Illinois (IL) IDES Unemployment Insurance Updates – PUA, PEUC and $300 FPUC – 2021 UI Extensions

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This article was last updated on April 8

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) manages the states’ unemployment insurance program, IT systems and benefit payments. See further details below (summarized for simplicity from the IDES site) on the newly enhanced benefits available now and how to file a claim. Keep reading for more details and helpful tips if you are having issues with your unemployment claim.

2021 Biden Stimulus Bill Extensions

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Under President Biden’s $1.9 trillion federal coronavirus relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan (ARP), enhanced unemployment benefits have been extended until September 6th. This includes further extensions to the PUA program, PEUC program, $300 weekly payment under the FPUC program and $100 Mixed Earners (MEUC) program. There were also provisions in the Biden Stimulus package for Unemployment tax breaks on the first $10,200 of benefits received in 2020.

Latest News and Status on PUA, PEUC and $300 FPUC Payment Schedule

IDES has implemented the extended weeks under the Biden Stimulus bill the extend benefits till the week ending September 4th. You can see the following general guidelines on the potential implementation and actions under the Biden stimulus bill extensions. State agencies will need to wait for final instructions from the DOL to implement and apply the extended weeks of coverage to claimant accounts:

IL IDES Unemployment Benefit Extensions
  • You do not need to reapply for benefits and you will automatically be enrolled you in the appropriate extension. The exception to this are claimants who live in other states may receive notice that they must file an additional application.
  • You should continue to file your weekly claim for benefits as you normally would as long as you remain unemployed.
  • You will not need to contact the department in order for these program extensions to take effect.
  • This legislation would extend the various benefit programs through the week ending September 4, 2021.
  • The additional weekly payment of $300 under the FPUC program will be extended through September 4, 2021 as well.
  • Claimants may receive determinations and notifications that do not reflect the updated information from the newly passed bill as the state may still be in the process of system programming updates. An accurate monetary determination reflecting all weeks and benefits available to you once programming is updated  

There are however some known issue many claimants are reporting (see comments below this article for more detailed discussions and options)

  • Many are reporting scam emails to potential claimants asking for personal and private data. Do not share this online or to people you don’t know. Only go to the IDES site to load documents and provide required certifications.
  • Its still hard to get through to someone at IDES for those whose benefits have lapsed. Keep trying as in some instances you will need a VEC rep to manually progress your claim or to provide additional information to verify your claim.
  • While the PUA and PEUC extensions are now available till Sep 4th, many people are reporting a lapse in benefits, which is mainly due to the need to provide additional documentation (PUA claimants) or not filing a new claim after you have reached your benefit year end.
  • Some people who returned to work and stopped claiming benefits, but are now unemployed again are having a tough time reinstating claim due to manual checks the state UI agency has to do, which is taking more time than expected. Retroactive payments will be made for eligible weeks but this is a known issue.
  • If you previously exhausted your PUA or PEUC benefits, the additional payments cannot be backdated for weeks prior to March 14, 2021.

I will post updates as they are released so stay tuned via the options below.

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2021 Unemployment Program Extensions Under COVID Relief Bill

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief package was passed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, which among several other pandemic relief measures extends and provides additional federal funding for enhanced unemployment benefits. This includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and a reinstatement, but halving of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Program which provides a $300 supplemental weekly unemployment payment.

These programs have been funded and extended for 11 weeks (on top of any state funded extensions), covering the weeks of December 27th, 2020 to March 14th, 2021. To receive FPUC benefits, you must first be receiving regular UI, PEUC, EB, or PUA. So if there delays in rolling out or renewing your claim for those programs, then your $300 extra weekly payment will be delayed.

IL IDES Payment Status and Updates on 2021 Unemployment Extensions (PUA, PEUC and $300 FPUC)

[Update Feb 5th, 2021] IDES has recently posted additional updates on the 11-week benefits extension rollout. I have summarized this below and also provided this recent YouTube video update.

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  • $300 FPUC: Paying for now for those who can file PUA, PUEC, Regular UI or EB claims. This additional supplemental benefit applies between the week ending January 2, 2021 and the week ending March 13, 2021.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Notification of 11-week Extension to be sent on February 1st, 2021
    • Continued Claimants: IDES is instructing all PUA claimants who applied and were approved for PUA benefits prior to the week ending December 26, 2020, and had not exhausted benefit eligibility, to continue to certify to avoid an interruption in benefit payment.
    • Claimants Who Had Exhausted PUA Benefits: PUA claimants who had exhausted benefit eligibility prior to the week ending December 26, 2020 may remain eligible under the extension provided in the CAA and will be notified by IDES of the additional weeks added to their claim based on the method the claimant selected to receive correspondence from the Department.
    • New Claimants [Updates still pending]: The PUA system is undergoing technical changes to move new PUA claimants to pay status and begin the process of verifying wage and employment or self-employment information supplied by the claimant. The CAA also includes a limitation on backdating new PUA claims. Per the CAA, in most cases claimants filing a new PUA claim after December 27, 2020 can backdate to December 6, 2020.

