SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – The number of Illinoisans applying for unemployment benefits skyrocketed following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s shutdown of all bars and restaurants in the state.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s weekly claims, the number of claims filed for the week ending March 21, 2020, 114,114 people filed for unemployment. The Governor’s order went into effect on March 16, 2020. Claims for the week prior were 10,870, a 950% increase.
In an executive order issued earlier this month, Gov. Pritzker announced changes to who is eligible for unemployment benefits in the state.
The Dept. of Employment Security office is encouraging anyone who is applying for unemployment to do so online.
“The department has taken several steps to improve the performance and capabilities of the website to handle the bandwidth of increased traffic, including moving the website to a new hardware infrastructure and increasing web capacity, and will continue to monitor and improve its functions and abilities,” the department said. “The online portal is the safest, easiest, and fastest route to filling out and submitting a claim, requests little personal information (name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and the weight listed on your driver’s license), requires no wait time, and can be done at any time of the day or night with the use of a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.”
The governor’s office has also waived the typical one week waiting period for anyone applying for benefits. Amounts someone will get varies on their pay and can range from $51 to $580 per week and can last for 26-weeks.