Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program to Help Self-Employed and Others


Waukegan – Starting this Monday, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is designed to provide unemployment benefits to those who would not normally be eligible for benefits and have experienced job loss due to Covid-19. This includes the self-employed, contract workers, gig economy workers and sole proprietors. There will be no penalties for any delays in applying and can be back dated to February 2, 2020.

The PUA application will not require proof of income. Anyone who qualifies for PUA will automatically be entitled to the baseline benefit amount plus the $600/week added benefit from the federal stimulus bill. Applicants can increase their benefits by reporting their previous income. IDES encourages PUA applicants to submit their most recent tax return as evidence of earnings. However, submitting this proof of income is not required.

It is necessary to first submit a regular employment claim through While you will likely be denied for traditional unemployment benefits, being denied is required to become eligible for PUA. Once you have gotten denied for traditional unemployment, you must then apply for PUA. This is done through the PUA portal which launches on May 11.

IDES has brought on another 100 claims agents and increased their call center capacity by an additional 100 agents. The PUA application portal is designed to process 140,000 claims per hour. For more information about this process, please visit the IDES website.

“While my physical office remains closed to help fight the spread of the virus, my staff and I are working remotely and are here for you. We can be reached at 847-599-2800 or via email It’s an honor to serve as your State Representative.”

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