Unemployment benefits are temporary income given to those who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Although many states pay unemployment weekly, there are several that prefer paying biweekly, including Illinois. Illinois unemployment benefit payments are distributed on a biweekly basis through direct deposit or a prepaid debit card. You only receive a payment for each week you file a weekly claims certification with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).


If COVID-19 has affected your job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Head to the Department of Labor's website for updates, and check out careeronestop to learn how to file for unemployment in your state.

Benefit Weeks

Unemployment insurance benefits are broken down into benefit weeks. Each week runs from Sunday to Saturday. You receive a week of unemployment for each week you remain eligible according to Illinois state law. Each benefit week stands on its own in regard to eligibility and amount of compensation. You might be eligible for one week and the next week not and vice versa. Illinois limits you to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits per benefit year, but you don’t have to receive the compensation consecutively.

Biweekly Payments

Although the IDES divides your claims into weeks, your payments come on a biweekly basis. Every two weeks, you file a weekly claim certification for each of the previous two weeks. Although it’s one payment, the biweekly payment consists of your eligible compensation for both weeks. Then on Friday of that week, you receive an unemployment payment by prepaid debit card or direct deposit into your personal bank account.

Weekly Claims Certification

Illinois requires you to file a weekly claims certification for each week of unemployment compensation you’d like to receive. You call into the claims line or log into the claims site to answer eligibility questions about the previous two weeks. Although the process includes the two previous weeks, you will certify for each week separately. If you do not certify for a week or the information you provide indicates you’re not eligible for benefits that week, you will not receive payment.

If You Don’t Get Paid

There are several reasons you might not receive your biweekly unemployment payments. Failure to certify or failure to provide information that verifies your eligibility will result in no payment. If you’re going through an appeals process, you won’t receive payments until the appeal is settled. Sometimes, if a state or federal holiday falls on a Monday, your payment may be delayed. If you have certified and are not going through appeals, you should contact the IDES if your payment is more than five days late.