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Illinois Employers Keeping up with COVID-19 and IDES: Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Coronavirus

Illinois employers take note! The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has a new notice on its website addressing the remarkable expansion of unemployment insurance benefits under the federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act).

The IDES states that not everyone will be eligible for all the benefits contained in the package, and some benefits will not begin immediately.

On its website, the IDES asks that applicants not inquire about the new federal programs. Once the details about the new federal programs (and how to apply) have been finalized, the IDES will make that information available.

Per the IDES website, once the federal stimulus package has been implemented in Illinois, individuals receiving unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 per week above what they would receive in regular unemployment benefits until July 31, 2020. This will not be retroactively applied to unemployment benefits received in the past.

For the first time, the IDES brings up the issue of whether independent contractors will qualify under the new federal unemployment program. The IDES states that the federal stimulus package “creates a new, temporary program to help independent contractors who lose work as a direct result of the current public health emergency.” The IDES asks that independent contractors not apply for unemployment insurance benefits at this time because the details about how to apply have not been finalized. Additionally, the IDES indicates is extremely busy processing the large volume of claims for individuals who are eligible under current benefit programs. As we learn more about how the IDES will handle these issues, we will continue to send updates.

Illinois employers who need assistance with figuring out the best course of action in view of these dramatic new laws regarding unemployment insurance benefits in Illinois should contact Attorney Nancy Joerg at Wessels Sherman’s St. Charles, Illinois office: (630) 377-1554 or email her at

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