FAQ Index



    • Acceptable reason of separation: No-fault circumstance that leads to the termination of employment, i.e. layoff or discharge.

    • Acquittal: A legal judgment, based on the decision of either a jury or a judge, that an accused is not guilty of the crime for which he or she has been charged and tried.

    • Additional Claim: A claim filed at the beginning of a second or subsequent break in employment within a benefit year.

    • Adjudicator: Someone who presides, judges and arbitrates during a formal dispute. The term adjudicator essentially means a judge, without invoking the legal term.

    • Appeal: The process of agency or judicial review of a finding, determination, or decision.

    • Arraignment: The first appearance before the court by a person charged, at which time he or she is advised of pending charges, the right to counsel, and the right to trial by jury.

    • Arrest Warrant: An order made on behalf of the state, based on a complaint, and signed by a judge authorizing police to arrest a person thought to have committed a crime. A person arrested on a warrant stays in jail until bail is posted or until released by order of the court.

    • ATC: Adult Transitional Center. IDOC facilities which allow inmates to leave for work, education, or other approved purposes.

    • Average Weekly Benefit Amount: Total benefit payments made during a period divided by weeks compensated.


    • Bail: Money or property promised or given to the court as security when a defendant is released before and during his or her trial with the agreement that he or she will return to court when ordered to do so. The court sets the bail amount or value depending on several factors, including seriousness of the charges and the likelihood that the defendant will attempt to flee prior to the required court appearances. Bail is forfeited to the court if the defendant fails to return to court.

    • Benefit Charge (BEN-118 or BEN-118R) Protest: An employer who was determined to be the chargeable employer is mailed a notification identifying the worker, number of weeks collected and the total charge amount at the end of each quarter. If the former worker collected benefits, a taxable or reimbursable employer can contest these charges. A taxable employer has forty-five days to file a written protest. A reimbursable employer has twenty days to file a written protest. Note: the reimbursable employer must pay the billed amount regardless of protest status. If the protest is successful, the reimbursable employer will get relief later. If the protest is denied in whole or in part, the employer may request an administrative hearing.

    • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: The degree of proof needed for a judge or jury to convict an accused person of a crime.

    • Burden of Proof: In the criminal context, the State carries the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offense for which he or she is charged.


    • Certification: The process of answering basic questions online or by telephone to communicate a claimant’s employment status. Certification establishes a claimant’s continued eligibility and is how benefits are paid.

    • Charge: A formal accusation filed by the Prosecutor's office that a specific person has committed a specific crime; also referred to as "pressing charges."

    • Complaint: A preliminary charge made by the state that a person has committed a specific offense.

    • Concurrent Sentences: Running together- concurrent sentences run, or are served, at the same time.

    • Consecutive Sentences: Sentences run one after the other.

    • Continuance: A delay or postponement of a court hearing; the case is said to be "continued" when it has been delayed or postponed. A case can be continued for good cause, such as illness, or witness unavailability, or by agreement of the parties.

    • Conviction: A judgment of the court based either on the decision of a jury or judge that the defendant is guilty of the crime for which he or she was tried.

    • Crime: A violation of the law.


    • Defendant: A person who has been formally charged with committing a specific crime.

    • Defense Attorney: A lawyer who represents the defendant in a legal proceeding.

    • Deposition: Sworn testimony of a witness taken outside of court in the presence of the attorneys for the defense and prosecution. A deposition can be used at trial to impeach or discredit a witness's testimony or can be read to a jury if the witness is unavailable.

    • Determination and Assessment Protest: The Department will issue automated and manual Determinations and Assessments to make certain that the employer is notified of debt within the four year "Statute of Limitations". The employer has twenty days from the date of mailing to file a timely protest and to contest payment of contributions, penalties and interest for the quarters listed on the document. Protests that were timely and denied in whole or in part may be appealed at an administrative hearings.

    • Dismissal: A decision by the judicial officer to end a case for legal or other reasons.

    • Disposition: The final decision which ends a criminal proceeding by judgment of acquittal or dismissal or which sets the sentence if the defendant has previously been convicted.

    • Disqualifying Income: Total amount of wages, retirement, vacation, and/or holiday pay which is deducted from the weekly benefit amount.

    • DVOP: Disabled Veterans Outreach Program


    • Earned Income: Gross amount of wages reported by client or employer.

    • Ex-offender: A person with a criminal record or history. Other terms include formerly incarcerated, ex-felon, or former offender. This term does not reflect a person's criminal record status.

