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Acceptable Reason of Separation: A no-fault circumstance that leads to the termination of employment (e.g. layoff or discharge).

Additional Claim: A claim filed at the beginning of a second or subsequent break in employment within a benefit year. 

Adjudicator: The person authorized to make findings, determinations or recoupment decisions relating to a claimant's eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits.

Appeal: The process of agency or judicial review of a finding, determination, or decision.

Arrest Warrant: An order made on behalf of the state, based on a complaint, and signed by a judge authorizing police to arrest a person thought to have committed a crime. A person arrested on a warrant stays in jail until bail is posted or until released by order of the court.

Average Weekly Benefit Amount: Total benefit payments made during a period divided by weeks compensated.


Bail: Money or property promised or given to the court as security when a defendant is released before and during his or her trial with the agreement that he or she will return to court when ordered to do so. The court sets the bail amount or value depending on several factors, including seriousness of the charges and the likelihood that the defendant will attempt to flee prior to the required court appearances. Bail is forfeited to the court if the defendant fails to return to court.

Benefit Charge (BEN-118 or BEN-118R) Protest: After an unemployment insurance claim is filed, the chargeable employer is mailed a notification identifying the worker, number of weeks benefits were collected, and the total charge amount at the end of each quarter. If the former worker collected benefits, a taxable or reimbursable employer can contest these charges. A taxable employer has forty-five days to file a written protest. A reimbursable employer has twenty days to file a written protest. Note: the reimbursable employer must pay the billed amount regardless of protest status. If the protest is successful, the reimbursable employer will get relief later. If the protest is denied in whole or in part, the employer may request an administrative hearing.

Burden of Proof: Under the Unemployment Insurance Act, the party on whom the Act places the burden of proof must establish its position by a preponderance of the evidence.  


Certification: The process of answering basic questions online or by telephone to communicate a claimant's employment status. Certification establishes a claimant's continued eligibility and is how benefits are paid. 

Complaint: In the context of civil law, a complaint is the document that a party files to initiate a lawsuit against another party. In administrative law, a party seeking to reverse the decision of a governmental agency, its Director, or the Board of Review, files a complaint for judicial review in a circuit court.

Continuance: A delay or postponement of a court hearing or administrative hearing; the case is said to be "continued" when it has been delayed or postponed. A case can be continued for good cause, such as illness, or witness unavailability, or by agreement of the parties.

Conviction: A judgment of the court based either on the decision of a jury or judge that the defendant is guilty of the crime for which he or she was tried.

Crime: A violation of the law.


Defendant: A person who has been formally charged with committing a specific crime, or the party that is being sued in a civil lawsuit.

Deposition: Sworn testimony of a witness taken outside of court in the presence of the attorneys for the parties. A deposition can be used at trial to impeach or discredit a witness's testimony or can be read to a jury if the witness is unavailable.

Dependent Allowance: A benefit added to the weekly benefit amount if a claimant has either (1) a dependent child under the age of eighteen, (2) a non-working spouse who is ineligible for UI benefits of their own or (3) an adult child who is disabled. Claimants can claim a dependent child or spouse, but not both. More than one child will not increase a claimant’s benefits.

Determination and Assessment Protest: The Department will issue automated and manual Determinations and Assessments to make certain that the employer is notified of debt within the four year "Statute of Limitations". The employer has twenty days from the date of mailing to file a timely protest and to contest payment of contributions, penalties and interest for the quarters listed on the document. Often, a timely filed protest to a Determination and Assessment will result in an administrative hearing.

Dismissal: A decision by the judicial officer to end a case for legal or other reasons.

Disposition: The outcome of a lawsuit or a case in which there is a dispute.

Disqualifying Income: The total amount of wages, retirement, vacation, and/or holiday pay which is deducted from the weekly benefit amount.

DVOP: Disabled Veterans Outreach Program


Earned Income: Gross amount of wages reported by a claimant or employer.

Extended Benefits: During periods of high unemployment, Illinois law provides for these additional weeks of benefits once a claimant exhausts the initial 26 weeks of regular benefits (many claimants must also exhaust PEUC benefits, if eligible). 


Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. FPUC provided an additional $300 per week in supplemental benefits to eligible claimants for a limited time period set by federal law.

Felony: A serious crime punishable by more than one year in prison.

Findings: A statement by an Adjudicator of the amount of wages for insured work paid to a claimant during each quarter in the claimant's base period by each employer.

FMLA: Family and Medical Leave Act

Full-time Work: The number of hours a class of workers would customarily work if the employing unit had all of the work it could handle without working overtime. Except where the contrary is provided by a collective bargaining agreement or company policy, full time work is customarily 40 hours per week. For example, 37.5 hours per week is full time work for Illinois State employees because it is so provided by State personnel policy.


Gross Benefits Paid: The total amount of benefit payments made in a period.


Hearing: A legal proceeding in which arguments, witnesses, and/or evidence are heard by a judicial officer or administrative body.

Hearsay: Testimony of an individual that is not from his or her personal knowledge, but from what the witness has heard another person say.


