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IDES: Over 1 million unemployment claims filed since March 1


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) released new statewide data Thursday that showed the department has processed 74,476 new initial unemployment claims for the week ending May 2, and with upward revisions from weeks past, they have now processed 1,006,925 initial unemployment claims from March 1 through May 2.

That is almost 12 times the number of claims the department processed over the same period last year, when IDES processed just 78,100 initial unemployment claims.

The statewide unemployment claims data can be found and will be available on the IDES website every Thursday afternoon.

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.

If you are a worker who believes you may be eligible for new federal benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, have to first apply for regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under PUA when a new application portal opens on Monday via the IDES website. 

People 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 mandatory and the 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 if those individuals 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. 

There is up to 39 weeks’ worth of benefits that are potentially available under the program for COVID-19-related unemployment claims. 

IDES is going to be contracting with Deloitte to implement and maintain the web-based PUA program. 

PUA claims are going to be backdated to the individuals’ first week of unemployment, but no earlier than February 2, 2020. The claims 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.

If you have questions or are in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time you can visit

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