Applying for Unemployment Benefits Amid Coronavirus 2019

April 5th, 2020 by

Due to the devastating economic crisis as a result of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), there has been a surge of unemployment claims in recent months. Consumers are no longer buying at the same rate as pre-COVID-19.  Non-essential businesses are finding it hard to keep up with their “business as usual” routines when most Americans are under a stay-in-place order.   Businesses are faced with the decisions to close factors, plants, offices, and services in order to help flatten the curve.  This means that thousands of non-essential workers will find themselves without jobs during this crisis. 

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has become overwhelmed with the number of unemployment applications.  The IDES’ website attests to the fact that they are experiencing unprecedented call and claim rates due to the massive unemployment spike resulting from COVID-19.  In fact, the IDES has set specific times and days for submission of unemployment applications based upon the first letter of your last name in an effort to deal with the alarming unemployment claims. In an effort to help states deal with the economic fallout from COVID-19, Congress has passed a $2 trillion dollar stimulus package.  The stimulus package contains the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Security (CARES) Act.  


The CARES Act contains relief for small businesses, student loans, taxpayers, and unemployed individuals.  Specifically for unemployment benefits, the CARES Act will provide Illinois with the ability to expand additional unemployment benefits up until July 31, 2020.  Each eligible individual will receive an additional $600.00 per week above what they will receive from regular unemployment once the funds become available to Illinois.  The additional $600.00 per week will not be applied retroactively to the date of application but will begin as soon as the applicant is approved.  In some cases under the CARES Act, individuals will also be eligible for more weeks of unemployment above the 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits.  

The CARES Act has extended unemployment benefits to those who would otherwise not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits.  Freelancers, independent contractors, part-time employees, and even Uber/Lyft drivers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits under the CARES Act. Unfortunately, due to the volume of calls, the IDES cannot answer your immediate questions regarding whether you will qualify for the additional benefits under the CARES Act.    

Further details about the new federal programs and how to apply for additional benefits will be provided to each state after the US Department of Labor finalizes the guidelines for benefits under the CARES Act. For Information regarding Illinois unemployment applications and information updates, please visit:

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We are aware that everyone has been affected by the recent response to COVID-19 but we hope that you find some comfort in knowing that we are still operational and here to assist you.

Whether you are a current client or if you are looking for family law or estate planning assistance, our team is here for you and will continue to be available to address your concerns.

To the extent possible, we will offer remote consultations and provide services from a distance.

You may message us here, email our office at, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will be able to assist you.

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.



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