Number of Initial Claims Plateauing
While Thousands of Applicants Access PUA Portal
More Than 50,000 PUA Claims Filed in First
Three Days of Launch
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[September 16, 2020]
The Illinois Department of Employment Security
(IDES) today released new statewide data showing the department
processed 72,671 new initial claims for regular unemployment
benefits during the week ending May 9. The department has now
processed 1,076,461 claims for regular unemployment benefits from
March 1 through May 9. This amount is nearly 11.5 times the number
of claims the department processed over the same period last year,
when IDES processed just 87,000 claims for regular unemployment
IDES has processed 33,729 Pandemic Emergency
Unemployment Compensation claims (PEUC), which provides up to 13
weeks’ worth of 100% federally funded benefits to individuals who
have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits. PEUC is
potentially available for weeks beginning on or after March 29, 2020
and continuing through the week ending December 26, 2020.
While the number of initial claims for regular benefits has
plateaued in the last two weeks, IDES will experience an increase in
overall claims processed when the federal Pandemic Unemployment
Assistance (PUA) claims data becomes available Thursday, May 21,
2020. Launched on May 11, more than 50,000 PUA claims have been
filed through the new portal in the first three days of operation.
IDES expects the number of claimants accessing the new unemployment
system to continue to grow in the coming days and weeks.
Statewide unemployment claims data, which reflects activity for the
week prior, is made available on the IDES website every Thursday
afternoon. PUA claims data will follow these same federal embargo
provisions, with this week’s data available on Thursday, May 21.
Previous initial claims data has undergone a revision to properly
account for the number of successfully processed 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.
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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 provides 100% federally-funded unemployment benefits for
individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related
reasons and 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. Up to 39
weeks’ worth of benefits are potentially available under the program
for COVID-19-related unemployment claims.
IDES contracted with Deloitte to implement and maintain the
web-based PUA program. While a program of this magnitude would
normally take up to a year to design and implement, the department
successfully launched the online portal in four weeks.
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.
[Illinois Office of Communication and