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I Filed My Claim - What Happens Now?

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Last Revised: 5/28/2013

Information about what happens to your unemployment claim during the next three weeks following the filing of the claim.

UI Claim Wage Information Sheet

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  • In the next 7-10 days, you will receive a UI Claimant Wage Information Sheet in the mail (see above). It contains information including your weekly benefit amount and certification day.  See also: Table of Weekly Benefit Amount.
  • Your Bi-Weekly Certification Day is the day on which you claim weeks of unemployment benefits (certify). You must certify on the day indicated regardless of a pending adjudication interview. If you miss your regular certification day, you can still certify on Thursday or Friday of that week.
  • An adjudication interview may be required to determine your eligibility. You will receive a letter with the date and time of a phone interview, if needed. If you cannot be available at the date and time of your scheduled interview, it is your responsibility to contact your local office.
  • The first week of benefits following an initial claim is referred to as a waiting week. Although you must certify and be eligible for this week, you will not be paid for it.
  • You should receive the benefit payment by direct deposit or debit card three days after you certify.
  • You must retain a copy of your work search efforts for 53 weeks after requesting / receiving benefit credit. You may obtain a Work Search Record form on the IDES website, or document your efforts on a sheet of paper in the following format:

I Filed My Claim Documentation Fields

  • Address and Name Changes:
    • The Postal Service will not forward IDES mail.
    • Tele-Serve will inform you of the telephone number to make changes.

You have filed your claim and received the UI Claimant Wage Information Sheet with your day to certify. Now you must certify (request benefit payment) every two weeks. There are two ways to claim your weeks of unemployment insurance benefits: certify online via the website or by phone using the Tele-Serve system. Both methods are safe and convenient. If you do not certify, you will not receive your unemployment benefits.

Monday through Friday

The best way to certify for benefits is the internet. You can certify for benefits online by going here. These services are available Monday - Friday from 05:00AM to 07:30PM.


(312) 338-4337 on your scheduled day Monday through Friday

TDD/TTY 1-800-662-3943 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The first time you call, you will create a personal identification number (PIN). Write it down and keep it in a safe and secure place. Do not share your PIN with anyone else. You'll need it every time you call.

When you call, have the following information available:

  • your social security number and your PIN
  • any gross wages you earned (before taxes and other deductions) during the certification period
  • paper and pencil to record any information given to you during your call.

After dialing Tele-Serve, enter your PIN and answer the automated questions using a touch-tone phone. Do not hang up until Tele-Serve tells you your claim has been accepted.

Tele-Serve menu options

Press 1: To claim weeks of unemployment

Press 2: To file an additional claim or to reopen a claim for unemployment insurance

Press 3: To check the status of your claim (also to request Federal Income Tax form 1099G)

Press 4: Establish or change your PIN

Press 5: Obtain general information

Direct Deposit and Debit Cards:

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.

Certification Questions

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 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?

Why apply for unemployment insurance (UI) online?

Using the Internet you can file your claim at the time and place most convenient for you, without having to wait in line.

How long should it take me to complete the claim?

About 30 minutes.

How easy is the Internet system to use?

The Internet UI Claims process is quite straight forward. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be prepared to complete the entire application at one time. If you exit before submitting the application, you will lose any information that you have entered. When done, be sure to click the FILE MY CLAIM button to transmit the application to IDES for further processing.
  • Do not use the Back button on your browser to return to a previous page or your information will be lost. Instead, use the tabs found on the left side of the screen.
  • System requirements to access the online application are posted on the UI Application log-in page.

How do I certify for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits online?

Using the Internet provides another option to certify for benefits. To certify, just go to

The IDES Web site also provides information to assist you with job searches, training, employment opportunities, and other resource needs. Visit to find out more.

