The Illinois Department of Employment Security today released new statewide data showing the department processed 81,596 new initial unemployment claims for the week ending April 25 and has now processed more than 830,000 initial unemployment claims from March 1 through April 25.
This is 10 times the number of claims the department processed over the same period last year, when IDES processed just 69,000 initial unemployment claims.
Illinois is beginning to experience a slight decline in the number of new initial claims since its peak of more than 100,000 processed claims on March 21, 2020. Statewide unemployment claims data, which reflects activity for the week prior, will be available on the IDES website every Thursday afternoon.
To manage the unprecedented demand, IDES worked quickly to overhaul its website infrastructure, expanded web and call center capacity, and secured third party vendor partnerships to further implement and streamline new programs that enhance filing capabilities.
The department is also standing up a virtual call center, that will nearly double current call center capacity with Illinois-based call center representatives.
IDES waived the waiting week for claimants, was one of the first states to implement the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $600 each week in federally funded benefits to eligible Illinoisans, and recently implemented the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides up to 13 weeks’ worth of federally funded benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits.
The CARES Act also created Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a new program for people who are not typically covered by the state’s unemployment system. The department is contracting with Deloitte to launch this system the week of May 11.
Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.
SOURCE: Illinois Department of Employment Security news release