If you've lost your job through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits. If you live in one state but work in another, you should file for benefits with the state in which you worked. For example, if you live in Wisconsin but worked in Illinois, you should file for unemployment benefits with Illinois.
Illinois requires you to have earned at least $1,600 during a one-year base period. Your base period is the first four of the five most recently completed calendar quarters. For example, if you're filing for claims on April 15, your base period is Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of the previous year. You also must have earned $440 during a quarter other than your highest earning quarter during your base period. If your highest earning quarter was January 1 through March 31, for example, you must have earned at least $440 during one of the other three quarters of your base period.
Other Eligibility Requirements
In addition to meeting the wage requirements, you also must have worked for an Illinois employer that paid unemployment taxes. Your unemployment must be due to no fault of your own. If you were fired for theft, for example, you will not be eligible for benefits. You also must be actively seeking work and willing to work. If you don't accept reasonable job offers, you will no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Applying for Benefits
You can apply for Illinois benefits online or with a local unemployment benefits office. You'll need to bring proof of your Social Security number, the contact information of your most recent employers, pay stubs or other proof of your wages, information on any benefits you're receiving from Social Security or other pension plans and the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for any children or stepchildren. Once you apply, you can find out the status of your claim online or by calling 1-888-337-7234. You may need to complete an additional interview if the unemployment department needs more information.
After you apply for benefits, you will receive a notice in about seven to 10 days letting you know the status of your claim and the amount of your weekly benefit. There is a one-week waiting period before you begin receiving benefits. Illinois also requires you to keep a log of your job search and keep the log for 53 weeks after your benefits have started. You have to file for benefits every two weeks; you can file online or by phone and report any income you've earned.