Unemployment COVID-19 Resources
Unemployment Resources during COVID-19 Outbreak
If you were laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for emergency unemployment benefits. Please consider using the following resources to help you or a loved one access these benefits as soon as possible.
Last week, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. I was proud to vote for this historic relief package to support health care workers, small businesses, and families. The CARES Act expands unemployment insurance funding to protect and support hardworking Americans during this difficult time.
A key provision of this stimulus package is that once it is implemented in Illinois, individuals receiving unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 each week until July 31, 2020. In many cases, individuals will also be eligible for additional weeks of unemployment insurance above the 26 weeks provided under regular employment rules.
For more information on the CARES Act and Unemployment Insurance, please visit the Illinois Department of Employment Security's fact sheet, here.
State and Local Resources
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) recently adopted emergency rules to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible.
- For unemployment benefits questions, call: 1-800-244-5631
- Or visit the IDES website here
The State of Illinois has also launched a website to connect unemployed workers with employers looking to hire and offering free job training. More information can be found here.
Please note that in order to process the high volume of unemployment claims at this time, IDES implemented a schedule for filing claims online and over the phone based on last names.
For online filing:
- Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays
- Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
- Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
For Call Center filing:
- Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30 am - 6 pm
- Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30 am - 6 pm
- Fridays (7:30 am - 6 pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
More information on this can be found here.
Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19 FAQs
Do I qualify for Unemployment Insurance (UI) if I have been temporarily laid off because the place I work is temporarily closed due to COVID-19?
- If you have been temporarily laid off because of COVID-19, you could qualify for UI benefits as long as you are able and available for and actively seeking work.
- Under the emergency IDES rules, you would not have to register with the employment service. You are considered to be actively seeking work as long as you are prepared to return to your job as soon as the employer reopens.
Do I qualify for UI if I quit my job because I am generally concerned over the COVID-19 virus?
- Generally, if you have left work voluntarily without good reason attributable to the employer you are disqualified from receiving UI.
Do I qualify for UI if I am confined to my home because 1. a licensed physician has diagnosed me with COVID-19 or 2. I am taking care of a family member who has been professionally diagnosed as having COVID-19, or 3. there is a government-imposed or government-recommended quarantine?
- In this case, you would be considered to be unemployed through no fault of your own. However, to qualify you must still meet all other eligibility requirements, including the requirement that you are able and available to work, registered with state employment service, and actively seeking work from the confines of your home.
Do I qualify for UI if my child's school has been temporarily closed, and I feel that I must stay home to watch them?
- Given that all schools statewide have temporarily closed in response to COVID-19 and it is unlikely that you have an alternative to staying home to watch your child, you could be considered unemployed through no fault of your own.
- In this case, to qualify for UI, you must meet all other eligibility requirements (as stated above).
For more detailed answers or if you have questions regarding unemployment benefits at this time, please visit the IDES website here.