The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented levels of unemployment across the United States, with millions of Americans losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet. In response to this crisis, the federal government has expanded unemployment benefits to provide additional financial support to those who have lost their jobs. In Illinois, the state has also implemented its own extended unemployment benefits program to help those who are still struggling to find work. In this article, we will discuss how to apply for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois, the eligibility requirements, and the steps you need to take to receive these benefits.
Understanding Unemployment Benefits in Illinois
Before we dive into the process of applying for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois, it is important to understand the basics of the state’s unemployment benefits program. Unemployment benefits are temporary financial assistance provided to individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. These benefits are meant to help individuals cover their basic expenses while they search for new employment opportunities.
In Illinois, the state’s unemployment benefits program is administered by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The program is funded through taxes paid by employers, and the benefits are paid out of the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. The amount of benefits an individual can receive is based on their previous earnings and is subject to a maximum weekly benefit amount set by the state.Read:What Is Fulbright Scholarship? All You Need To Know
Typically, unemployment benefits in Illinois last for 26 weeks. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the federal government has extended these benefits for an additional 13 weeks through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. This means that individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits can now receive an additional 13 weeks of benefits through the PEUC program.
Eligibility for Extended Unemployment Benefits in Illinois
To be eligible for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois, you must first meet the eligibility requirements for regular unemployment benefits. These requirements include:
- Being unemployed through no fault of your own
- Having earned enough wages during your base period (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you filed your claim)
- Being able and available to work
- Actively seeking new employment opportunities
- Being physically able to work
- Being legally authorized to work in the United States
If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois. However, there are additional criteria that you must meet to qualify for the PEUC program. These include:
- Having exhausted your regular unemployment benefits
- Having a benefit year that ended on or after July 1, 2019
- Not being eligible for any other unemployment benefits, such as state or federal extended benefits
If you meet all of these requirements, you can apply for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois through the IDES website or by calling their toll-free number.Read:Can the mckay scholarship be used for homeschooling?
Applying for Extended Unemployment Benefits in Illinois
The process of applying for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois is similar to applying for regular unemployment benefits. You will need to provide personal information, such as your Social Security number, contact information, and employment history. You will also need to provide information about your previous employer, including their name, address, and contact information.
If you are applying for extended benefits through the IDES website, you will need to create an account and complete the online application. If you are applying by phone, you will need to call the IDES toll-free number and speak to a representative who will guide you through the application process.
Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the IDES to determine your eligibility for extended benefits. If you are approved, you will receive a notice in the mail with information about your benefits, including the amount you will receive and the duration of your benefits.
Receiving Extended Unemployment Benefits in Illinois
If you are approved for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois, you will need to continue to meet the eligibility requirements to receive your benefits. This includes actively seeking new employment opportunities and reporting any income you earn while receiving benefits.Read:Can you get a scholarship for lacrosse?
You will also need to certify for benefits every two weeks. This means that you will need to log into your IDES account or call the toll-free number and answer a series of questions to confirm that you are still eligible for benefits. If you fail to certify for benefits, your payments may be delayed or stopped.
It is important to note that extended unemployment benefits in Illinois are subject to federal income tax. You can choose to have taxes withheld from your benefits or pay them when you file your tax return.
Other Resources for Unemployed Individuals in Illinois
In addition to extended unemployment benefits, there are other resources available to help unemployed individuals in Illinois. These include:
- The Illinois JobLink website, which provides job listings and resources for job seekers
- The Illinois Department of Human Services, which offers assistance with food, housing, and healthcare
- The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which provides resources for small businesses and job training programs
It is also important to stay informed about any changes or updates to unemployment benefits in Illinois. The IDES website and social media pages are great resources for the latest information and updates.
The process of applying for extended unemployment benefits in Illinois may seem daunting, but it is important to remember that these benefits are meant to provide temporary financial assistance during a difficult time. By understanding the eligibility requirements and following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully apply for and receive extended unemployment benefits in Illinois. Remember to actively seek new employment opportunities and stay informed about any changes to the program to ensure that you continue to receive the support you need.