Illinois Unemployment Benefits
The Illinois Department of Employment Security manages all aspects of Illinois unemployment benefits. Unemployment insurance is offered to all individuals who are temporarily out of work, need financial assistance during this period of unemployment, and meet certain requirements set forth by the Department of Employment Security. Anyone who’s tried to understand and review the various eligibility requirements set forth by the Department has found how confusing and difficult it can be to read through and understand Illinois unemployment benefits laws. However, we have gone through the painstaking process of deciphering these various rules and lay them out for you in plain English below.
Basic Eligibility Rules
In order to qualify for Illinois unemployment benefits you must be either totally out of work or suffering from underemployment. The Department of Employment Security will look at not only how you became unemployed but also what kind of job you had prior to losing. Benefits will not be extended to individuals who took purposeful action which resulted in them becoming unemployed. This would include directly disobeying a supervisor or willfully violating company policies. Furthermore you must work for a “qualified employer” which is any business that was making unemployment tax payments to the Department of Employment Security every time you received a paycheck from your company.
Additionally, unemployment insurance is only available to those individuals who are both willing and able to find new job. Therefore, this rule excludes anybody who is either given up in their job search because they do not believe that they will be able to find new job anytime soon, anyone who has a disability which prevents them from finding a new job at the present time, or anyone who’s choosing to retire instead of find new job. From the time you submit your application until you are finished receiving Illinois unemployment benefits you must show a consistent effort in trying to find a new job that will replace the unemployment benefits income you are receiving each week.
Beyond these basic requirements, you must also meet various income eligibility rules. These rules examine how much money you earned at your prior employment leading up to the time that you file for unemployment insurance. The Illinois Department of Employment Security will examine specific twelve-month period (four calendar quarters) known as your Base Period. Your Base Period is defined as the first for out of five completed calendar quarters. To calculate your Base Period, you must not count both the current quarter and the quarter just completed and then add up the next four continuous calendar quarters.
During your Base Period, you must receive a minimum of $1600 in income from your employer. Additionally, you must of earned a minimum of $440 in any Base Period quarter that is not considered your highest earning Base Period quarter.
Filing For Benefits
The Illinois Department of Employment Security allows you to file for Illinois unemployment benefits in one of several ways. First you can file for unemployment benefits through their website. Second you may also located walk into a local Employment Security office, fill out an application, and submit it to employee while you are there. Finally, you can claim unemployment compensation over the phone by calling (800) 244-5631.