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More Illinois residents filed for unemployment in 1 month than all of 2019

The state said it's ramping up efforts to make sure those who qualify for benefits can get the help they need easily and quickly

ILLINOIS, USA — From March 1 through April 4, Illinois received 513,173 unemployment claims. That’s more than the total number of claims filed in 2019 (489,831) and it’s also five times the number of claims filed in the first five weeks of the 2008 recession.

“The challenges workers and families are facing today is something my whole administration thinks about each day as we are simultaneously attempting to fend off the health consequences of coronavirus,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We are working around the clock at all levels to provide unemployment benefits to the unprecedented number of Illinoisans who have lost their jobs to the spread of COVID-19. I will continue to do everything in my power to get our residents the support they need to get through this crisis.”

Gov. Pritzker said the state has taken several actions to help Illinois residents quickly and easily file for unemployment benefits.

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The governor’s administration overhauled the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s website and increased capacity at the call center.

Pritzker’s office also filed emergency rules so more people can qualify for benefits, waved the week applicants previously had to wait and implemented federal programs that will allow residents to receive additional support.  

One of those federal programs is the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation plan, which will provide an extra $600 in federal money every week to anyone who qualifies for state unemployment benefits. The checks started going out the week of April 5 and will continue through July 25.

The state also took actions to make sure residents can qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides federal unemployment benefits to those who typically wouldn’t qualify, including those who are self-employed or independent contractors.

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Illinois residents also can qualify for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides up to 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to those who’ve run out of regular state unemployment benefits.

For more information on the unemployment benefits programs available for Illinois residents, check out the Illinois Department of Employment Security website here.