Illinois Unemployment If You Quit

You can not receive Illinois unemployment benefits if you quit your job.




In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Illinois, you have to have lost your job through no fault of your own. This means that if you quit your job, you can't get unemployment.

Be sure that you can not quit your job because you didn't like it, or it was too hard, or because it didn't pay enough, or because the hours didn't work for your schedule - and still expect to collect unemployment.

If you are in a hostile work environment, or otherwise feel like you have to quit for a very good reason (such a threat to your health or safety), please take the following advice:

(See this forum thread for the whole story: )

The laws and requirements for unemployment eligibility vary from state to state, but most states do not allow you to collect unemployment benefits if you voluntarily quit your job. If a state does allow you to collect unemployment when you've quit your job - the requirement to do so will be VERY difficult to meet.

In most states, if you are fired for cause you may still be eligible to receive benefits - and the requirements in this case won't be as stringent as if you had quit.

It is my understanding that employers generally do not comment extensively on previous employees, or on the reason that they are not longer at their company, for fear of being sued. Most employers will generally verify employment dates and not comment on the reason you are no longer there, or offer any further details.

If your company fires you though, you can be sure they won't be writing you any recommendation letters.

I know how difficult a hostile work environment can be. I've been there. Still, I would suggest that you do not quit your job. If it is a large corporation, you should talk to someone in the Human Resources department about your situation and the hostile work environment. If you get fired and you have a wrongful termination case, it will be more difficult to appeal your case to the employment commission or more difficult to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit - as you will have willfully quit.

Millions of people are out of a job - so it looks like you'll be diving head first into a very difficult job market, no matter if your fired or quit.

Make them fire you.

Go on about performing your job duties, and do not do anything to provoke them to fire you. If they're going to fire you, they'll do it. If they continue the hostile work environment tactics, or increase them - you should contact the employment commission to see if you have any recourse or protections - as there are federal laws against hostile work environments.


Don't sign anything!

Don't sign any releases, forms, waivers, or anything.

If they present you with paperwork that has to be signed in order to receive a severance or your last check -- Don't sign it!

Take it to a lawyer, law school, smart aunt or uncle, or research and ask about the terms in the document online.

If you do end up signing it - remember that it is a legal document, so understand and agree to everything in it before you sign it. Also, remember that the terms are negotiable, because it is essentially a contract. If they want you to agree to their terms, you have the right to either:

a. Not sign it.
b. Negotiate the terms of the agreement.
c. Sign it.

Examples of ways you can negotiate this legal document, which is often referred to as a 'Separation Agreement':

a. Demand that the agreement state that you are being laid-off, not fired.
b. Demand that the company will not challenge your claim to collect unemployment benefits.

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Still Have Questions?

To go back to the Illinois Unemployment FAQ Page, click here: Illinois Unemployment FAQ

To go the main Illinois Unemployment page, click here: Illinois Unemployment

Maybe We Can Help: 

If you can't find the answer to your question, you can fill out the comment form below and I will answer your question ASAP, or you can ask the The Unemployment Expert or you can post your question in the Unemployment Forum


# michael 2011-02-13 17:29
If I quit my job can i draw unemployment after a certain time period if i don't find another job?
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# Zuber 2011-04-16 11:50
here is the short version of the problem. I am a store manager getting accused of discrimination. Yes they are in vestigating. I am fine with that. I am not worried about the out come. How ever the person who is accuseing me of this is 17 and her father came in to talk with me. About an issue that day had no problem answering his question til he started making accusations of an underlying problem and threatening me in the process. I am still her she is still employees here and by the end of next week it is all suppose to be resolved by the 4 of us sitting down and talking it out. This man has threatened me in more than one way and yet I drive to this town to come to work drive home and have to watch my back for who might be standing there. He threatened me in the middle of the day with my employees in my store who says he wont do it while I have customers in here to. I am truly concerned about this. Allegation ain't nothing compared to that.
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# Kara 2011-05-22 23:09
Hello, I live in Illinois and called my former employer to tell them that I would be taking a temporary leave of absence, although I did not tell them why (none of their business?) The reason was because the work involved medical transports on an ambulance and I became pregnant. the bumpy riding along all day made me very ill and I could no longer bear it. besides it does not seem appropriate for a paramedic to be vomiting right alongside a sick patient. needless to say they had to let me go because of this, but i think i technically "quit" because i told them i was taking a leave of absence. i dont know what they will call it. i did not sign anything because i called it in. nobody will hire me. especially now with a big pregnant belly. ive applied everywhere that is not on an ambulance. no lluck. its been 7 months. am i eligible?
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# GottaJob 2011-09-19 14:57
Hello, I have a job offer verbally and via e-mail, and a tentative start date. If I quit my current job, will I be eligible if the new employer rescinds?
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# Rose 2011-10-18 13:44
I quit my jobs because I had nobody to take my daughter to school, & I thought it was best to become a stay at home mom, so I know by quitting I am not eligible for unemployment, if I start a new job and get laid off will I be eligible for unemployment then since I am not quitting I am being laid off?
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# Greg 2011-10-24 10:28
I am currently employed by a company that does contract work for a major cable company. I use my own truck tool cellphone and internet to perform all job duties and I am not compensated for this.