IDES: Illinois Department of Employment Security

Immigrant: A noncitizen who has been accorded by the United States the privilege of entering the country for permanent residence and of becoming a citizen of the United States under the conditions provided in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Infraction: In the context of unemployment insurance matters, a violation of an employing unit's rule or policy.  

Initial Claim: An application for benefits which, meeting all monetary eligibility requirements, commences a claim series.

Initial Claim (statistics): A request for determination of insured status (new claim) or a notice filed when a break in job attachment has occurred, (additional claim). Insured status refers to qualifying base period wages with an insured employer and the determination of the individual's weekly benefit amount.

Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR): The total number of insured unemployed individuals divided by the total number of employed individuals covered by unemployment insurance.

Insured Employment: Services performed in employment for employers and covered by the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act (Act). Some services do not fall within "employment" as defined by the Act; for example services performed by independent contractors provided that certain conditions are met. Additionally, in order to be an "employer" under the Act, that entity has to meet certain requirements.

Interest/Penalty Waiver Protest: The Director and the Director's representative(s) may waive all or part of interest accrued or penalties imposed to an employer's account. If the employer's request for waiver is denied, a Director's Order is issued which provides twenty days from the date of mailing of the Order to appeal the Order and request a hearing.

Interstate Agent Claim: A claim filed in Illinois (agent state) against another state (liable state). 

Interstate Claimant: An individual claiming benefits under the unemployment insurance law of one or more liable states through the facilities of an agent state. An interstate claimant does not include any individual who customarily commutes from a residence in an agent state to work in a liable state. However, if such an individual requests to be considered an interstate claimant, this request shall be granted by Illinois as a liable state.

Interstate Liable Claim: A claim filed in another state (agent state) against Illinois (liable state).


Jail: Local facility where persons in a lawful custody are held; defendants awaiting trial and defendants convicted of minor crimes usually are held in jail, as opposed to prison.

Judicial Officer or Judge: An officer of the court who determines causes between parties or renders decisions in a judicial capacity. The judge generally decides questions of law, except in the case where a jury-trial is waived, the court also then functions as a fact-finder.


Layoff: Occurs when work is no longer available for the individual for a definite or indefinite period of time, but there is no intention to permanently sever the employer-employee relationship.

Liable State: Any state against which an individual files, through another state, a claim for benefits.

Local Office: Any physical IDES office located across the state.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided an additional $300 per week for eligible individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits, PUA, PEUC, or extended benefits, beginning July 26, 2020 and concluding the week ending September 5, 2020.

LVER: Local Veterans Employment Representatives


Mail Filer: A claimant who, although they may use the Tele-Serve system, is permitted to certify by mail.

Maximum Benefit Amount: The maximum amount of benefits payable on a claim, excluding the dependent allowance.

Maximum Benefit Amount Balance: The remainder of the maximum benefit amount that has yet to be paid.

Misdemeanor: A crime that is less serious than a felony and for which the punishment is usually imprisonment for one year or less, usually in a jail or other local facility, and/or a fine.

Mixed Earner: A worker who earns money both through self-employment income and also through traditional W2 employment. For example, a songwriter who also earns money as an administrative assistant is a mixed earner.

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided additional benefits to gig workers, freelancers, and other self-employed workers. Those eligible received an added $100 per week, in addition to the automatic $300 FPUC payment.

Monetary Eligibility: A claimant's eligibility for unemployment insurance and the amount of dependency allowance, if any, based on the amount of qualifying wages that had been paid to the claimant.


Net Benefit: The amount for a claimed week after any appropriate deductions.

New Claim: The first claim in an individual's benefit year, which serves as a request for determination of insured status.

Non-monetary Determination: A determination as to whether an individual is disqualified from receiving benefits and waiting period credits, or is ineligible to receive benefits and waiting period credits for a given period, for reasons other than those affecting insured status, such as being not able or available for work, voluntary leaving of a job, discharge for misconduct, refusal to work, etc.

Non-monetary Eligibility: The claimant has established monetary eligibility and has not been found ineligible or subject to disqualification under the Act from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.


Overpayment: Benefits received for which an individual is found to have been ineligible.

Overpayment Amount: The sum of the overpayment.

Overpayment Balance: Balance of an overpayment remaining to be repaid or recouped.



Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits for individuals who exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals not typically eligible for unemployment benefits, including independent contractors and the self-employed, but who became unemployed as a direct result of specific reasons related to COVID-19.

Part-time Work: Services not normally required for the customary schedule of full-time hours or days prevailing in the establishment in which such services are performed, or services performed by a person who, owing to his personal circumstances or the nature of the work he or she is qualified to perform, does not customarily work the schedule of full-time hours or days prevailing in the establishment in which he or she is employed [820 ILCS 404/407]. Generally, part-time work will be less than 40 hours per week except when company policy or a collective bargaining agreement provides for a lesser number of hours per week as full-time work. In these cases, part-time work shall be work less than the number of full-time hours set by the collective bargaining agreement or company policy.

