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    The United States Department of Labor recently reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 2, 000 to a seasonally adjusted number of 351,000. this was down from the prior weeks number of 353,000. This has been the lowest level since March of 2008. This comes from a decrease in new jobless claims from the previous month in February. Numbers may mean that fewer people are being laid off.  Efforts by state programs to target populations in need have help attributed to the decrease in numbers.

    The Illinois Deprtment of Employment Security has set up programs to assist unemployment recipients. These services are for different populations including laid off workers, veterans, seniors, and local community groups. Specialized programs help to focus on the needs of particular clients with different needs.

    Lasy year about this time unempemployment among returning veterans was double digits near fifteen percent. Added to this, people who lost jobs or were laid off after serving their country in the military are among those unemployed. In response, the Illinois Department of Employment Security makes veterans a  priority in service. Staff  work to connect veterans with the appropriate job and job training. Each office is assigned a Veterans’ employment representative, a fellow Veteran who is a specialist in providing employment services in caertain area. The representative also can refer  to job training programs with  partner agencies and assist with job search needs. IDES provides eligible Veterans with intensive services to help identify and overcome employment barriers. Examples include, but are not limited to, coordination and outreach with other State agencies and one-on-one employment assistance.

    In addition, post-9/11 Veterans, the Gold Card Program may provide eligible Veterans with:

    Illiois is also offering services for older workers. More older workers are in the workforce than ever before. Many are also deciding to retire later.  Older workers who are laid off face the prospect of a tough job market and competition with older workers. There are benefits to hiring workers that are older including:

    Individuals with disabilities also face lay offs. The state of Illinois provides services for these individuals. Everything from benefit panning and advocacy,  job opportunities and training,  and finding resources can be found on Illinois workNet.  Studies have shown that 87% of the public prefers to support businesses who hire people with disabilities.


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    Illinois Jobs

    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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    Learn what questions you will be asked by Illinois' Deparment of Employment Security Tele-Serve benefits claim service.

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security requires all unemployed workers to certify their weekly benefits online or over the phone. Our previous article explained how you can access the online certification site or call Illinois’ Tele-Serve certification. This article will provide more detail on this important step so you don’ t miss out on your unemployment benefits.

    Remember certifying your weekly benefits is key to receiving unemployment benefits so you want to make sure you do it right. We include below a list of the questions you will be asked when certifying your benefits. The same questions apply whether you claim online or by phone.

    Question 1. Have you received or will your receive holiday pay during the period of Sunday through Saturday?

    If y0u have received holiday pay during the weeks you are claiming unemployment for, you must specify the exact amount you received. Any holiday pay you receive will be deducted from your unemployment benefits.

    Question 2. Did you work during the weeks you are claiming for?

    A week period for the claim on benefits starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. You must provide your gross earnings for any work during the two-week period you are claiming for.

    Question 3. Has your dependency status changed?

    If your situation has changed, i.e. one of your children no longer qualifies as a dependent or is no longer living with you, you must explain this to the Employment Security Department.

    Question 4. Were you available to work each day during the week?

    For instance, if you were sick during any of the days of the week and were not fit to work you must answer “No” and specify which days you were not available. Note you will not get paid for any days you claim to have been unavailable.

    Question 5. Did you actively look for work during the period you are claiming for?

    Again, if you were not searching for work, you do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

    Question 6. Are you receiving or have you applied for Social Security Benefits?

    If you are, it may affect your eligibility for certain unemployment benefits.

    Question 7. Are you applying for or have you received retirement or disability pension?

    Answer truthfully, but understand claiming for disability pension could affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

    Question 8. Did you attend training courses? Did you go to all the classes? And if so, how many days did you miss class?

    You will only qualify for unemployment benefits, if you are attending courses approved by the Illinois Employment Security Department. You may not qualify for benefits on days where you missed training classes.

    Question 9. Has your telephone number changes?

    The Employment security department requires you to provide your current telephone and address. Make sure your details are correct and up-to-date or you could miss important and valuable information.

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