Additional PUA Documentation – During the week of February 1, 2021, notices will be sent to inform claimants of the additional 11 weeks of eligibility, in addition to requests to verify employment or self-employment. The notification will include a deadline to provide information to the Department. Individuals filing a new PUA claim on or after January 31, 2021 (regardless whether the claim is backdated), are required to provide this documentation within 21 days of application or the date determined by IDES. Individuals who applied for PUA before January 31, 2021 and receive(d) a payment of PUA on or after December 27, 2020, are required to provide employment or self-employment documentation, or documentation demonstrating the beginning of employment or self-employment, within 90 days of application or the date determined by IDES. These deadlines may be extended if the individual shows good cause, and deadlines will be communicated on verification requests provided by the Department. See examples of documentation required.

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): The CAA provides an additional 11 weeks of PEUC benefits. However, claimant transition to PEUC will vary based on how and when claimants exhaust eligibility for benefits within the various regular and federal unemployment programs. Transition will be evaluated and determined on a claimant-by-claimant basis, and claimants will be notified of their transitions.

  • Transition Language Between Programs or with a New Benefit Year: The Department’s subject-matter experts are working through the transition language necessary to maintain eligibility for claimants who may exhaust various programs. This involves programming and testing changes within all programs.
  • Extended Benefits (EB): According to unemployment rate data published by the federal government, the Illinois unemployment rate has fallen below the threshold established by law for the additional 7 weeks of EB to be available in Illinois. Illinois remains triggered onto the standard 13 weeks of EB, and is available to claimants who have exhausted the allotted 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits, the 13 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits, and (in some cases) the additional 11 weeks of PEUC benefits established under the CAA. Claimants who received 13 or more weeks of EB will transition to the maximum 11 additional weeks of PEUC.

You can see the full IDES guidelines here. I will post additional details as they are released in coming days. So stay tuned for updates.

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[Update Jan 20th] IDES is only paying the extended coverage benefits to active claimants (those who have weeks left to certify). They are still updating their systems to cover those who had exhausted benefits prior to December 27th and are eligible for PUA and PEUC payments under the new 11 week extension. Once that it is done IDES is supposed to notify claimants on instructions to get the extended weeks. When they are able to certify for these weeks, they will also get the supplementary $300 payment. Unfortunately no clear date on when the system updates will be completed.

Per their social media (twitter) updates IDES has begun paying the $300 FPUC supplement for week ending Jan 2, 2021 to locals receiving regular UI, State extended benefits and with active Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims as of December 27th, 2020. Those who had exhausted their benefits prior to December 27th, are still unable to receive benefits under the new extension, including the extra $300 weekly payment. IDES is still updating their systems to make this payment.

Final guidelines on these programs and final eligibility including additional document verification procedures to combat Fraud have been issued by the Department of Labor and then have to be implemented by the state UI agency in their systems and programs. So this could delay the actual date of payments.

UI claimants with existing or expired claim balances should be aware of the following general guidelines:

  • PUA and PEUC, FPUC will be automatically added to the claimants’ benefits if they are eligible for the weeks outlined in the new legislation.
  • IDES advises to continue to certify as normal for the unemployment benefits you’re currently receiving. Regular UI claimants should continue to certify to transition to PEUC and EB (required by new legislation) which will happen once systems are updated.
  • Current PUA claimants can certify for week ending Jan 2, 2021 for no interruption in coverage. The new extension laws require additional documentation verification requirements on new claims, and IDES expects to to resume taking new PUA claims from week of Jan 10th, 2021 (or earlier)
  • Claimants will be retroactively caught up on payments for all weeks they are eligible.
  • Claimants currently receiving benefits through the Extended Benefits program must finish all weeks of EB before receiving additional weeks of PEUC.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program – NOW EXPIRED

IDES has now paid out the $300 weekly payment under the LWA program, which provided supplementary payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who were unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. The new LWA payment would be in addition to Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) payments currently available to unemployed workers

IDES has updated their systems to process LWA applications and validate eligibility for benefits under this program with payments starting during the week of September 8th. They will be retroactive to the week of August 1st and only available for 6 weeks ($1800 maximum) due to FEMA funding limitations. Payments are being made in batches with the first round covering 3 weeks (up to $900) based on the original FEMA grant. Subsequent weeks will be paid in separate batches or in one additional 3 week lump sum depending on claimant eligible weeks.

