Illinois Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) FAQ

This site is meant to assist you in finding information regarding the status of your claim. PLEASE read these questions before seeking answers through call centers or other resources as every system is overloaded, and there are glitches in the system that make it difficult to process. This information will be updated as quickly as I can personally keep it updated.

The Facebook group below is another great resource and where I have learned pretty much everything I know – because the call center and official site information has been less helpful than we’d all like it to be. Please remember that the admins of the Facebook group are volunteers who are not directly affiliated with IDES. They are doing their best to get answers, but are being bombarded with repeat questions in their inboxes that keep them from finding answers to the questions that really need asked. Try to keep conversations regarding relevant topics on threads that have already been approved; be patient with them; do your research before you send them a dm or tag them in something.

IDES is processing approximately 30,000-40,000 claims per day. The system updates some time around 7:00 or 8:00 pm, though people see movement at other times. The vast majority of people are moving through this process quite slowly, and the number one thing you will be told if you spend hours trying to get through on the phone lines is to “be patient.” If you can see your information on the backend, and everything appears to be functioning properly (you can submit documents, etc.), just give it time. You will likely move through without issue. If, however, you have not seen movement in your account in more than a week and are unable to see what you need to do to move forward, it may be worth calling.

General Questions

Do I need to apply for regular unemployment (UI) before applying for PUA?

Yes. Apply for regular UI and then go and apply for PUA. You do not need to wait for the denial before applying for PUA.

What do I send for verification of identity?

Your social security card and/or birth certificate.

What do I send for proof of income?

1099s, your 1040s, your schedule C, etc. If you were not in business for 2019, the IDES website shows a list of acceptable documents to submit to show you were in business in 2020.

Should I select to get taxes taken out of my PUA?

That is a personal question and perhaps better to discuss with your accountant.

Can I get the PPP and PUA?

Please talk to your accountant or tax professional. The PPP is intended to replace payroll for 8 weeks, if your income is replaced for 8 weeks, then you would not qualify for PUA during those 8 weeks.

When do I certify?

At this point, every Sunday you are able to certify. Certification is weekly for this program. We do not have information on when the payment will be released and deposited.

Why can I only see 5 weeks in my payment history/certification history?

Click on it and it will expand to show the previous weeks.

When does the extra $600 start and end?

The CARES program started April 4 and it is eligible for all weeks through July 25, 2020.

What is the max that I can make before I lose PUA? Does it include the $600?

The max you can earn is 50% of your WBA amount. Anything above 50%, and IDES deducts dollar for dollar. For example, your WBA is $100. You can earn up to $50 and not have your WBA reduced. If you make $51, your WBA is reduced by $1. The amount you can earn does NOT include the $600 stimulus amount.

How do they calculate the minimum/maximum for PUA?

The IDES website shows the chart they use for regular unemployment and it seems similar to the amounts being offered for PUA. We have not received clarification if it is the same chart.

When do I get my keycard?

We do not have information from IDES, but from previous posts it seems to be about 7 to 10 business days.

Why is my WBA so low?

It is based off your income that you provided. If it is calculated incorrectly, please upload your tax documents with a note asking them to recalculate your income. At this point, IDES is stating they will offer backpay if you were entitled to a higher WBA amount.

Do I need to sign up for Job link?

No, we are not required to sign up for joblink.

When will I get paid?

There is no specific timeline. Your guess is as good as ours – or the agent’s you call. Unless you’ve been stuck in the same place for a week, you are likely just enduring the normal heartbreakingly slow process of the system. The only good news is that some people are getting paid, and IDES is assuring us all, it will come.

How do I get through to a live person on the phone lines?

Be prepared to call right at 7:29/7:30 when they open and press 1, then wait for the second message to start playing and press 2 (make sure it goes through because they are now making you wait for part of this message to play for your command to be registered). Then press 211 and the prompts will automatically take you to the right line. You will either get a message telling you they are unavailable (call back and repeat as many times as necessary until you get through – some people call hundreds of times) or will be asked for your claimant ID or ssn and then placed on hold to wait for an agent. NOTE: many of the agents you speak with are not trained to identity verify or access some of the more advanced items. If you don’t get help the first time, you may have to go through the entire process all over again. People do get through with this method later in the day as well, but your best chance is right at 7:29/7:30. Many people have called hundreds of times without getting through so be prepared to spend a lot of time (and maybe multiple phone lines) working on this. As people start getting paid, it should get easier to get through.

How do I fax IDES?