Over the last 12 months I was the only person in my area so I was able to make enough money to pay the expenses along with fed state taxes and unemployment insurance and ssi.

Two months ago during our "peak" season the company hired another person to help. The "peak" season is now over and we are moving into the slow peroid where we receive 1/2 the work we normally get. My wages have went down dramically already with the new person and I know it will get much much worst in the coming months. That along we the costs of fuel/cellphone/internet/and truck maintence. I am going broke already.

With all that said would I be denied for quiting to find a new job since the workload has been reduced and the operating costs will make me go broke if i keep going?
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# Claudie 2011-11-28 15:16
I am the biological aunt and the foster mother of my nephew. I have been the only mother he has known since he was released from the hospital at age 6 months. My baby is now 2 1/2 years old now. He was recently diagnosed with HLH, which is a rare and possible fatal disease. My child will be undergoing a transplant on December 5 which will be very critical for my baby. His doctor is requesting that I take time off work to be with and care for him for up to 100 days. His doctor also wrote a letter informing my employer about the need for me to be off worki? However, I know that my job won't allow me this much time off work. will I be able to receive unemployment benefits?
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# Mary 2012-01-21 10:02
I found a process problem that involved 3 people including myself, delaying billing for approx 6 mos. I fixed the process, billed (still ok, have 1 yr), and gave details to my boss. He wrote me up, stating lack of confidence in performance of my job. Other 2 were not written up. Since 2 co-workers were fired 2 wks prior, & company fights all unemployment claims as protocol, I felt this was a set-up, and quit. Figured I'm not eligible, but thought I should ask.
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# Julie 2012-01-25 12:39
My situation is I had to have back surgery a few months ago because of a genetic issue, where I worked I have to be able to lift a certain amount and be on my feet constantly. My dr won't release me under no restrictions and my job will not make proviisions for me either. I have been released to where I can work at a job just not the job I had. So the question of me working isn't a question. I can work! So if I were to quit my current company will I be able to draw unemployment until I can find a different job?
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# Antonio 2012-02-26 11:45