    • Executive Clemency: In Illinois, an extraordinary remedy rarely granted that is an official pardon by the Governor for cases that resulted in a conviction. An Executive clemency petition must be submitted to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

    • Expungement: Expungement is a court filing that erases an arrest and non convictions from a rap sheet. When a record is expunged, the court records are sealed and made available only in very limited circumstances (e.g., sentencing for new convictions). A person whose records are expunged should receive his/her record and mug shots from the State Police. State Police and employers can not see your client's record once it has been expunged. Expungement can not be used for felony convictions.

    • Extended Benefits: During periods of high unemployment, Illinois law provides for additional weeks of Extended Benefits (EB) once a claimant exhausts their initial 26 weeks of benefits (claimants must also exhaust their 13 weeks of PEUC benefits, if eligible). 


    • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): Temporary federal program during Covid-19 pandemic. Provided an additional $600 per week for individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits, PUA, PEUC, or extended benefits, beginning March 29, 2020 and concluding the week ending July 25, 2020.

    • Felony: A serious crime punishable by more than one year in prison.

    • Final Payment (s): The first payment issued to an individual for his/her first compensable week of unemployment in a benefit year.

    • Findings: A statement by an Adjudicator of the amount of wages for insured work paid to a claimant during each quarter in the claimant's base period by each employer ©820 ILCS 405/701ª.

    • Formerly Incarcerated: Often referred to as a person that has spent time in a prison facility.

    • Full-time Work: The number of hours a class of workers would customarily work if the employing unit had all of the work it could handle without working overtime. Except where the contrary is provided by a collective bargaining agreement or company policy, full time work is customarily 40 hours per week. For example, 37.5 hours per week is full time work for Illinois State employees because it is so provided by State personnel policy.


    • Grand Jury: A body of persons, selected and convened upon order of a judge, to inquire into and return indictments for crimes. The grand jury has the power to request that the circuit clerk issue subpoenas to bring people to testify before it.

    • Gross Benefits Paid: the total amount of benefit payments made in a period.


    • Habeas Corpus-federal: Refers to a proceeding wherein a prisoner challenges the lawfulness of his or her imprisonment. An action by way of writ of habeas corpus does not function to determine the prisoner's guilt or innocence. When the proceeding is brought by a state inmate, review extends to the constitutionality of the imprisonment.

    • Hearing: A legal proceeding in which arguments, witnesses, and/or evidence are heard by a judicial officer or administrative body.

    • Hearsay: Testimony of an individual that is not from his or her personal knowledge, but from what the witness has heard another person say.


    • IDES: Illinois Department of Employment Security.

    • IDOC: Illinois Department of Corrections

    • Immigrant: An alien who has been accorded by the United States the privilege of entering the country for permanent residence and of becoming a citizen of the United States under the conditions provided in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    • Implied Consent: A law, when applied to testing for alcohol in the blood, breath or urine (in most states, it includes testing for drugs as well), holds that any licensed driver who operates a vehicle has consented to submit to approved tests to show intoxication.

    • Indictment: Formal charging document presented by the prosecuting attorney to a grant jury. The grand jury may issue an indictment if it believes that the accusation, if proved, would lead to a conviction.

    • Information: Formal charging document issued by a prosecuting attorney (with no grand jury involvement).

    • Infraction: A violation of a statute in which the only punishment authorized is a fine and which is expressly designated as an infraction.

    • Initial Claim: An application for benefits which, meeting all monetary eligibility requirements, commences a claim series.

    • Initial Claim (statistics): A request for determination of insured status (new claim) or a notice filed when a break in job attachment has occurred, (additional claim). Insured status refers to qualifying base period wages with an insured employer and the determination of the individual's weekly benefit amount.

    • Insured Unemployment Rate: The IUR is the total number of insured unemployed divided by the total number of employed covered by unemployment insurance.

    • Insured Employment: Insured work is work performed for an employer who is subject to the law --- one who is required to make payments to the state under the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.

    • Interest /Penalty Waiver Protest: The Director and his/her representatives may waive all or part of interest charges or penalties assigned to an account. If denied, a Director's Order is issued which provides fifteen days from the date of mailing of the Order to protest and request a hearing.

    • Interstate Agent Claim: A claim filed in Illinois (agent state) against another state (liable state). 

    • Interstate Claimant: An individual claiming benefits under the unemployment insurance law of one or more liable states through the facilities of an agent State. Does not include any individual who customarily commutes from a residence in an agent State to work in a liable State. However, if such an individual requests to be considered an interstate claimant, this request shall be granted by Illinois as a liable state.

    • Interstate Liable Claim: A claim filed in another state (agent state) against Illinois (liable state).