Party: With respect to issues of non-monetary eligibility, the claimant and any employing unit which files a timely and sufficient protest pursuant to Section 2720.130 of the Part. Only a party under Section 702 of the Act may appeal a non-monetary determination or decision of the Agency regarding eligibility for benefits. With respect to findings under Section 701 of the Act, "Party" means the claimant and any employer whose base period wages are in question. With respect to the issues of sufficiency and timeliness of a protest pursuant to Section 2720.l30 of this Part, "Party" means only the employing unit which files the protest.

Penalty Weeks: Number of payable weeks which a claimant may have to serve (without payment) if they are deemed to have received benefits fraudulently. Claimant must certify for these weeks and otherwise be eligible under the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.

Personal Identification Number or PIN: A number that enables the claimant to access the Tele-Serve system. Valid use of a PIN serves as the claimant's signature.

Protest: The Agency form, "Employer Notice of Possible Ineligibility", or a letter in lieu thereof, which alleges that the claimant is not entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.



Quarters: The four calendar year quarters: First - January 1 through March 31, Second - April 1 through June 30, Third - July 1 through September 30, and Fourth - October 1 through December 31.


Rate Protest: Each employer who contributes to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund by way of contributions is mailed a notice of their annual rate. The notice is usually mailed in the November of the year prior to the new rate going into effect. Employers have 15 days from the date of mailing of the notice to file a rate protest with the regional revenue office that maintains their account data and which was identified on the rate notice. Protests typically would involve: 1. A classification or NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) Code for non-experience rated employers (for example, the employer alleges that the employer's classification should be different) 2. Taxable wage or Benefit Charge Protest for "experience rated" employers. If the employer's timely protest to the rate notice is denied, the employer can file a protest and petition for an administrative hearing.

Recoupment: A method by which the Director of Employment Security deducts from any benefits payable to a claimant the amounts of benefits the claimant was found not entitled to receive under the law.

Referee: The hearing officer authorized to conduct hearings on appealed Adjudicator findings, determinations, or recoupment decisions and to make decisions on the matters appealed.

Refund Denial Protest: An employer whose request for refund of contributions or reimbursable payments is denied in whole or in part may file a protest within twenty days of the date of mailing of the denial, in whole or in part, of the claim for refund. If the employer files a timely protest to the denial, a case file is prepared and forwarded to the Administrative Hearings Unit.

Regular Employing Unit: Either the employing unit for which an individual expects to continue working and to work full time if business warrants it, or any employing unit for which the individual worked full-time for 9 consecutive weeks during the preceding 52 weeks.

Reporting Office: The three-digit number which designates the IDES local office in which the individual is currently filing his/her claim.

Representative: An agency staff person who performs actions related to provisions of services to agency clients.

RESP: Re-entry Employment Service Program


Separation: The situation that exists when an employee has either voluntarily terminated employment, been permanently discharged from employment by the employer, been indefinitely suspended from employment by the employer on grounds other than lack of work at the place of employment, or been laid off from employment on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Service Area: A geographical area served by a local office.

Services: Not only work actually performed, but the entire employer-employee relationship. Any attachment to an employing unit for which wages are payable constitutes a service for that employing unit.

Small Employer: An employer that has reported wages to fewer than 20 employees, either full-time or part-time, during each of any two of the four calendar quarters preceding the quarter in which the employer is requesting legal assistance by participating in the Legal Services Program (LSP) made available under the law.

Subpoena: An order to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses, and the production of papers, books, accounts and documents. Under the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, the Director, claims adjudicators, other representatives of the Director, and any Referee and the Board of Review have the power to issue subpoenas.

Supplements: Additional benefits paid for a previously paid week-ending date.


Tax Form 1099-G: A form that reflects the unemployment compensation received in a tax year. All individuals who receive unemployment insurance benefits will require the 1099-G tax form to complete their federal and state tax returns.

Tele-Serve/Telephone Certification System (TSC): A system implemented by the Agency that enables a claimant to certify for benefits or obtain information by touch-tone telephone.

Telephone Filer: A claimant who has established a PIN and uses the Tele-Serve system to certify.


Unemployment Insurance (UI): A state operated insurance program designed to partially replace lost wages when someone has been laid off through no fault of their own. 


Veterans: People who served at least one day in the active military, naval, or air service, and who were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.


Wages For Less Than Full-Time Work: Every form of remuneration for personal services, including salaries, commissions, bonuses, gratuities received from third parties which are reported as wages, and the reasonable money value of all remuneration in any medium other than cash received by an individual for less than full-time work.

Waiting Week: Before collection of the regular 26 weeks of unemployment benefits begins, claimants typically experience a waiting week during which they do not receive benefits. On June 5, 2020, the waiting week was waived during the COVID-19 pandemic. This change allows a claimant to receive two weeks of benefits, rather than the usual one week of benefits, as their first payment.

Week Claimed (Continued Claim): A request for benefit payment or to obtain credit for a waiting week period week, done by the completion and submission of a certification by the individual that they were unemployed, actively seeking work and were requesting benefit payment or waiting week credit for a week of unemployment.

Week Compensated: A week in which an individual was found eligible and receives some benefit credit.

Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA): The maximum amount of unemployment insurance benefits that a claimant is entitled to receive per week. Also, some claimants may be eligible to receive, in addition to their weekly benefit amount, an amount for dependent or spousal allowance.