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May 26, 2011

IDES Offices Closed May 30 to Observe Memorial Day
Customers Should Certify; Services Available on Internet

CHICAGO - The offices of the Illinois Department of Employment Security will be closed on Monday, May 30, in observance of Memorial Day. All services will be available on the website. Claimants scheduled to certify for benefits on Monday, May 30, should do so. Regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. will resume Tuesday, May 31.

Memorial Day honors those who have died in service to our nation. Grand Army of the Republic Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared the first observance, then called Decoration Day, in 1868 and decorated with flowers the graves of Civil War soldiers. He chose May 30 ostensibly because it was believed flowers would be in bloom nationwide. Many communities claim to have hosted the first observation two years earlier, including Carbondale, which was the home of Gen. Logan, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Memorial Day included other wars and conflicts following the end of World War I. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared a May 5, 1866 ceremony in Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1971, Congress declared it a national holiday and chose the last Monday in May. In 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance Act was signed into law. It encourages all Americans to pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.

Although IDES and other offices will be closed, all services the Department provides through its internet website 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.illinois.gov

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 website to manage their benefits. Specifically, customers are encouraged to use the website 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.

In April, the Illinois seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the 15th consecutive month, dropping -0.1 point to 8.7 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. Since January 2010 when Illinois employment resumed after the national recession, Illinois has added +100,300 new jobs.



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