    • ITVP: Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program


    • Jail: Local facility where persons in a lawful custody are held; defendants awaiting trial and defendants convicted of minor crimes usually are held in jail, as opposed to prison.

    • Judicial Officer of Judge: An officer of the court who determines causes between parties or renders decisions in a judicial capacity. The judge generally decides questions of law, except in the case where a jury-trial is waived, the court also then functions as a fact-finder.


    • Layoff: Occurs when work is no longer available for the individual for a definite or indefinite period of time, but there is no intention to permanently severe the employer-employee relationship.

    • Liable State: Any State against which an individual files, through another State, a claim for benefits.

    • Local Office: The office of the Agency servicing claimants who live in a specific geographical area.

    • Lost Wages Assistance (LWA): Temporary federal program during Covid-19 pandemic. Provided an additional $300 per week for eligible individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits, PUA, PEUC, or extended benefits, beginning July 26, 2020 and concluding the week ending September 5, 2020.

    • LVER: Local Veterans Employment Representatives


    • Mail Filer: A claimant who, although he may use the Telephone Certification system, is permitted to certify by mail.

    • Maximum Benefit Amount: The maximum amount of benefits payable on this claim. Does not include dependent allowance.

    • Maximum Benefit Amount Balance: That part of the maximum benefit amount that remains to be paid.

    • Misdemeanor: A crime that is less serious than a felony and for which the punishment is usually imprisonment for one year or less, usually in a jail or other local facility, and/or a fine.

    • Monetary Eligibility: A claimant's eligibility for a weekly amount of unemployment insurance and the amount of dependency allowance, if any, based on the amount of qualifying wages paid.


    • Net Benefit: The amount for a claimed week after any appropriate deductions.

    • New Claim: The first claim in an individual's benefit year, which serves as a request for determination of insured status.

    • Nolle Prosequi (Nolle Pros): Voluntary dismissal of criminal charges by the state.

    • Non-monetary Determination: A determination as to whether a individual is disqualified from receiving benefits and waiting period credits for reasons other than those affecting insured status, such as being not able or available for work, voluntary leaving, discharge for misconduct, refusal to work, etc.

    • Non-monetary Eligibility: The claimant has established monetary eligibility and has not been found ineligible or subject to disqualification under the Act from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.


    • Overpayment: Benefits received for which an individual is found to have been ineligible.

    • Overpayment Amount: The sum of the overpayment.

    • Overpayment Balance: Balance of an overpayment remaining to be repaid or recouped.


    Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Temporary federal program during Covid-19 pandemic. Provides an additional 13 additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits for individuals who exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.

    Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Temporary federal program during Covid-19 pandemic. Provides a total of 39 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals not typically eligible for unemployment benefits, including independent contractors and self-proprietors, but have become unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19.

    • Part-time Work: Services not normally required for the customary schedule of full time hours or days prevailing in the establishment in which such services are performed, or services performed by a person who, owing to his personal circumstances or the nature of the work he is qualified to perform, does not customarily work the schedule of full time hours or days prevailing in the establishment in which he is employed ©820 ILCS 404/407ª. Generally, part-time work will be less than 40 hours per week except where company policy or a collective bargaining agreement provides for a lesser number of hours per week as full time work. In such cases, part time work shall be work less than the number of full time hours set by the collective bargaining agreement or company policy.

    • Party: With respect to issues of non-monetary eligibility, the claimant and any employing unit which files a timely and sufficient protest pursuant to Section 2720.130 of the Part. Only a party under Section 702 of the Act may appeal a non-monetary determination or decision of the Agency regarding eligibility for benefits. With respect to findings under Section 701 of the Act, "Party means the claimant and any employer whose base period wages are in question. With respect to the issues of sufficiency and timeliness of a protest pursuant to Section 2720.l30 of this Part, "Party" means only the employing unit which files the protest.

    • Penalty Weeks: Number of payable weeks which a client may have to serve (without payment) if he/she is deemed to have received benefits fraudulently. Claimant must certify for these weeks and otherwise be eligible within I.U.I.A.

    • Personal Identification Number or PIN: A number that enables the claimant to access the Telephone Certification System. Valid use of a PIN serves as the claimant's signature.

    • Protest: The Agency form, "Employer Notice of Possible Ineligibility", or a letter in lieu thereof, which alleges that the claimant is not entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.


    • Quarters: The four calendar year quarters: First - January 1 through March 31, Second - April 1 through June 30, Third - July 1 through September 30, and Fourth - October 1 through December 31.