There is no new application for LWA. Claimants eligible for LWA (>$100 in existing UI benefits) will automatically receive LWA funds in addition to their weekly benefit amount. Eligible claimants will get the extra $300 supplementary payment at the same time as their unemployment benefits payment. See more on the IDES LWA page.

Note – Due to the $100 minimum weekly benefit (+ dependent allowance) threshold for existing UI benefits, approximately 60,000 Illinois claimants will be denied access to LWA. This is the main reason many unemployed people are not seeing LWA payments.

COVID 19 Enhanced Benefits

Under the CARES act, there are three types of federal unemployment assistance now available:

• Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all recipients of Unemployment Insurance; retroactive to the week ending April 6, 2020. They will see the additional supplemental income applied to their weekly benefit amount. This increase is available through the week ending July 25, 2020.
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment benefits to all recipients. If you have exhausted regular unemployment benefits, a Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claim will be filed for you and up to 13 additional weeks of PEUC benefits will be added to your balance.
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible for
Unemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and “gig” workers. IDES began accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program beginning on May 11. Here are the steps to follow to apply:

1. Apply for regular unemployment before you apply for PUA

2. If you applied for regular unemployment and have been denied between April 1, 2019 and today, do not reapply. Go into your regular unemployment account and set up direct deposit for payment.

3. Have your 2019 tax return or proof of income ready and available

4. Be prepared to certify

5. Remember: You must submit a new application for PUA. The two systems are not transferrable.

Failure to provide all the requested information means your claim will have to be manually reviewed and corrected by IDES staff. If IDES is unable to make the corrections, prior to when you certify (request payment), your benefits will be delayed or the amount you receive will be less than it should be. Any information submitted by you to IDES may be verified through computer matching progams in order to determine your eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits.​

IDES

Filing a Claim

If you haven’t already applied, you can File for Regular Unemployment Benefits via the IDES page. Note – Do not re-apply for regular unemployment benefits, if you have applied and been denied within twelve months of today’s date-instead file for PUA.

Within 7-10 days of filing your claim, you will receive a blank debit card and a UI Finding in the mail which will tell you whether you are monetarily eligible for benefits, meaning you have earned sufficient wages in your base period. In general, you are monetarily eligible for benefits if you earned at least $1,600 in covered employment in the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters, including $440 outside the quarter in which wages were highest. For example, if you earned $1,100 in January 2019 and $500 in July 2019, you earned sufficient wages in your base period to be monetarily eligible.

If your UI Finding says you are not monetarily eligible (weekly benefit amount shows $0), this means that according to reports employers are required to provide IDES of wages paid for services in employment, you were not paid enough wages during your base period to qualify for regular unemployment benefits.

If, during your base period, you did not receive any payments for services that you performed for others (e.g., if you were a sole proprietor), you may apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. See more details here.

Certify or “claim certification” is used to describe how you claim weeks of unemployment and receive payment of benefits if you meet the eligibility requirements. On your assigned day and on a bi-weekly basis, you certify by answering a set of questions.

The best way to certify for payment of benefits is online (links below to IDES site). These services are available Monday – Friday from 3:00 AM to 7:30PM. 

certify_small.png Certify for Payment of Regular Unemployment Benefits​

certify_small.png Certify for Payment of PUA Benefits​

If you filed a claim for benefits and were determined monetarily eligible, read our “What Every Worker Should Know About Unemployment Insurance” brochure to find out what comes next.

If our records are not correct, and you did perform services for a business or another individual and were paid for those services during your base period, please send documentation of the services that you performed and the payments you received to the Department as soon as possible.

163 thoughts on “Illinois (IL) IDES Unemployment Insurance Updates – PUA, PEUC and $300 FPUC – 2021 UI Extensions

  1. I have not received my unemployment benefit for the last 6 weeks. On Monday, April 19th, 2021 it will be 8 weeks. When unemployment did call me on March 26th, 2021 the representative said that there was a glitch in the system that did not automatically activate me personally and thousands of others into the new program. The representative said that it would be fixed and I should get all my pay and back pay within a couple of weeks (2). We are now working on the third week and still nothing. I have had my number in the que for almost two weeks now and no call back. When will this program in Illinois be fixed. I am looking for a job, maybe I can help IDES figure it out.
    Are there any explanations as to why this is taking so long?

