child is a step child, and (if under 18 years old) any adopted children. If your child is disabled then age is not important. The person who takes your claim will also want to know if you have worked in any other state during the last two years or for a railroad. Also tell them if you were employed by the federal government or if you have been in the armed forces during that time period. Take great care that the information is accurate because false information or holding back data that applies to your claim would be seen as trying to receive unemployment benefits fraudulently which could incur fines or even a prison sentence. All this information can be presented online or at your local IDES office.

    You can then check the status of the claim calling Tele-Serve at 1-888-337 -7234 or TDD/TTY 1-800-662-3943. If you need to locate your nearest IDES office you can call 1-888-367-4382. They will get you started on your job search too. Illinois Skills Match connects people with available jobs by matching the potential employee with any offers of work that come up. IDES is an equal opportunity employer which follows all non discrimination laws whether state or federal in all its programs. If you have a disability you should request auxiliary aids and services. This can be done at the IDES office or bay calling (312) 793-9290 or TTY (888) 340-1007.

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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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