How to Apply for Unemployment Insurance in Illinois


Many often wonder how to apply for unemployment online in Illinois because they are concerned about the prospect of losing their jobs and not being able to meet their household expenses without a regular paycheck. Applying for unemployment insurance helps provide a potential safety net for eligible Illinois residents, as unemployment registration ensures paychecks for a certain number of weeks for those left without a full-time job while they search for new employment. Residents who register for unemployment insurance in Illinois receive money from those Illinois employers who are required to pay unemployment insurance taxes under the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act. Residents who successfully file for an unemployment claim, however, will receive only partial benefits for a limited amount of time, so it is essential to actively search for work while receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Under the law, it is also important that claimants be ‘able and available to work’ while receiving benefits under the state’s unemployment insurance law. The following paragraphs explain the application process for unemployment insurance in IL and review the options regarding where to sign up for unemployment. For additional specific information on how to apply for unemployment compensation, download our comprehensive guide.

What You Need To Apply for Unemployment in Insurance in Illinois

For those wondering, ‘How can I sign up for unemployment in Illinois?’ the process is relatively simple, provided you meet the program’s general eligibility requirements. If you are planning to apply for unemployment benefits, you must be jobless or working less than full-time, be unemployed through no fault of your own, have worked under your previous employer for a certain amount of time, have received a certain minimum amount in wages for insured work and be registered for work with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). If you are applying for unemployment benefits after learning how to meet eligibility requirements, you will also need certain documents in order to complete the physical or online application for unemployment. These include your name, Social Security Number, driver license, W-2 forms, pay stubs and more.

To file for unemployment, you must use the above documents to provide details like your weight, dependents, information about your previous employer, reason for leaving your job and more. While receiving unemployment benefits in Illinois, you must provide weekly details about your job search efforts, including what kind of work you are seeking and what steps you are taking to find said work. Additionally, after filing for unemployment, you will need to certify your continuing eligibility every two weeks. To remain enrolled in unemployment insurance registration, you must report your gross wages for the weeks covered by your previous certification and answer questions relevant to said unemployment benefits registration, including whether you have been actively looking for work, whether you were available for work during the previous two weeks, whether you have applied for retirement or disability pension and more. For more information about the unemployment application, required documents and certification, download our comprehensive IL unemployment guide today.

Online Unemployment Insurance Application

For those unsure of where to register for unemployment benefits Illinois provides multiple options. For instance, applying for unemployment online is a convenient and simple process. The state offers an online unemployment application through the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) official website. You can access the unemployment EDD application through this site, which also conveniently allows you not only to file an unemployment claim, but to learn how to search for work by registering with the Illinois Employment Service (IES) and to enroll to receive your unemployment benefit payments through direct deposit if you do not wish to receive your insurance benefits on a debit card. After you file for unemployment, the IDES website will allow you to complete the bi-weekly eligibility certification required if you wish to continue receiving benefits for the maximum possible time period.

In-Person Unemployment Insurance

In addition to applying for IL unemployment online, you may also apply for benefits in person at any IDES office across the state. Be sure to bring with you all necessary documents, including your W-2 form and pay stubs (for a full list of documents, refer to the guide). Applying for unemployment benefits in person will provide the added benefit of being able to ask any questions you may have about the application. However, if you are not able to apply in person and would like to receive help on your online application, simply call IDES Claimant Services. Those unsure about where to apply for unemployment in Illinois should be aware that the state does not offer the option of applying for unemployment coverage by phone or mail. However, you may certify for benefits by phone through IDES’s Tele-serve service, available at certain times during the day. Finally, after filing for unemployment benefits, you may be required to complete a telephone or, in rare cases, in-person interview. If you are unable to interview on the scheduled date, call IDES Claimant Services as soon as you can to reschedule, or you may risk losing benefits and have to learn how to file an appeal. At the unemployment insurance application interview, you will be asked questions meant to help verify the information you have submitted in your application. Be sure to be as accurate as possible in your application, as any instances of unemployment insurance fraud could result in prosecution, forfeiture of future income tax refunds and even prison time. Be sure you know exactly how to fill out the unemployment application before you begin the process.