Illinois Unemployment Eligibility Requirements

Get the Illinois unemployment eligibility requirements. Find out how to file your unemployment claim in Illinois online or by phone using the information below. If you still have questions or issues about applying for Illinois unemployment benefits then contact the Illinois unemployment office.

Illinois Unemployment Benefits
You are eligible for benefits only for weeks in which you meet all of the following conditions and are not subject to disqualification:

  • You were unemployed during that week
  • You were paid $1,600 or more in wages during your base period for insured work
  • You were paid at least $440 of your base period wages at any time during the base period outside the calendar quarter in which your wages were highest
  • During the week, you were able to work, available for work and actively looking for work
  • ou were registered for work with IDES
  • You filed your claim for the week as scheduled using IDES' automated Tele-Serve system or as otherwise directed by your local IDES office
  • You have served one waiting week.The waiting weekis a qualifying period required by law, and benefits are not paid for this week. It is usually the first week for which you file your claim. To obtain credit for the waiting week you must meet all the requirements listed above and not be subject to disqualification

How do I file for Illinois unemployment benefits?
File a claim online, or visit one of the IDES offices located throughout the state where individuals can file an "initial claim" for benefits, or change their mailing address.

What information do I need?

  • Social Security Number and Name as it appears on your Social Security card
  • If claiming your spouse or child as a dependent, the Social Security Number, Date of Birth and name of dependent(s)
  • Employer's name, mailing address, employment dates, and separation reason for all recent employers
  • If you are not a United States citizen, your Alien Registration Information
  • If you worked since Sunday of this week, the amount of gross wages earned this week. (all gross wages for any work performed, full or part time, must be reported. Your gross wages are the amount you earned before any deductions, not your take home pay
  • Wages in the form of lodging, meals, merchandise or any other form should be included. Gross wages must be reported the week in which they are earned, not the week in which the wages were received. Under some circumstances, partial benefit payments may be made
  • You will need either a valid social security card or some other identification card which bears your social security number. In addition, you must present a second form of positive identification

Why do I have to fill out the forms if IDES already has my information on the computer?
To accurately determine your eligibility, we need to have the most current information, including some that your employer does not routinely report to us. In addition to your name, address and social security number, we often need other information. For instance, we need to know if you had multiple employers, the reason for your separation from work and the number of your dependents.

To certify for (or "claim weeks" of) for unemployment benefits over the phone, using a service called TeleServe, or to find the location and phone number of the nearest IDES office:

  • call 888-337-7234
  • using your touch-tone phone, press 1 to continue in English, or wait for next option
  • at the next selection, press 5-1-2
  • enter your 5 digit zip code

Calculating unemployment benefits and how long do unemployment benefits last?
Payments for unemployment benefits can vary from state to state, but calculating how much you will receive is simple enough to figure out for yourself. Most states determine weekly benefits using the base period quarter in which wages are highest, called the High-Quarter Method. The remaining states might use multiple methods based off the Annual-Wage Method to the Average-Weekly-Wage Formula. Because the High-Quarter Method is the most common method of computing benefits, you may be able to use this to help you determine your unemployment benefits.

How can I estimate my unemployment benefit amount?
The period that the wage earner worked closes to full time is called the high quarter. This is the period in which wages were the highest. Take the amount earned during that quarter and divide by 13, which is the number of weeks in a calendar quarter. The state determines the percentage of that wage that will be replaced. The weekly wage is divided and the weekly benefit is calculated based on the weekly wage. Depending on the state you live in, the benefit amount may replace one half of the average weekly earnings.

How long do unemployment benefits last?
After the unemployment benefits have been calculated, your state will determine the duration of benefits. Several states establish uniform durations of 26 weeks for all workers who meet qualifying wage requirements, while other states have the flexibility to assign benefits lasting anywhere from 26 to 30 weeks.

This page provides general information about applying for Illinois unemployment benefits. The eligibility requirements in Illinois may change from time to time, we highly recommend that if you cannot find the information you are looking for on this page that you contact the Illinois unemployment office. They should be able to assist you with your questions or issues about your unemployment claims.