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February 9, 2011

Employment Security Offices Closed to Honor President Holidays on Feb. 11 and Feb. 21
Feb. 21 Banking Holiday Might Affect Payments

CHICAGO - The offices of the Illinois Department of Employment Security will be closed on Friday, Feb. 11 and Monday Feb. 21 in observance of state and federal holidays. Feb. 11 is a state holiday honoring President Abraham Lincoln. Feb. 21 is a federal and state holiday honoring George Washington. It also is referred to as Presidents’ Day. Offices will re-open Monday, Feb. 14 and Tuesday, Feb. 22, respectively. Office hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Although IDES and other offices will be closed, all services will be available at www.ides.state.il.us. 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 IDES will process customer certifications on each holiday. Because Monday, Feb. 21 is a federal banking holiday, the availability of some benefits 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. 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 encourages direct deposit because it is simple, smart and secure.

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 different job or switch careers. For businesses, the Department also administers tax credits and bonding programs to reward employers who hire specific workers, including military veterans and the formerly incarcerated.

The Illinois seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month of December is 9.3 percent. It is the most recent number available. Nationally, the same figure is 9.4 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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