IDES Processed More Than One Million
Unemployment Claims Since Beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic
Initial Claims Continuing to Slow as
Department Prepares for PUA to Go Live
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[August 03, 2020]
The Illinois Department of Employment Security
(IDES) today released new statewide data showing the department
processed 74,476 new initial unemployment claims for the week ending
May 2, and with upward revisions from weeks past, has now processed
1,006,925 initial unemployment claims from March 1 through May 2.
This nearly 12 times the number of claims the
department processed over the same period last year, when IDES
processed just 78,100 initial unemployment claims.
Statewide unemployment claims data, which reflects activity for the
week prior, will be available on the IDES website every Thursday
afternoon. Previous initial claims data has undergone an upward
revision to properly account for a number of successfully processed
claims. While the number of initial claims has slightly declined
over the last two weeks, IDES may experience an increase when the
federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program becomes
available on Monday, May 11, 2020.
Workers who believe they may be eligible for new federal benefits
under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, must first
apply for regular unemployment insurance before applying for
benefits under PUA when a new application portal opens on Monday via
the IDES website.
Claimants who receive an eligibility determination of $0 can then
appeal that decision by providing verification of wages earned or
they can submit a claim for PUA benefits. Claimants who have already
applied for and been denied regular unemployment benefits can submit
a claim through the new PUA portal when it opens. Receiving a denial
for regular unemployment benefits is a mandatory first step in
determining eligibility for PUA.
PUA provides 100% federally-funded unemployment benefits for
individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related
reasons and are not eligible for the state’s regular unemployment
insurance program, the extended benefit (EB) program under Illinois
law, or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC),
including independent contractors and sole-proprietors.
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Up to 39 weeks’ worth of benefits are potentially
available under the program for COVID-19-related unemployment
IDES is contracting with Deloitte to implement and
maintain the web-based PUA program. While a program of this
magnitude would normally take up to a year to design and implement,
the department worked swiftly to get the program up and running
within 4 weeks.
PUA claims will be backdated to the individuals’ first week of
unemployment, but no earlier than February 2, 2020, and will
continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed as a
result of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending December 26,
2020. The program is similar to the federal Disaster Unemployment
Assistance program which provides unemployment benefits in response
to local disasters.
Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment
benefits at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.
[Illinois Office of Communication and