Friday, December 21, 2012
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Employment security offices closed Dec. 25, Jan. 1

Claimants should certify; services available on Internet

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[December 21, 2012]  CHICAGO -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. resume on each following day.

Although offices will be closed, services will be available at People will still be able to file for first-time unemployment benefits, certify for benefits, which is necessary to receive payment, and switch that method of payment to direct deposit.

Because the next two Tuesdays are federal banking holidays, the availability of some benefit payments might be delayed. The IDES does not determine federal banking holidays.

Additionally, IDES reminds people that the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, EUC, ends Dec. 29. This will touch individuals who have collected unemployment insurance longer than 25 weeks. The state's regular unemployment program continues. The state program represents weeks one through 25.

Every $1 in unemployment insurance generates $1.63 in economic activity because the dollars are quickly spent at neighborhood businesses.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. Individuals who exhaust their benefits, or are ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

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IDES is federally funded, and funding is partly tied to the number of people collecting unemployment. That number will fall because federal EUC ends ($16M cut) and there are fewer people collecting the state's regular unemployment ($11M cut). When combined with potential cuts from the fiscal cliff ($17M cut), IDES' budget could be cut $44 million annually, or about 20 percent. These cuts come at a time when the numbers of claims remain 38 percent higher than prior to the recession.

To live within its budget, IDES already has non-scheduled 216 intermittent employees, consolidated eight offices and vacated 10 outpost locations shared with partners. The federal cuts might necessitate further service reductions, including additional office consolidations.

[Text from Illinois Department of Employment Security file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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