If the local office of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) denies you unemployment benefits, you can appeal this decision.
After you've applied for unemployment benefits, you will get a letter from IDES which will state whether you have been approved or denied. You must appeal within the legal time limit which is usually 30 days, but may be shorter. Make sure you do not miss the time you are given to appeal, because late appeals will not be considered.
Keep in mind that even if you are initially found to be entitled to benefits, your former employer has a right to appeal the decision within 30 days. So you should wait for 30 days until you rely on this decision to be final. You will still receive benefits in this 30 day period.
The letter you receive denying you unemployment benefits explains how to appeal the denial. You can follow the step by step process here. Do not wait until the last week to submit your appeal, so that if your letter is not delivered, you will have time to send or hand-deliver another one.
If you are denied unemployment benefits, you have 3 opportunities to appeal:
- First, you can file an appeal to be heard by an IDES Referee.
- Second, if you don't agree with the Referee's decision, you can file an appeal with the Board of Review.
- Third, if you don't agree with the Board of Review's decision, you can file an Administrative Review Action in Circuit Court.
You should consult an attorney to discuss your appeal and decide whether you want to hire a lawyer to help you win your appeal. You may be able to get a free lawyer through IDES to help you in the process.
Should I keep filing for unemployment benefits as I appeal?
Yes. If you decide you are going to appeal the decision, you should continue to file your claims by mail or telephone.
If you win at your hearing, you will only receive benefits for each of the weeks for which you filed. Your former employer has a right to appeal, so understand that the decision is not final for 30 days.
To file your appeal, send a Notice of Appeal form or letter to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. For more information on the appeal process see File your appeal for unemployment benefits.
Updated: June 2017