IDES - Frequently Asked Questions by Individuals

Frequently Asked Questions by Individuals

Frequently Asked Questions by Individuals

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by Individuals

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) provided below highlight topics and questions that are often asked of IDES.

  • Who is eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

    Generally, to be eligible for UI benefits you must:

    • have lost your job through no fault of your own;
    • have earned wages in insured employment
    • be available for new work;
    • be actively seeking new work

    For more information, see the "What Every Worker Should Know about Unemployment Insurance"​ pamphlet.​ (Spanish Version)

  • What are the system requirements for using online UI services?

    ​For both Windows and Mac users, here are supported browsers:

    • Internet Explorer versions 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, with cookies enabled.
    • Chrome version 13.0x
    • Safari


    A recent version of Adobe Reader, version 8.0 or higher. Download Adobe Reader for no charge.​

  • What is my weekly benefit amount (WBA)?

    ​It varies. The minimum amount of benefits for an individual is $51 a week, and the maximum is $426 per week. Claimants with non-working spouses can receive up to $507 per week, and up to $580 a week with dependent children. However, your benefits depend on your unique circumstances.

    Roughly 7-10 days after filing, claimants receive a "UI Finding Letter"​ in the mail. It contains important information about the claim including the weekly benefit amount and certification day. This document is very important; please keep it in a safe place.

    Note: Before any benefits can be paid on a new claim, you must serve a non-paid "waiting week". Electronic payments made to eligible individuals are generally available within 2-3 business days of certification.​

  • What is the ID number that IDES has given me?
    The ID number is unique, and similar to a social security number, used by IDES to identify each individual person. Please keep the information in a safe and secure place.

  • How many weeks of benefits are left on my claim?
    There are two ways to obtain your benefit payment history: 
    1. Get an online list of payments made to you, and quickly view specific payment details, including deductions, state and federal tax withholding, and more. Username and password required. 
    2. Call Tele-Serve. The "status" of your claim can be quickly and safely determined by using the department's voice-response system.

  • How do I certify for UI benefits online?

    ​Shortly after filing your claim, you will receive a "finding" letter from IDES in the mail.  This letter that will inform you when you should first certify for benefits. On the assigned date, go to the IDES website and click the link for "File Certification" in the top-right corner for the online UI services. 

    Select the option "File My Certification" near the bottom of the page.  You will be prompted to login, which requires your online username and password.  If you don't have this information, there is a short registration process to obtain it. After login select the option, "Claim Certification" and proceed through the questions.

  • What questions will I be asked when certifying for benefits?

    ​Below is a list of questions that will be asked during the certification process. You should review and prepare the answers before you certify to ensure quick, accurate certification. Your answers to the questions will determine your eligibility for benefits.

    Also, depending on the program (regular, extended, etc.) from which you are receiving benefits, you may be asked additional questions.

    • Have you received or will you receive holiday pay during the period of Sunday (week 1 beginning date) through Saturday (week 2 ending date)? Tip: Make sure you have your holiday pay amount available.
    • If yes, enter the gross amount of your holiday pay (before deductions) for each week.
    • Did you work during the period of Sunday (week 1 beginning date) through Saturday (week 2 ending date)? Tip: Have your gross earnings before taxes and other deductions available.
    • If yes, enter the total amount of earnings (before deductions) for each week.
    • Has your dependency status changed during this certification period?
    • Were you able and available to work each day during your normal work week?
    • If no, enter the number of days you were unavailable for work in each of the weeks.
    • Did you actively look for work for the week of Sunday (week 1 beginning date) through Saturday (week 2 ending date)?
    • Are you receiving or have you applied for primary Social Security benefits?
    • Other than Social Security, are you receiving or have you applied for a retirement or disability pension?
    • If yes, has the amount changed?
    • Did you attend school or receive training?
    • If yes, did you attend all scheduled training courses?
    • If no, enter the number of days that you did not attend class.
    • Do you have a current workers' compensation claim or do you expect to receive workers' compensation for a temporary disability?
    • Has your phone number changed?
    • If yes, enter your new ten-digit telephone number.
    • Has your mailing address changed?

    Source:  I Filed My Claim - What Happens Now?​  (Spanish)

  • What if I miss my call date (to certify)?
    If you miss your regular call day (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday), you may still certify on Thursday or Friday of that same week, either online or by calling (Tele-Serve). You may also certify on your regular call day in the following week (or Thursday or Friday of that week). Payment of benefits will be based on certifying for benefits in a timely manner and meeting the eligibility requirements of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.

  • How do I get my detailed benefit payment history?
    Statements are available online. Go to the View My Detailed Benefits Payment History​ service in order to login. Username and password are required. For those not yet registered, instructions are available to establish a secure account.

  • What if I go back to work (return to work)?

    ​If you find a job (including temporary, seasonal employment), you should still certify by logging in online or calling Tele-Serve, as you normally would on your designated day. Pay close attention to the question that asks, "DID YOU WORK DURING THE PERIOD OF SUNDAY [week 1 beginning date] THROUGH SATURDAY [week 2 ending date]?"

    When you answer "YES" to this question and respond with the dollar amounts you earned for the period, IDES will properly suspend your claim in the system. You will receive a notice in the mail confirming your response of having returned to work. There will be no further action required from you unless and until you need our services again.​

  • Why should I use direct deposit for UI benefits?

    Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits can be paid automatically through direct deposit to a checking or savings account.  Direct deposit is a simple, smart, secure choice for receiving benefits. You won’t need a debit card or have to establish a PIN to access funds. Thus, there is no chance of a lost or stolen debit card. There are no additional banking fees associated with direct deposit. Direct deposits can be established online.​ Use the following link to apply: Enroll in Direct Deposit​ (login required). ​​

  • I forgot my username and/or password for the unemployment insurance (UI) system, what should I do?
    Go to the login page, and select the option "Forgot my username and/or password." If you have tried to do this and were unsuccessful, select the "register" option (even though you have already registered). After entering your SSN and your shared secrets, the system will display your username and allow you to set a new password. You will be directed back to the Login where you can enter your Username and new password.

    Link to login page

  • How can I get a copy of my 1099-G tax form?
    The Department issues tax form 1099 by the end of January to those individuals who received benefits in the previous calendar year. Reprints can be requested after the first week of February by calling Tele-Serve and selecting option 3 (checking on the "status of your claim").
    You may also: 

  • How do I know what I have spent, or have available on my UI benefits debit card?
    Make sure that you record your benefit payment and deduct each purchase and cash withdrawal in your Personal Register. You can also access your balance and transaction history anytime by:
    (both are on the back of your debit card).

    Note: It is very important for you to review the Fee Schedule (Spanish) included with the card and keep it for future reference.