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December 30, 2009

Employment Security Offices Closed New Year’s Day
Banking holiday might affect payments

CHICAGO - The offices of the Illinois Department of Employment Security will be closed on Friday, Jan. 1 2010, in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.

However, all services will be available. People still will be able to file for first-time unemployment benefits, certify for benefits which is necessary to receive payment, and switch that method of payment to direct deposit. The Website is www.ides.state.il.us

Because Friday is a federal banking holiday, the availability of some benefit payments might be delayed. The IDES does not determine federal banking holidays.

The Department encourages direct deposit. Direct deposit is a simple, smart and secure way to receive benefits. Debit cards also are available. There are no fees associated with a debit card when used inside more than 5,000 Illinois banks that accept Visa, or point-of-service counters across the country that accept Visa, such as grocery stores, drug stores and convenience stores. Customers can request cash back after qualifying purchases. Fees likely will be assessed when using out-of-network ATM machines.

Career planning, training and job placement assistance are available at Illinois workNet centers. The services encourage individuals to assess their current skills and identify the training or education needed to augment those skills so they are ready to re-enter the workforce when a national recovery brings job growth to Illinois.

The Department also administers tax credits and bonding programs that reward employers who hire specific workers, such as military veterans and the formerly incarcerated. The Department hosts free workshops to help employers better understand how unemployment insurance claims are evaluated, what is required of a successful challenge, and other services to help businesses evaluate current and future growth potential.

The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate for November is 10 percent. The same November rate for Illinois is 10.9 percent. The unemployment rate is not the same measurement as those collecting unemployment benefits. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment, regardless if they are eligible for unemployment insurance.  Workers collecting unemployment benefits are counted separately.  Therefore, a person who exhausts unemployment insurance benefits or is ineligible for unemployment insurance would still be reflected in the unemployment rate if they are seeking employment.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security supports economic stability by administering unemployment benefits, collecting business contributions to fund those benefits, connecting employers with qualified job seekers, and providing economic information to assist career planning and economic development. It does so through nearly 60 offices across the state, including the Illinois workNet Centers.


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