Spurred by our posts about a legislative push to secure more
unemployment benefits for the state's workforce, a robust conversation
developed in our comments section among readers trying to maneuver
their way through Illinois' unemployment insurance bureaucracy. Many
Spurred by our posts about a legislative push to secure more unemployment benefits for the state's workforce, a robust conversation developed in our comments section among readers trying to maneuver their way through Illinois' unemployment insurance bureaucracy. Many folks have asked questions, dispensed advice, and shared anecdotes about their experience, and so we thought we'd keep the conversation going. Below is a piece of literature from the Illinois Department of Employment Security that provides basic information about eligibility and filing. If you're just getting acquainted with how the process works, it's worth paging through (click the button in the upper right-hand corner to expand):
As you may remember from our previous coverage, those recently laid off and looking for new work are eligible to receive 26 weeks of state-backed insurance. Once that is exhausted, an Illinois worker can access 53 weeks of federally-funded support, 33 from the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program and 20 additional weeks courtesy of the newly-approved Total Unemployment Rate (TUR) program (an element of President Obama's stimulus package). The former are secured by simply certifying your latest employment status on a biweekly basis via a Tele-Serve phone line. A little more work is needed to access the later, as IDES spokesperson Greg Rivera told us in April:
Those claimants who exhaust their EUC benefits and want to access the additional EB benefits face stricter requirements, however. Specifically, they must submit paperwork -- by mail, fax, or in person -- demonstrating they are undergoing a "sustained and systemic" job search. This includes personally contacting at least five employers and filing at least three resumes each week. If they don't submit these files, Rivara says, claimants will seriously jeopardize their benefits.
At the moment, there are no further benefits available to those who've exhausted their TUR weeks. But a bill (H.R. 3403) introduced in Congress three weeks ago could provide an additional 13 weeks of coverage in states -- like Illinois -- that are experiencing unemployment rates of 9 percent or higher. We'll keep you posted on that legislation's progress. In the meantime, IDES is instructing EB participants with further questions to call 1-800-244-5631. And please continue to share your experiences with the system in the comments section below.