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Illinois Department of Employment Security address unprecedented volume of unemployment claims

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Springfield (WGEM) - Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today they are taking more steps as they address the unprecedented volume of unemployment benefit claims the department has fielded as a result of COVID-19.

The IDES has taken multiple steps to improve the unemployment benefit claims process via the online portal and the call center.

  •  The website has been moved to new hardware infrastructure to handle the increased demand
  •  Web, storage, and processing capacity has been increased to meet needs of increased traffic
  •  Methods have been implemented to track COVID-19-related claims
  •  Call center capacity has been increased
  •  Daily call center hours have been extended to respond to those waiting in the queue after closure
  •  Call center staff has been supplemented by 40% to cut down on wait times
  •  Both the website and the call center will continue to be monitored for improvements in functions and abilities

In addition to these measures, IDES is asking individuals to adhere to an alphabetized schedule when they file an unemployment benefit claim online and over the phone. 

Online Filing Schedule:

  •  Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays. 
  •  Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
  •  Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

Call Center Filing Schedule:

  •  Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30am – 6pm. 
  •  Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
  •  Fridays (7:30am – 6pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

The IDES has received, over the first three weeks of March, over 130,000 unemployment benefit claims, an increase of close to 400% compared to the corresponding weeks from the prior year.

If you have questions or are in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time visit IDES.Illinois.gov

WGEM Staff

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