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New guidelines introduced to streamline unemployment claim system

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Amid an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims filed in recent weeks, the Illinois Department of Employment Security has introduced a new claim filing schedule aimed at reducing wait times for Illinoisans seeking benefits.

Under the new schedule released by IDES, Illinois residents filing both online and by phone will do so on different days of the week based on the first letter of their last name. The schedules are as follows:

Online Filing Schedule

  • Last names starting with A-M will file claims on Sundays, Tuesday and Thursdays.
  • Last names starting with N-Z will file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Saturdays are available for those who are unable to file during their allotted time.

Call Center Filing Schedule

  • Last names A-M will file claims on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Last names N-Z will file claims on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. will be available for those who are unable to file during their allotted time.

The day and time claims are filed will not affect benefit status.

Through the first three weeks of March, IDES received more than 130,000 unemployment benefit claims, an increase of almost 400 percent compared to corresponding weeks in 2019. The department’s call center is currently receiving hundreds of calls per minute each day.

In addition to implementing the new schedule, IDES has taken several other measures to streamline its claim system, including increasing website capacity, increasing call center staffing and extending call center hours.

Illinoisans can file unemployment insurance claims online here or by calling 1-800-244-5631. More information on unemployment insurance is available at IDES.Illinois.gov.