Apply and Receive Illinois Unemployment

File a Claim
In order to apply for Unemployment Compensation in Illinois, you must first file a claim.The claim form that you must file can be completed online, on the Illinois Department of Employment Security website, ( Here is the information you’ll need to file your unemployment application online:

  • The Social Security number of any dependents you will be claiming (your spouse, children, etc.)
  • Alien Registration Information, if you are not a U.S. citizen.
  • If you have worked during the week when you will be filing, you must also provide the amount of gross wages you have earned during the week.

File Your Certification for Benefits Every Two Weeks
After you have filed your initial claim, you must file a certification for benefits. The certification for benefits must be completed every two weeks that you meet the eligibility requirements to receive unemployment. This form can be completed online (on the IDES website) or it can be called in by telephone.
*During the first week after you have filed your initial claim, you must file a certification for benefits, but you will not be paid for this first week because it is considered a “waiting week.”

Choose Your Preferred Form of Payment
 Illinois Unemployment Insurance benefits can be paid out either to a debit card or as direct deposit to a checking or savings account. After you have completed your “waiting week,” and have certified for benefits following your initial application for unemployment, you will automatically receive a debit card in the mail. This debit card must first be activated before it can be used. If you would prefer to set up direct deposit for your unemployment insurance benefits, you must fill out the online form (on the IDES website). If you have applied for direct deposit, your UI benefits will be deposited to your debit card until your direct deposit account has been successfully established.

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