Filing an Unemployment Claim - Illinois

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You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, and you must have earned sufficient wages in your base period (the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim, or alternatively the last 4 quarters). Also, you must be able and available for full-time work. You must be registered to work with IDES.

You can apply online at the state website, or in person at an IDES office. Your local IDES office can be found on the IDES website by selecting Office Locator from the About IDES menu.

Your weekly benefit amount is determined by the total wages paid to you by each of your employers during your “base” period. The minimum amount of benefits for an individual is $51 a week, and the maximum is $385 per week. Claimants with non-working spouses can receive up to $458 per week, and up to $531 a week with dependent children.

The length of time that you will receive benefits is also based on how much you made during the base period, but not more than 26 weeks.

You must continue to file weekly. Also, you must continue to be able and available for full-time work. You must actively seek employment, while keeping a record of your work search activities using the Work Search Record. You must register with the Illinois Employment Service, either online at or at a local Illinois Department of Employment Security office. Finally, you must accept suitable work.

You must appeal within 30 calendar days from the date the decision was mailed to you. Your appeal may be submitted by mail, by fax, or in person. Also, you must keep filing your weekly claims regularly because you will only be paid for weeks you filed if you win your appeal.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.