What do you do if you lose your job? As soon as you're laid off, file for unemployment insurance benefits; it's easier than it used to be. The days of being required to stand in long lines at a state office are gone. Most people who qualify for benefits and have computer access can apply online. Weekly payments, in the form of direct deposit or debit cards, usually start arriving within three weeks, said Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
People receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, and, depending on eligibility, benefits could be extended for up to another 20 weeks. The benefit amount depends on factors that include a computation of average wages, whether a spouse is working and whether there are children in the household. Weekly benefit amounts range from $51 to $511.