Your weekly benefit amount is determined by adding together your earnings in the two quarters of the base period when you earned the most, taking 47% of that total, then dividing the result by 26. The current maximum weekly unemployment benefit in Illinois is $418 per week. For example, let's say Todd had a steady job during the entire base period, earning $20,000 per year. In the highest paid two quarters, he earned $10,000 total. The state agency will take 47% of that amount ($4,700) and divide it by 26 to come up with his weekly benefit: $180 and change.
Illinois also offers an allowance to filers who are married and whose spouses don't work. You may claim the nonworking spouse allowance or the dependent child allowance, but not both. (To find out the current amounts of these extra benefits, contact the Illinois Department of Employment Security.)
Benefits are available for up to 25 weeks, for claims filed after the beginning of 2012. If you are still unemployed when your regular state benefits run out, you may be eligible for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and/or state extended benefits. (See Unemployment Benefits: How Much Will You Get -- and For How Long? for general information on these temporary programs.) These additional programs, enacted to help those who became unemployed during the recession that began in 2008, provide additional weeks of benefits, depending on when you first became unemployed. These additional benefits are temporary, and have been subject to much Congressional debate. Also, the availability of certain benefits depends on the current unemployment rate in the state; Illinois has stopped qualifying for some of these benefits. Contact the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) to find out which programs are in place when you apply for benefits. (You can find contact information below.)
You may file your claim online, at www.ides.state.il.us, or at a local IDES office. (You can find your local office by entering your zip code at the online office locator at www.ides.state.il.us/worknet.) Once it reviews your application, the IDES will send you a finding indicating whether your claim has been granted or denied and how much you will receive in benefits. If your claim is granted, you will be assigned a "certification day" when you must contact the agency to certify that you have met the eligibility requirements for the previous week, and then request benefits.
If your claim is denied or if at any time you are denied benefits (for example, because the agency finds that you were not actively searching for work), you may appeal the decision within 30 days after the letter of denial is mailed to you. After receiving your appeal request, the IDES will schedule a hearing before a referee. Following the hearing, the referee will make a decision and mail it to you.
If you disagree with the decision after the hearing, you may appeal it to the Board of Review, a five-member panel. You must do so within 30 days after the date of the referee's decision. If you disagree with the Board's decision, you may file an appeal in the Circuit Court for your county.
The IDES provides information on the unemployment process at its website, www.ides.state.il.us.
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