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January 13, 2011

Offices Closed to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Customers Should Certify; Services Available on Internet

CHICAGO - The offices of the Illinois Department of Employment Security will be closed on Monday, Jan. 17, in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Offices will re-open Tuesday. Office hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Dr. King was born Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. The civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968. Four days later, legislation was introduced in Congress to make his birthday a national holiday. It was not approved until 1983. Ten years earlier, in 1973, Illinois was among the first states in the Union to honor King with a state holiday. The state observes the holiday on the third Monday of January.

Although IDES and other offices will be closed, all services the Department provides through its internet Web site 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

The IDES will process customer certifications on Monday. However, because Monday is a federal banking holiday, the availability of some benefit payments might be delayed. The IDES does not determine federal banking holidays.

IDES customers can use the Web site to manage their benefits. Specifically, customers are encouraged to use the Web site to enroll in the direct deposit program rather than receive benefit payments on a debit card. Direct Deposit is simple, smart and secure and customers know their bank’s rules. There are no fees associated with a debit card when used inside more than 5,000 Illinois banks that accept Visa. Free transactions also are available at point-of-service counters 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.

The IDES 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. Services for Illinois workers include assistance to identify how current skills might be augmented through training or schooling in an effort to qualify for a job or switch careers. For businesses, the Department administers tax credits and bonding programs to reward employers who hire specific workers, such as military veterans and the formerly incarcerated.

The Illinois seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November, 2010, is 9.6 percent. It is the most recent number available. Nationally, the same figure is 9.8 percent. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for a job regardless if they are eligible for unemployment insurance. A person not collecting unemployment insurance still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they continue to look for work.


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