Governor Pritzker has expanded the availability of unemployment benefits. Click here to read an article that explains the changes. Keep reading to download fact sheets created by our partners at Legal Aid Chicago on state and federal changes to unemployment benefits.
State and federal changes to unemployment benefits (English, Spanish)
Illinois changes to unemployment benefits (English)
Unemployment benefits eligibility in Illinois for non-citizens (English, Spanish)
What if I’m temporarily laid off because the place where I work is temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 virus?
An individual temporarily laid off in this situation could qualify for benefits as long as he or she was able and available for and actively seeking work. Under emergency rules IDES recently adopted, the individual would not have to register with the employment service. He or she would be considered to be actively seeking work as long as the individual was prepared to return to his or her job as soon the employer reopened.
What determines if I’m actively seeking work?
An individual is considered to be actively seeking work if he or she is making an effort that is reasonably calculated to return the individual to work.
What if I’m confined to my home 1.) because a medical professional has diagnosed me as having COVID-19 or 2.) because I must stay home to care for my spouse, parent or child, whom a medical professional has diagnosed as having COVID-19 or 3.) because of a government-imposed or government-recommended quarantine?
An individual in any of those situations would be considered to be unemployed through no fault of his or her own. However, to qualify for unemployment insurance, he or she would still need to meet all other eligibility requirements, including the requirements that the individual be able and available for work, registered with the state employment service and actively seeking work from the confines of his or her home. The individual would be considered able and available for work if there was some work that he or she could perform from home (e.g., transcribing, data entry, virtual assistant services) and there is a labor market for that work.
What if I quit my job because I am generally concerned over the COVID-19 virus?
An individual who leaves work voluntarily without a good reason attributable to the employer is generally disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance. The eligibility of an individual in this situation will depend on whether the facts of his or her case demonstrate the individual had a good reason for quitting and that the reason was attributable to the employer. An individual generally has a duty to make a reasonable effort to work with his or her employer to resolve whatever issues have caused the individual to consider quitting.
What if I leave work because my child’s school has temporarily closed, and I feel I have to stay home with the child?
An individual who leaves work voluntarily without a good reason attributable to the employer is generally disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance. The reason the individual in this situation left work would not be considered attributable to the employer. Consequently, the individual would likely not qualify for UI.
Other help during the coronavirus shutdown:
If you are a bartender, cocktail server or bar back who is temporarily out of work, you can apply for the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) National Charitable Foundation’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. Bartenders’ guild membership is not required to apply.
Even though schools are closed through March 30, most are offering free meals to students during the shutdown—since many students depend on free or reduced-price lunches during the week
Several companies—AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon—have agreed to halt internet service and phone disconnections due to lack of payment for 60 days as part of the “Keep America Connected Pledge” through the FCC. The companies will also waive any associated late fees and open available Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
ComEd also announced it is not disconnecting service for nonpayment and waiving new late fees through at least May 1.
Some towns, including Aurora, are halting water disconnections for nonpayment so residents can still access water to wash their hands and stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.
IDHS has closed down most of its local Family Community Resource Centers (FCRC). The only FCRCs remaining open in Cook County are:
2701 W Lake St. Melrose Park
2753 West North Ave. Chicago
3301 Wireton Rd. Blue Island
5323 S Western Ave. Chicago
People are encouraged to apply for benefits online at ABE.Illinois.gov or by calling the IDHS Help is Here toll-free line at 1-833-2-FIND-HELP. Clients can learn a lot about and do a lot with their IDHS case by using Manage My Case personal online accounts.
If you have are a resident of the City of Chicago who’s income is below 125% the Federal Poverty Level and you need help applying, contact Legal Aid Chicago’s Public Benefits Outreach and Enrollment Project to help you submit an online application at 312-341-1070.