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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has released how many people have filed for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment. 

So far the state has processed 72,671 new claims for regular unemployment benefits during the week ending May 9. The numbers are about 11.5 times the number of claims from this time last year. 

IDES has processes 33,729 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims (PEUC), which provides up to 13 weeks’ worth of 100% federally funded benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits. 

The number of initial claims for unemployment has plateaued in the last two weeks. IDES will experience an increase in overall claims processed when the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims data becomes available Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Since the launch of PUA claims, on May 11, there have been more than 50,000 claims. IDES expects these claims to grow over the next few weeks. 

Workers who believe they may be eligible for new federal benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, must first apply for regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under PUA when a new application portal opens on Monday via the IDES website. 

Claims for PUA will be backdated to the first week of unemployment, but no earlier than Feb. 2, 2020 and will continue for as long as the person is unemployed, but no longer than the week ending in Dec. 26, 2020.  

Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.

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