I have been working at a company now for 2 years and in that time the size of the company has been expanding rather quickly. The workload has increased significantly and has been become very stressfull to keep up. It has been this way for 8 months now and I've started developing anxiety and panic attacks to the point where I was unable to eat due to stomach upset and I have lost quite a bit of weight. I informed my boss of what was going on and requested a two week medical leave so I could try and get better. I am now on anti anxiety medication and will be seeing a physcotherapist to help me cope with my work stress. This is affecting more than just my job but now my personal life and my family. Its hard to look for jobs and go on interviews when Im a nervous wreck half the time. If I quit my job will I be elgible to collect unemployment benefits?
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# Melissa 2012-04-23 10:09
Hello, I am a former employee (teacher) of a very large school district and resigned my position in Jan of this year after the winter break and a week of medical leave. Within a month, I began substituting in my home district and have been working ever since. I have applied to several positions, been on a few interviews and am hopeful that I will be employed full time for the next 2012-2013 school year.The school I left in January was scheduled for closure/takeover in June and we were told that all staff was going to be fired and would have to re-apply with the new organization and had little chance, if any of being re-hired. This was my second year at this particular school but I was in this district for 4 years. The reasons I left were for personal safety issues and medical (physical and emotional distress) which was clearly documented since November of 2011.This was my only choice as I could not perform my duties and was ineligible for FMLA. Since I would have been unemployed this June anyway, could I collect unemployment through the summer break months until I get another full time teaching position in Aug. or Sept? It seems as if this would not violate any conditions because I am working as much as I can until summer break as a sub. Please advise me on this ASAP as my funds are running out.
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# Angela 2012-05-12 21:08
As a non union school employee in Illinois, I have not been asked back for my position of 4 years which was restructured this year and following a "poor" review which I signed. I have been given the option of resigning or being terminated. What are the pros and cons of resigning or being terminated? Thanks for input!
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# Aquisha 2012-07-13 12:47
I was in a car accident on 02/25/12. i was in my jobs parking lot .
I am on a temporary if I can work from my doc. I have restrictions that I am to follow. I went back and am finding that, the things that I am restricted not to do, are the things that I still have to do in order to preform the job. My boss, even after receiving my restrictions told me that she expects me for the 2 hours that I am their working to perform like a teller and do all the things that a teller does. I can still work, but I will have to be a job that doesn't require as much physical work as my teller potion requires. Will I be able to get unemployment benefits until I find a Job with less of a physical demand?
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# Felecia 2012-09-01 03:45
I am a retail assistant manager and I have had issues with my store manager since I came to this location. I was transferred from another location last year in June to this new one. Since I been, here the store manager has had issues with me. The store manager has been trying to create a paper trail on me since I came to the building. The environment that I work in is very hostile work environment. She does not respect me or my ability to do my job, very condescending at times..I have tried to reach out to our District Manager regarding the behavior and trying to resolve the issue before it got out of hand. He sugar coated the first time and just did not respond the second time.I had notes in my cell phone form the text that I had saved of different incidents oh now all of a sudden they have been deleted. There was another incident brought against me today. The store manager tried to get me to resign or how did she put it maybe there is something else I could , because this does not look good. Mind you she had the district LP person in the office with me which was very uncomfortable. Which as she stated she has been trying to help me " by trying to intimidate me. I need to know what my rights are if they decide to terminate me, because I know this is where they are going with this. There is a lot that I have left out, in which I feel that I need to talk to someone Legally it is gone too far and she has forced other people out or gotten them fired and brags on it. pls guide me in the right direction.
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# brenda1 2012-10-13 08:39
I got a promotion at work on Sept 1 to Asst. Manager. I also was getting a pay increase with the position. Now a month and a half later and the pay increase has not been applied to my check. Can I collect unemployment when I quit?
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# Gina 2012-11-19 12:44
I worked a job for 30 plus years. I was laid off. I applied and received unemployment benefits. I found a part-time job with unstable hours, and was many miles away from home. I found another part-time job closer to home, however the hours again were unstable. I found another part-time job, which had stable hours, I tried to work them both, asked the other job to change hours, the other job could never tell me when they could. Meanwhile the more stable job offerred additional hours and I could not work both, I advised the other job and they still could not help, so I left this job to work the additional hours at the stable job. I was denied my unemployment benefits, so now I am not earning enough to cover my expenses, and I have four children, and my spouse is partially disabled..I explained all this to the first employer, but they could not advise when they could change the hours so I could continue to work both..
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# Susan 2012-11-29 20:37
Hi I quit my job in August to go to a better job, better hours, better pay, insurance. The company shut down/went bankrupt and I lost my job last week after 3 1/2 months. Can I get unemployment benefits from my job I quit before this job?

