In most cases, the $25 will be paid through the end of 2009 or until
weekly benefits are exhausted, whichever comes first.
currently receiving benefits automatically will receive the
additional $25," said Maureen O'Donnell, director of the Illinois
Department of Employment Security. "As jobless rates reach historic
levels, we are redoubling our efforts to meet the needs of our
customers in what certainly are very trying times for unemployed
workers and their families."
Efforts to better serve the unemployed include the ability to
file for unemployment insurance online; encouraging payments be
delivered through direct deposit; expanding TeleServe hours to 5
a.m.-9 p.m. to make it easier for people to certify for benefits;
increasing telephone capacity to accommodate high call volumes; and
hiring additional staff to process claims and answer telephone
Illinois had a 7.2 percent unemployment rate in December, the
most recent figures available. The national unemployment rate in
December also was 7.2 percent, a 16-year-high. National unemployment
rates increased in January. Illinois' rates are expected to increase
"The department has expanded hours, revised the call-in system
and is in the process of adding more than 200 additional telephone
lines in an effort to make a challenging time as easy as possible,"
[to top of second column]
The president's $787 billion stimulus package, signed into law Feb.
17 in Denver, included the $25 weekly supplement and a provision
that the first $2,400 in unemployment insurance would not be subject
to federal income taxes.
Unemployment insurance is a state-operated insurance program
designed to partially compensate workers for loss of wages when they
are out of work. If an unemployed individual meets specific
eligibility requirements, the unemployment insurance program ensures
that they will have some income while looking for a job, up to a
maximum of 26 weeks in a one-year period. Unemployment insurance
benefits are funded by tax dollars collected from Illinois
employers. Federal extensions of unemployment insurance could mean
an additional 33 weeks of benefits.
Department of Employment Security
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]