Enhanced rules to be eligible for unemployment benefits
filers risk benefits if they refuse training, skills exam
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[March 24, 2012]
CHICAGO -- This week the Illinois
Department of Employment Security announced new federal rules for
individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits. The enhanced
rules require individuals to comply with measures to ensure that
they are updating their jobs skills and looking for work. Those who
do not comply, risk losing their weekly unemployment insurance
The federal government included the enhanced requirements when it
passed the latest benefit extension.
In-person interviews with
IDES staff will be required for workers transitioning from the
state's regular benefit program to the federal Emergency
Unemployment Compensation program, or EUC. Interviews also will be
required for those transitioning from the first round of federal
benefits to the second if they had not previously been interviewed.
The interviews will ensure individuals are aware of skills
assessment and job training programs designed to help them find work
or identify a new career path.
These mandates are in addition to job-training services and
interviews IDES already requires. IDES will notify individuals of
the enhanced requirement primarily through the media, mail and
Individuals who do not participate or do not show examples of
their work search will no longer be eligible for benefits.
"The renewed emphasis is designed to ensure individuals are doing
everything possible to update their skills and are prepared to
re-enter the workforce," said IDES Director Jay Rowell said. "The
federal directive is very specific about what is needed to receive
Individuals will be mailed specific paperwork regarding a skills
assessment and work search history. This paperwork must be completed
and brought to the interview. Individuals who do not complete the
paperwork prior to the interview risk losing benefits.
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The deep national recession prompted Congress to ask Presidents
Obama and Bush to enact unemployment insurance programs beyond the
regular benefit program offered in each state. There are six
programs in Illinois: regular benefits, Emergency Unemployment
Compensation Tiers I, II, III and IV, and extended benefits, or EB.
In February, Congress extended the EUC programs through the end
of 2012. EB, which was set to expire March 10, also was extended.
When EB ends in Illinois depends on how swiftly the state
unemployment rate declines. Up to 99 weeks of unemployment insurance
benefits remain potentially available for Illinois claimants.
Congress also required that these new services be provided within
30 days of the legislation taking effect.
Department of Employment Security
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]