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Illinois has process more than 1 million unemployment claims

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SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) on Thursday released data showing the department processed 74,476 new initial unemployment claims for the week ending May 2 and has processed 1,006,925 initial unemployment claims from March 1 through May 2.

The department said this is 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.

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 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.

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