Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance in Illinois


Eligibility for unemployment in Illinois can be complicated to navigate, especially if you have just lost your job and are anxious about what to do next. ‘What are the requirements to get unemployment?’ is a question many Illinois residents may ask when they find themselves suddenly without work. Unemployment insurance eligibility is actually accessible to most workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Many employers pay for unemployment insurance for their employees through taxes, and many employees have the right to those benefits simply by having worked for such an employer. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) manages the unemployment insurance program. While workers may be entitled to the program’s benefits because of their employers’ contributions, there are still certain eligibility requirements that need to be met in order to receive payment. Learn how to meet IL unemployment eligibility requirements here.

Who qualifies for Illinois unemployment?

The qualifications for unemployment in Illinois largely depend on your employment conditions prior to losing your job. A person who qualifies for unemployment insurance is referred to as a claimant, and he or she must have worked for an employer who is required to pay for this insurance in the form of taxes. The majority of employers in the state of Illinois pay for unemployment insurance, so many workers are covered if they become unemployed. Another unemployment qualification involves the reason why you lost your job or have become unemployed. Regarding how to qualify for unemployment insurance, you must have been laid off or terminated for reasons outside of your control, such as a company downsizing or relocation.

Eligibility for unemployment in IL also depends on the wages you earned while you were working. Eligibility for EDD, which is known as IDES in Illinois, is only granted to claimants who earned above a certain amount within a 12-month period, called a base period. Additionally, to qualify for unemployment, a claimant’s wages need to have been more or less equally dispersed throughout that base period. The details of unemployment eligibility wage requirements, including exact figures, are explained in our comprehensive guide.

Who does not qualify for Illinois unemployment?

When researching how to qualify for unemployment, it is just as important to be aware of what may disqualify you from participating in this program. Determining who qualifies for unemployment can actually be easier to figure out if you look at the factors that might make you ineligible to receive these benefits. You cannot qualify for unemployment if you have been fired from your job due to misconduct, criminal activity or because of a strike or labor dispute. You are exempt from unemployment qualification if you quit your job out of your own volition, although certain exceptions do apply concerning specific types of working conditions. You also do not meet qualifications for unemployment if you have chosen not to apply or accept work. Claimants generally do not qualify for unemployment if they are full- or part-time students, except for cases in which the claimant is participating in a job training program approved by IDES. However, if the above disqualifications do not apply to you, then you may begin to learn how to apply for unemployment compensation.

Requirements for Receiving Benefits

Besides knowing how to qualify for unemployment, you should also be aware of the requirements involved for receiving benefits. These unemployment insurance eligibility requirements have more to do with the steps you need to take in order to have your unemployment claim approved and begin to receive benefits. An important requirement for unemployment eligibility is to ensure that you file your claims in a timely manner, either online or otherwise. To be eligible for unemployment insurance, a claimant must also register online with the Illinois employment service system, which can assist unemployed state residents with finding a job. The employment service system is important in helping you fulfill another eligibility requirement, which is to actively look for work. Eligibility for unemployment, aside from the other requirements and qualifications, depends on you being able to work and available to work while you actively look for a job. More details on the eligibility requirements for unemployment can be accessed on our downloadable comprehensive guide.

Maintaining Your Benefits

After meeting the qualifications for unemployment in Illinois, as well as fulfilling the eligibility requirements, you will need to learn how to maintain your benefits. Your continued eligibility for unemployment benefits largely depends on your commitment to following the IDES guidelines. To maintain your unemployment eligibility, you must continue to actively look for a job, as well as keep records of your job search. While you receive benefits, you must also meet the requirements for being able and available to work. To continue qualifying for unemployment benefits, keep in mind that the IDES has the right to require you to present proof of your job search at any time. If you experience difficulty keeping track of the jobs for which you apply, the IDES has several resources to help you. Every two weeks, you will need to certify for benefits either online or through the automated telephone service called Tele-Serve. Failing to do so may result in a delay or loss of benefits for those weeks that you did not certify. Your eligibility for unemployment generally ends once you become employed. Remember that the IDS will only issue unemployment benefits to claimants for a maximum of 26 weeks within a 12-month period, so it is advisable that you efficiently look for a new job and accept an employment offer before your benefits expire.