Once you've filed, remember:

  • You will receive a UI Claimant Wage Information Sheet with your day to certify online or via Tele-Serve. Be sure to certify on the day specified, regardless of a pending adjudication interview.
  • You must certify for your eligibility for benefits every two weeks.
  • If an adjudication interview is required, you will receive an interview notice in the mail. Be sure to be at your telephone number of record for the interview.
  • You must serve a waiting week on each benefit year. No benefits are paid for the waiting week.
  • Retain a copy of your work search efforts.
  • Unemployment Insurance is subject to State and Federal income taxes.
  • If you were last employed by a temporary help firm, failure to contact that firm each week may affect your eligibility for benefits.
  • You must report wages in the week earned, not received.

Benefit Rights Information

A Few Simple Guidelines to Avoid Claim Processing Delays

  • Your claim information is confidential under the law. We cannot give claim information to your spouse or other family members. However, pursuant to Section 1900 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, any information that you provide to the Department of Employment Security in connection with your claim may be shared with your former employers or their representatives.
  • If notified to report to the office, you should bring documents establishing your identity. We will provide information on your claim only if you can sufficiently identify yourself. Also, bring the most recent notification received from IDES, as well as your current work-search list, in case there are questions regarding your compliance with work-search requirements.
  • You must serve a waiting week on each benefit year. This is the first eligible week of your claim. No benefits are paid for the waiting week. To receive waiting week credit, you must file a claim for the week and be otherwise eligible for benefits for the week.
  • Unemployment Insurance is subject to State and Federal income taxes (except the first $2400 for 2009 only). You may voluntarily elect to have either or both State and Federal income taxes deducted and withheld from your benefit payments. Withholding is at pre-set levels only: 10% for Federal and 5% for State of Illinois.
  • If you were last employed by a temporary help firm, failure to contact that firm each week may affect your eligibility for benefits.
  • Under Federal guidelines, you may be identified as eligible for reemployment services offered by various state and local organizations. If you are referred by IDES to any of these reemployment services, you are required to participate in those services, or your benefits may be suspended.

Interview Process:

  • It may be necessary for you to be interviewed regarding your eligibility for benefits. In these cases, you will be informed on the day you file your claim of the date and time of the interview, or you will receive a notice by mail providing you with this information. Most interviews will be conducted by telephone. Failure to be available for the interview may affect your eligibility for benefits. If you cannot be available at the date and time of the scheduled interview, it is your responsibility to contact your local office.

Certification Process:

  • Internet and Tele-Serve filers should file on their assigned day or on open days. There are two ways you can certify: over the telephone and on the IDES Web site at Late certifications will not be accepted. Failure to certify on your assigned day could cause denial of benefits or a delay in processing your benefits.

Unless you have been otherwise instructed by IDES, you must be actively looking for work while receiving benefits. You must maintain a record of your work search efforts on a weekly basis on the form provided by IDES. The days that you look for work must occur during each of the weeks for which you claimed benefits. It is your responsibility to provide your work search records upon request. Failure to do so may result in a denial of benefits. If you are called to report to the IDES office, you will need this list. The law provides penalties for giving false answers to obtain benefits.

Important Notice: Keep Your Work Search Records

  • An initial determination that you were actively seeking work during a week for which you claimed benefits is subject to later reconsideration. (The determination may be reconsidered even though you have been paid benefits or have since returned to work.) To preserve evidence that you were actively seeking work, do not discard your written work search record for any week being claimed until one year has passed from the end of that week. Further, if there is an appeal pending regarding your active work search for a week, keep your written work search until there has been a final resolution of the matter.
  • Report your return to work to IDES immediately! Employers are required to promptly report all new hires to this agency. These reports are used to identify individuals who are collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits after they have returned to work. Failure to report your return to work or all gross wages earned during weeks covered by your certification will result in an overpayment of benefits and possibly a determination of fraud. If fraud is determined, consequences could include the imposition of penalty weeks, and prosecution for State benefit fraud.
  • You must report all gross wages earned during the weeks covered by the certification. These wages must be reported for the week in which they are earned, not the week in which you receive payment. If your gross wages in any week are less than your weekly benefit amount, you may still be eligible to receive part of your benefit payment.
  • You should receive your payment and/or other response within 10 working days after filing your certification. Tele-Serve allows you to get information about your benefits whether you certify by Internet, mail or by phone. When calling for payment information, telephone filers should allow one business day after filing. You must allow time for processing and delivery. Please call Tele-Serve before you contact your local office about your benefits.
  • You have the right to appeal any decision denying your benefits. If you have any questions about your appeal rights, contact your local IDES office. If you filed an appeal, continue to file your certification for your weeks of unemployment even though you may not receive benefits until the appeal is decided.
  • Keep in touch with the Employment Service. We encourage you to visit your IDES office or use Illinois JobLink, our computerized job search system, to view job listings. On any given day, will contain thousands of jobs in Illinois and around the U.S., together with information on Federal civil service job opportunities.


