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10 Things You Should Know

Read this page for important information to help process your claim without delay, then follow the link below to file a claim.

10 Things to Help You File Your UI Claim

  1. Understand how Unemployment Insurance (UI) works 

    UI benefits are financed by employer payroll contributions and are charged accordingly when claimants are determined eligible to collect benefits. Be sure to accurately report information to ensure you receive the benefits you qualify for. 
  2. Know your responsibilities and ask for help 
    If you are seeking reasonable accommodations, please fill out this form to ensure you receive meaningful access to services. If you have any questions on what this means to you, please reach out to us at 312-793-9290. You may also reach out to Illinois Relay by dialing 711 or our Equal Opportunity Office TTY at 888-340-1007. To quickly find answers to your unemployment insurance questions, visit Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Accurately report the reason you are unemployed 
    Accurately report the reason you lost your job when you initially file your claim for benefits. Not reporting accurately can impact eligibility and/or delay benefits.
  4. Complete your application in one session.

    If you step away from your application before completing it, the session will expire after an hour. Any entered information will be lost, requiring you to restart the process. It is best to start and finish filing your claim in one sitting.
  5. List all your employers from the last 18 months. 
    You must report all employers you worked for in the last 18 months. If an employer name is unfamiliar, please review your check stub or W2 to confirm the employer's name reported on your claim application before reporting you did not work for that employer. If you worked in another state, make sure you tell us what state you worked in.
  6. Be available for work 
    You must be available for work each week or benefits may be denied. Possible conflicts, like attending school during work hours, travel, or limitations with childcare could limit your work availability and be an eligibility issue. Report such issues on your claim forms.  See FAQs to understand what this means to you.
  7. Actively search for work 
    Employment service registration is a legal requirement for individuals who have applied for unemployment insurance benefits. In Illinois, claimants register with the employment service online at During your certification, you will be required to answer questions regarding your work search. See FAQs to understand what this means to you.

  8. As soon as you begin working again, report your return to work. 
    Notify IDES as soon as you begin working to avoid committing fraud; do not wait until you receive your first paycheck. IDES uses state and national resources to track new hires, so it is in your best interest to report your return to work immediately to avoid having to repay benefits.
  9. Do not commit fraud

    Follow the rules to prevent yourself from committing fraud. Report income from part-time or temporary work while looking for a full-time position. You must report your (gross) wages in the week you work and earn them, not in the week you are actually paid. Failure to follow legal requirements has serious consequences.
  10. Do not pay an agent to file your claim 
    You have the right to authorize another person or an organization to represent you in all claims matters. The person or organization you select must show evidence that you authorized them. Once verified, IDES will give your representative information about your claim. The use of paid third-parties to file your claim and/or communicate with IDES is risky and discouraged. Do not share your personal information with anyone.

Note: Any information submitted by you to IDES may be verified through computer matching programs in order to determine your eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits.​

Payment Methods

Unemployment insurance benefits are paid either via paper check or direct deposit. IDES recommends claimants use direct deposit as the fastest and most convenient method. View the payment methods page for more information.

File A Claim

By clicking the File an Unemployment Insurance Claim button below, you will be taken to the Illinois Benefits Information System (IBIS) system, where you can set up an account to apply for and manage your claim.