11142018CM1153DES PLAINES – Contract and gig economy workers who believe they may be eligible for new federal benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program should apply for and be denied regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under PUA, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced Friday.

“It may seem counterintuitive, but you must have your application denied before you can submit a claim through the new PUA program,” said Murphy. “If you think you’ll be eligible for federal benefits, I encourage you to apply as soon as possible to get a head start on that process.”

If claimants apply for unemployment benefits through the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and receive an eligibility determination of $0, they can then submit a claim for PUA benefits. Claimants who have already applied for and been denied regular benefits can submit a claim through the new PUA portal when it opens.

PUA provides up to 39 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related reasons and are not eligible for the state’s regular unemployment insurance program. Independent contractors and sole proprietors are newly eligible for benefits under this program.

PUA claims will be backdated to a claimant’s first week of unemployment, but no earlier than Feb. 2, 2020, and will continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed as a result of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending Dec. 26, 2020.

IDES is contracting with Deloitte to run the online PUA program. The department expects the program to launch Monday, May 11, 2020.

IDES processed over a million initial unemployment claims between March 1 and May 2, nearly 12 times the number of claims the department processed over the same period last year. The number of initial claims has slightly declined over the last two weeks, but the department expects to experience an increase when the PUA program launches.

“Lots of gig economy workers are struggling at this time, and the current unemployment program doesn’t cover them,” said Murphy. “I hope the PUA program rolls out smoothly and offers some relief to these Illinoisans soon.”

For more information and to apply, visit the IDES website.

COVID-19 Resources

COVID19 Updates

Find Your Legislator

O'Hare Air Traffic Complaint Form

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Office Info

Springfield Office:
108E Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3875

District Office:
880 Lee St. Suite 100
Des Plaines, IL 60016

 (847) 718-1110