A Worker's Guide to Unemployment Insurance in Illinois

Layoff Notice
This is a comprehensive guide for anyone who is applying for, receives, or has been denied unemployment insurance in Illinois. It explains how the system works and what workers should expect. Topics include:


  • What are the eligibility requirements?
  • What does “insured work” mean?
  • How do I know if I am “available for work”?
  • If I quit my job, can I still get unemployment insurance?
  • What happens if I have been disqualified?

The Claims Process

  • When should I apply for benefits?
  • What information do I need to apply for benefits?
  • What happens after I file my claim?

Receiving Benefits

  • What if I didn’t make enough during my base period to be eligible for benefits?
  • Are my benefits taxable?
  • When and how will I get paid my benefits?
  • Can I claim my spouse as a dependent?
  • What if I have a dependent child?

Working or Going to School While Receiving Benefits

  • Am I eligible for benefits if I am involuntarily working part-time?
  • What kinds of training are approved by the Illinois Department of Employment Security?
  • What if I receive Social Security or pension payments?
  • Can I get help finding a job?
  • What should I do when I return to work?

Challenged or Denied Claims and Appeals

  • What are my rights if my claim is denied by the claims adjudicator?
  • How do I file an initial appeal?
  • What happens after I’ve appealed to the Board of Review?

Unemployment Insurance Benefits After 25 Weeks

  • How many weeks of unemployment benefits can I receive?
  • What if I’ve exhausted my unemployment insurance and need more help?
    [Note: Recent federal legislation extended federally funded unemployment. Read more.

The guide includes many useful appendixes with further information and links to
helpful resources. Download a copy of the guide.