You can fax IDES at 312-793-0940 – please only do this if you are unable to upload documents in your online portal as there was a glitch that has required a lot more faxed documentation than usual.

Definitions

What’s up with these pending issues?

There are two places on your dashboard that might say pending issues. In the box that lists your correspondences and fact findings, there is a section to show you how many pending issues you have. This area does not really matter. Having a number here just means that you have something or somethings that need to be checked by someone on their end – which actually means things are moving. You may have to do something later, but generally, this is not a problem. Some people also have pending issues as the status of their certifications/payments. These people tend to get to that point and then just sit in the pending issues status for 1-2 weeks. IDES has assured people over and over again that this is just a status in the progression and nothing to worry about, but very few people have moved from pending issues to paid, and because so many people are stuck there, it’s been the topic of lots of conversation – and confusion because half of the comments about the issue are actually from people referring to the pending issues on their account, not pending issues as a status.

What does my payment date actually mean?

Your payment date is not necessarily the exact day you will be paid. Some people see the money a bit earlier; some people are reporting that it can be a few days after. I have heard unconfirmed reports that some people are showing the words payment date where they should be seeing “processed date” – so just be aware of that issue. If you are showing a status of processed or paid (with or without a date), you are looking to be in good shape; don’t expect your money right away, but it’s coming.

What does adjudication mean?

It means they need more information from you. Check your inbox, your correspondence, your issues and determination to see what information they are looking for.

What is a determination letter?

It is the official letter from IDES stating your determination (eligibility) for PUA.

What does S.A.V.E. mean?

It means they need to verify your identity. You can upload your identity documents OR fax to IDES at 312-793-0940

What does Payment HOLD mean?

Payment HOLD means the payment is on hold until a representative is able to review your file. It will go from HOLD to PAID once it’s been reviewed. We do not have a time frame for when it will change.

What should I do if…

…my wages are wrong?

If your determination letter had incorrect wages (too high, gross + net, gross x 2, etc.) print the letter and your initial application (under correspondences, it is the PUA review, edit, confirm). This was a glitch and they are fixing it, but if yours is still affected, you need to fax in the original documentation.

…I have $0 gross wages?

If you have $0 gross wages, you need to call and have IDES manually update this information to redetermine your benefit amount.

…I typed the wrong date for last date worked?

You would have to talk to an agent who can edit your claim with the correct last date worked.

…I go back to work? Can I still claim PUA?

If your income is under the amount you can earn for PUA, then yes. When in doubt, apply and disclose the income you earned and the PUA system will let you know if you qualified.

…I don’t have a dropbox?

This is a known glitch that has been reported to IDES. If there are documents you need to send, you will need to fax them to IDES. A limited number of people have had luck calling in and getting an agent to make changes to their account that then bring the dropbox up, but the majority of people who call are just told to fax the documentation. Yes, this will be a slow process. No, there’s not a better option that we know of.

…my payment history says PAID, but they haven’t paid me?

Don’t worry; the money is coming. Once your payment history shows paid, it will be approximately 204 business days before the money hits your account. Check your payment date and then add 2-4 business days to that for the day you should actually expect to see money in your account.

…I’m an UBER or LYFT driver

You need to call and speak with a representative to withdraw your claim from PUA and refile under UI. UBER and LYFT drivers were denied regular UI, but that has changed now.

… I put my income in wrong? How do I fix it?

Upload your income documents in the portal. If you do not have a way to upload files, you should fax your documentation in.

…I received an email from IDES about a data breach that exposed my information?

Read the letter and review your options for credit monitoring for a year. Many people have had fraudulent activity and credit inquiries since all of this. Ohio residents have submitted a class action lawsuit about a similar data breach, and there is rumbling that Illinois PUA applicants may as well so keep that in mind as you compile documentation and explore your options regarding the data breach.

…I’m freaking out because I saw on the news that Illinois is running out of money for unemployment.

Relax; the money for this program is coming from the federal government and has been available since the end of March.

…I forgot to add all my dependents?

You can add your spouse or a dependent. Your spouse cannot claim the same dependent on their claim. You and your spouse cannot claim each other on separate claims. If you forgot to add a dependent, you would have to call IDES to have them add them. If you have 1 or 10 dependents, the amount does not change.

…my account is not set up to direct deposit like it should be?

This is a known glitch, and they don’t know what’s going on. BUT, it looks like if you enter the correct information on the regular Unemployment Insurance page and make sure it confirms by checking that you receive the confirmation email, it will be updated on the PUA site the next morning. Check at each step to verify that this workaround works for you.