Unemployment Update

Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)

To protect employees and the public through social distancing, Illinois Department of Employment Security Offices are closed until further notice. 

To file an Unemployment Insurance claim, go to:

If you have questions about Unemployment Insurance, please call the IDES Customer Service Center at 800-244-5631 or 866-488-4016 TTY.

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributed to COVID-19.  IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. To keep up with any changes or updates please visit:

IDES has answered a number of frequently asked questions on their website including:

What if I’m temporarily laid off because the place where I work is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus?

Answer: An individual temporarily laid off in this case could qualify for benefits as long as they were able and available for and actively seeking work.*

What if I quit my job because I’m generally concerned over the COVID-19 virus?

Answer: A person who leaves work voluntarily without a good reason attributable to the employer is generally disqualified from receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI).

What if I’m confined to my home for any of these reasons?

  • A medical professional has diagnosed me as having COVIID-19
  • I must stay home to care for my spouse, parent or child, whom a medical professional has diagnosed as having COVID-19
  • A government-imposed or government-recommended quarantine

Answer: An individual in any of those situations would be considered to be unemployed through no fault of his or her own.  However, to qualify for UI, he or she would still need to meet all other eligibility requirements, including the requirements that the individual be able and available for work, registered with the state employment service, and actively seeking work from the confines of his or her home. The individual would be considered able and available for work if there was some work that he or she could perform from home (e.g., transcribing, data entry, virtual assistant services), and there is a labor market for that work.

*Please check the IDES website for more FAQ’s and updated information

Federal Guidance for State Unemployment Benefits

Federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work.
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over.
  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.

For the full U.S. Department of Labor Press release, please go to:

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