Unemployment Information

1). How can restaurant servers, or other hourly employees, get relief or benefits under the unemployment insurance program?

Unemployment insurance (UI) claims should be filed once someone has become unemployed. We recommend filing for benefits online at www.ides.illinois.gov

If they have any questions, contact IDES Claimant Services at (800) 244-5631.

An individual temporarily laid off in this situation (COVID-19 related issues) could qualify for benefits as long as he or she was able and available for and actively seeking work.

2). Will the first week of unemployment be covered under state or federal programs?

Per executive order issued by the Governor, the mandatory waiting week has been waived and will be covered under the State's unemployment insurance program.

3). How will the new federal guidance affect resources for displaced workers?

The emergency rule were adopted because of the new federal guidance.

4). How will the requirements for unemployment insurance change potentially under the emergency rules proposed by IDES?

In general, unemployment insurance provides temporary income maintenance to individuals who have been separated from employment through no fault of their own and who meet all eligibility requirements, including the requirements that they be able and available for work, register with the state employment service, and actively seek work. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current COVID-19 situation as possible. The emergency rules ensure that an individual who is unable to search for a job in their regular field of work because, for example, they have been confined to their home by a government-imposed quarantine, would be considered able and available for work even if they limited their search to work that could only be performed from their home (e.g., transcribing, data entry, virtual assistant services) and there is a labor market for that work. The emergency rules also waive the work search requirement for individuals who are temporarily laid off as a result of COVID-19. Individuals who have been discharged (as opposed to a temporary lay-off), will still be required to look for work.

5). Is there any ability for IDES to prohibit rates increases on employers for employee claims related to COVID 19?

IDES is working with the Governor's Office on state legislation to address this issue.

6). If an individual is currently collecting unemployment, can he or she continue to collect unemployment up to 26 weeks in a calendar year?

Yes, although the 26 weeks is not limited to a calendar year - it's 26 weeks in a benefit year, and a benefit year is a one-year rolling period from when someone files (Section 242). To receive unemployment beyond the expiration of a benefit year, the individual needs to go back to work and requalify under Section 607 of the Act (earn three times their weekly benefit amount).