Unemployment Benefits

You’ve asked, and we’re answering! Rights and Restoration Law Group is dedicated to supporting clients in their economic security, and in these times of uncertainty we’re hearing from more people that you have questions about securing unemployment benefits. 

#1: If you have arrests or convictions, you are still eligible for unemployment benefits.  

#2:  If you are not a citizen, but were legally working in the state, you are eligible for unemployment benefits. 

#3:  Contract, gig economy, and self-employed workers now have increased access to unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.  Even if you’ve previously been told that you don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, you could qualify now. As part of the CARES Act, unemployment benefits have been extended to non-employee workers that are without work for COVID-19 related reasons.  On May 11, Illinois began processing unemployment requests from this segment of workers.  In order to receive this compensation through the PUA program, you should first apply for and be denied regular benefits.     

#4. Workers unemployed because of COVID-19 are eligible to get unemployment compensation backdated to their first week of unemployment (back to February), and through the end of 2020.   

#5.  The CARES Act also increased the amount of money an individual can receive from unemployment compensation to include an additional $600/ week in addition to state-provided benefits.  

#6.  The application for unemployment benefits is important. If there are errors or omissions on your application it could result in denial. It is easiest to have a full and complete application the first time you apply.  Applications are completed online at the Illinois Department of Economic Security website (IDES).  

#7.  Your employer can contest, and IDES can deny your request for unemployment compensation.  However, even if you get a denial notice there are avenues to still get your compensation. The first stage after denial is a telephone hearing. Having an attorney at this hearing can increase your confidence and the likelihood of receiving benefits.  

#7.  CARPLS and Illinois Legal Aid Online are two free resources for help with unemployment benefit questions.  

#8.  If you would like individualized assistance, consultation, or representation in applying for benefits or responding to a denial of benefits, Rights and Restoration Law Group is offering special unbundled legal representation to help you get personalized support in times of financial hardship.  Our price for unemployment benefit assistance ranges between $50 and $300 (your total costs, not an hourly rate).  

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