  2. Dear Andy,

    So I got a call from IDES today. It took about 2 weeks for the call back. I asked about the notice of determination from March 3rd, 2021 referring to the inelegibility for benefits due to the HUP (high unemployment period) ending in Illinois still being on my file. The person I spoke to didn’t know the answer and said she’d check with her supervisor so I waited and finally she just read back the notice to me and said I should fax or mail in the appeal letter asap. I don’t think she got clarification from a supervisor as I asked her numerous questions regarding the American Rescue Plan Act repealing or negating the HUP issue ending in Illinois, the fact I have gotten paid for the last 2 weeks, and the fact that I had gotten information from many people not to appeal this determination. She said no you need to appeal if you want to continue to get benefits. I’m so damn confused now I don’t know what to do. I told her that a lot of people must be misinformed as to what to do and that they needed to appeal this and she said oh yes a lot people don’t know about this. ???

    1. The ARP didn’t repeal HUP. That is tied to the states unemployment rate being above a certain level and IL rate fell below the required level so HUP was lowered. See the news release below. You should however be able to PUA or PEUC extended weeks now under ARP.

      “According to unemployment data published by the federal government, Illinois’ unemployment rate is now below the threshold for the state’s High Unemployment Period (HUP) to be active, and individuals no longer qualify for additional weeks of benefits provided during by HUP. Under federal law, when a state is in the HUP, there are seven additional weeks added to PUA eligibility, as well as seven additional weeks added to Extended Benefits (EB) eligibility under state law. As a result of Illinois’ unemployment rate dropping, under state and federal law, the seven additional weeks for both programs are no longer available.”

  3. If you work part time again and make over what you unemployment is for that week, can you lose your unemployment all together even if it’s only for a week here and there or will you only lose it for that certification period?

    1. Yes you can lose UI benefits if your wages are above a certain level for a given period. See this article for more -https://savingtoinvest.com/part-time-workers-eligible-for-partial-unemployment-compensation-will-qualify-for-the-600-weekly-covid-19-fpuc-stimulus-payment/

  4. i have no idea whats going on ive exhasted my regular ui benefits and ive applied for pua and its been saying my determination for elegiability is still pending after 12 business days and they even let me certify under pua?

    1. I am on PUA and had received a notice of determination stating I’m no longer elegible due to the HUP, high unemployment period, ending in Illinois and benefits no longer available starting week of 2/21/2021.
      It is causing a pending issue in my file preventing payments and it says I have until 4/2/2021 to appeal. Should I appeal this or will it be wiped away because of the new American Rescue Plan Act? This is all so complicated and confusing as I also received a letter of monetary determination stating that I am elegible and have money in my account beginning 3/14/2021 until 9/4/2021.
      What to do ?

      1. I am in the same situation (if it provides any comfort). My PUA payments were stopped because of the same reason (I, too, live in IL).
        I got assurances from more than one source that the new Relief bill WILL extend my PUA eligibility from 50 weeks (in IL) to 75 weeks.
        “Magically” (I did not do anything to bring this about), one day in recent weeks, my IDES account showed that “extension” of PUA benefits…e.g., that my account was “Active,” that I had about a $5,000 balance in it, and 25 more weeks of payments…yet since that info showed up, my debit card (which is used by IDES to give me weekly payments of benefits) still shows zero balance.
        Then, a couple days ago, I received a Reconsidered PUA Finding (totally confusing, like all IDES communications), confirming that additional balance, but stating that “I will be required to submit proof of self-employment, but CONTRADICTING that statement by further saying (in so many words) that if I have already provided this (which I did, via my 2019 tax return, submitted to IDES almost a year ago, when I first applied for PUA), “you do not need to provide additional information.”
        I went through a similar frustration with IDES when Trump signed the other Stimulus bill….waiting TWO MONTHS, when my PUA payments “magically” one day started to come through….so I am HOPING the same thing will happen with this latest relief bill and extension of PUA benefits…..that the most screwed up government organization in history WILL finally get its act together and start making my benefit payments once again.
        Will appreciate confirmation or comments by Andy and anyone else in IL who is experiencing a similar situation

      2. I would keep Certifying. The PUA Payments were released by IDES for ARP.
        I got paid for the week ending 03/20/2021 but not for the 2 weeks before. My benefits were exhausted for those two weeks

        1. Same Case here. Got paid for week ending 3/20 but before that two weeks still showing pending and there is no payment ID for those two weeks.

  5. Patricia i filed my unemployment was approved then denied so i filed for the pua and when i sent my identification and ss number i sent it ides not pua so the man that called me Sunday said that’s all i needed to do i was to send it to the pua claimant Dept. with the right claimant number because there are two claim numbers and fax numbers to fax mail or email

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