    • Rap Sheet: A record of arrest and convictions anywhere in Illinois for a person 17 years or older. Rap sheets are maintained by the Illinois Department of State Police, Bureau of Identification. Each time a person is arrested and/or fingerprinted, the police department sends a report of the arrest to the Bureau. A rap sheet contains information only for a certain state, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is notified of all arrests across the country.

    • Rate Protest: Each employer who contributes to the Trust Fund by way of contributions is mailed a notice of their annual rate. The notice is usually mailed in the November of the year PRIOR to the new rate going into effect. Employers have 15 days from the date of mailing of the notice to file a rate protest with the regional revenue office that maintains their account data and which was identified on the rate notice. Protests typically would involve: 1. A classification or NAICS (North American Industrial Classification) Code for non-experience rated employers (for example, the employer alleges that the employers classification should be different) 2. Taxable wage or Benefit Charge Protest for "experience rated" employers. If the employer's timely protest to the rate notice is denied, the employer can file for an administrative hearing.

    • Reception & Classification (R & C): Reception and Classification. IDOC's one week period of testing and processing inmates to determine placement in an appropriate facility.

    • Recoupment: Condition where a client repays monies or has monies deducted from weekly benefit amounts due to overpayment(s).

    • Referee: The hearing officer authorized to conduct hearings on appealed Adjudicator findings, determinations or recoupment decisions and to make decisions on the matters appealed.

    • Refund Denial Protest: Employers whose request for refund of contributions or reimbursable payments is denied in whole or in part may file a protest within twenty days of the date of mailing. If the case is still denied after this review, the case file is prepared and forwarded to an Administrative Hearing.

    • Regular Employing Unit: Is either the employing unit for which an individual expects to continue working and to work full time if business warrants it, or any employing unit for which the individual worked full-time for nine consecutive weeks during the preceding 52 weeks.

    • Reporting Office: Three digit number which designates the IDES local office in which the individual is currently filing his/her claim.

    • Representative: Agency staff person who performs actions related to provisions of services to agency clients.

    • RESP: The Illinois Department of Employment Security's Re-entry Employment Service Program.

    • RESP Liaison: A person who acts as a link to assist communication or cooperation between groups of people

    • Restitution: Payment made by a defendant to the victim as reimbursement for monetary losses incurred as a result of the crime. Restitution may be ordered by the court as part of a sentence.


    • Separation: The situation that exists when an employee has either; voluntarily terminated employment; or been permanently discharged from employment by the employer; or been indefinitely suspended from employment by the employer on grounds other than lack of work at the place of employment.

    • Service Area: A geographical area served by a local office.

    • Services: Not only work actually performed, but the entire employer-employee relationship. Any attachment to an employing unit for which wages are payable constitutes a service for that employing unit.

    • Small Employer: "Small employer" means an employer that has reported wages for less than 20 employees, either full- or part-time, during each of any two of the four calendar quarters preceding the quarter in which the employer is requesting to participate in the LSP.

    • Subpoena: A court order requiring a person to appear in court on a specified day and time to give testimony and may include an order to produce documents or records. Failure to appear constitutes contempt of court.

    • Summons: Court order used to bring a person accused of a minor crime to court.

    • Supplements: Additional benefits paid for a previously paid week-ending date.


    • Telephone Certification System (TSC): A system implemented by the Agency that enables a claimant to certify for benefits or obtain information by touch-tone telephone.

    • Telephone Filer: A claimant who has established a PIN and uses the Telephone Certification System to certify.


    • Veterans: Persons who served at least one day in the active military, naval, or air service, and who were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.


    • Wages For Less Than Full-Time Work: Every form of remuneration for personal services, including salaries, commissions, bonuses, gratuities received from third parties which are reported as wages, and the reasonable money value of all remuneration in any medium other than cash received by an individual for less than full-time work.

    • Waiting Week: Before collection of the regular 26 weeks of unemployment benefits begins, claimants typically experience a waiting week during which they do not receive benefits. On June 5, 2020, the waiting week was waived during the Covid-19 pandemic. This change allows a claimant to receive two weeks of benefits, rather than the usual one week of benefits as their first payment.

    • Week Claimed (Continued Claim): A request for benefit payment or to obtain credit for a waiting week period week, done by the completion and submission of a certification by the individual that she/he was unemployed, was actively seeking work and is requesting benefit payment or waiting week credit for a week of unemployment.

    • Week Compensated: A week in which an individual was found eligible and receives some benefit credit.

    • Weekly Benefit Amount: The amount of money the claimant is entitled to receive per week, less the dependent allowance, if otherwise eligible for benefits.​​​