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February 10, 2010

Employment Security Offices Closed to Honor President Holidays on Feb. 12 and Feb. 15
Banking holiday might affect payments

CHICAGO - The offices of the Illinois Department of Employment Security will be closed on Friday, Feb 12 and Monday Feb. 15 in observance of state and federal holidays. Feb. 12 is a state holiday honoring President Abraham Lincoln. Feb. 15 is a federal and state holiday honoring George Washington. It also is referred to as Presidents’ Day.

However, all IDES services will be available at the website www.ides.state.il.us. People still will be able to file for first-time unemployment benefits; certify for benefits which is required to receive payment; and switch that method of payment to direct deposit, which the department encourages. IDES offices will re-open Tuesday Feb. 16.

The IDES will process customer certifications on Monday and Friday. Because Monday 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 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. The IDES encourages the use of direct deposit because it is a simple, smart and secure way to receive benefits.

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 11.1 percent. It is the most recent number available. Nationally, the same figure is 10 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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