The Illinois Department of Employment Security collects and uses social security numbers (SSNs) in the administration of the unemployment insurance and employment service programs. State and federal law require the Department to use SSNs for the purpose of verifying the identity of unemployment benefit claimants. SSNs are used in the administration of the employment service program to verify that unemployment benefit claimants have registered for work with the employment service, as required by law. The Department also uses SSNs in the development of aggregate statistics. The aggregate statistics do not identify individuals or disclose any SSNs. The Department complies with the strict requirements set forth in federal and state law for maintaining the confidentiality of SSNs and protecting against their unauthorized disclosure.


Workers who lose their jobs or who experience reduced work hours and wages as a result of increased imports or the shifting of their jobs to other countries may qualify for additional benefits under the federal Trade Act of 1974 and its amendments (Trade Act of 2002 or Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act 2009.) The worker group must be certified as eligible by the United States Department of Labor. The benefits administered by IDES include income support, the Health Coverage Tax Credit and reemployment wage supplement for older workers. Individuals should contact the local IDES office where they filed their unemployment claim.


The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) administers programs authorized under the Wagner-Peyser Act (Employment Service) and Unemployment Insurance programs authorized under Title III of the Social Security Act. It is against the law for the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), a recipient of federal financial assistance, to discriminate on the following bases:

Against any individual in the United States, on the basis of race, age, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, political affiliation or belief; and against any beneficiary of programs financially assisted under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), on the basis of the beneficiary's citizenship/status as a lawfully admitted immigrant authorized to work in the United States, or his or her participation in any WIA Title I-financially assisted program or activity.

IDES Must Not Discriminate in Any of the Following Areas:

Deciding who will be admitted, or have access, to any WIA Title I-financially assisted program or activity; providing opportunities in, or treating any person with regard to, such a program or activity; or making employment decisions in the administration of, or in connection with, such a program or activity.

What To Do If You Believe You Have Experienced Discrimination:

If you think that you have been subjected to discrimination under the "Employment Service" or "Unemployment Insurance" programs or activity, you may file a complaint within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation with either:

The IDES Equal Opportunity Officer, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action, 33 S. State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603-2803 or: The Director of the Civil Rights Center (CRC) U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Room N-4123, Washington, DC 20210

If you file your complaint with IDES, you must either wait until IDES issues a written Notice of Final Action, or until 90 days have passed (whichever is sooner), before filing with the Civil Rights Center (see address above).

If IDES does not give you a written Notice of Final Action within 90 days of the day on which you filed your complaint, you do not have to wait for IDES to issue that Notice before filing a complaint with CRC. However, you must file your CRC complaint within 30 days of the 90-day deadline (in other words, within 120 days after the day on which you filed your complaint with IDES).

If IDES does give you a written Notice of Final Action on your complaint, but you are dissatisfied with the decision or resolution, you may file a complaint with CRC. You must file your CRC complaint within 30 days of the date on which you received the IDES Notice of Final Action.

IDES is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all state and federal nondiscrimination laws in the administration of its programs. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact the Office Manager of the IDES office nearest you or the Equal Opportunity Officer for IDES, at (312) 793-9290 or TDD (888) 340-1007.