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# Monkey 82 2013-01-06 13:47
I am thinking about quitting my job just can not afford it, I have been at my job for nearly three years after my first year i became the assistant manager, no about 6 months ago i am the general manager, the last 6 months have been crazy I am the manager of a motel in which my owner is asking me to lock all exit entrance doors which is a fire regulation, then I told him i want to reside from the management position, and go back to front desk, in which I can not do, he says he dont want a manager who knows everything working at the front desk , i only make 5o cents more than min wage, I was attacked by a guest on the property and then told that I could not make a police report, because the police being here is bad for business, I do not get paid for any of my overtime, or holiday pay, my job description has changed, he wants me to lay off the Housekeepers, and start cleaning rooms myself on my shifts, I am here on an 8-10 shift and I do not get lunch breaks, the owner calls and talks down on everyone if he dont think something is right, then if i refuse to do something the way he wants because it violates a law, i get accused of stealing something, well if he thinks im stealing why I am I still working here, and why does he call on all my days off and want me to come in.... what am i suppose to do ...
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# Daniel5819 2013-01-31 15:43
can you collect unemployment if your employers moves your job a great distance from your home (50 mile or more)?
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# union girl 2013-04-18 09:14
My union job recently made the position I've held at the store for 3 yrs a non union position. I've been witb the company for 14 yrs and now they say they can't pay thia non union person to do my job and me so they want to send me to another location within 25 miles and put me under a different job classification. I am nit able to do that due to working a pt job that I need. I work a pt job to supplement my income because of my low wages. Do I have to move locations? They gave my job away.
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# Nikki 2013-05-09 09:37
I am currently 7 months pregnant and work in a hostile environment where I am cussed at by my boss and harassed by several management people. They were also training someone to take my spot because they offered her my job two weeks ago and she told everyone at the job so they had to wait to fire me. Now they are harassing me on a daily basis , I have witnesses and wrote up documents of what people have heard and seen. I can not be pregnant and work in an environment like that if I quit and can supply the paperwork needed to get unemployment will I have a good chance of getting it? Thanks for your help.
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# Melissa C. 2013-05-10 09:15
On 2 separate occasions from 2 different people I was told that they wanted to move me to a higher position in the company. In fact on April 17th when I had my review with my immediate supervisor he again told me they were planning on moving me to the higher position after an employee was back from her second leave of absence. Well, they now have rescinded and are letting the girl who has been on 2 leave of absence's have the position. I have seniority, I know more about the company and I am more qualified but because she doesn't want to do my current job, they are allowing her the opportunity to take on the position. Is this considered discrimination? Harassment? How can they promise something and then take it back? One of the gentleman has also promised bonuses in the past, told the whole company that we were getting our raises at the beginning of March and we didn't get them until April 17th. I will not quit my job until I find another one but wanted to know if this is even legal. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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# Stephanie 2013-08-27 16:55
My job overworks me n doesnt pay me for it. I have my job title. I am also being placed in two other programs and now they want me to answer the phones and door for the whole agency. They are working me to death n it is against everything i stand for. How can i get the help i need without quitting? I cant do my work. They are being cheap n wont hire anyone for the job (against the law for a non for profit). They keep extra money from programs n make me pick up the pieces for things they dont want to pay for... N wont give me a raise or a better schedule
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# Shay 2013-10-11 12:42
I have had so much mental distress recently at my current employer that it caused me to have a nervous breakdown. I have been with the company for 7 years but recently management changed tremendously in which made it an extremely hostile environment. I went to the doctor and currently is under their care i was cleared to be off for one month already but my employer denied my disability claim so as of right because I'm so fragile and been in better shape not working there for me to leave due to my health I have anxiety attacks thinking about that place and I just want to feel better it has really taken a toll on my health would I be eligible for unemployment because its no fault of my own for how my health reacted to the stress and I am at the point where I believe finally parting ways with this company would put me in a better place health wise.
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# michelle lynn 2013-10-12 17:01
I quit my job for what I would call a hostile with environment. I took every step that I could think of before quitting including multiple conversations with human resources. I was denied unemployment benefits. My question is,is there a certain amountof time that I can reapply for benefits if I cannot find another job?
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# julie 2017-07-12 13:58
can an employee collect unemployment if they quit over false allegations against an employer with no notice.
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# Ella David 2017-08-09 14:42
My doctor has deemed me disable due to my back and I should not work. Can I apply for unemployment in Illinois for this reason.
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# Ella David 2017-08-09 14:45
My doctor has deemed me disable because of my back. I am also unable to sit or stand for long period of time. Before I retire/quit my job, my question is would I be able to apply for unemployment under these condition and what documentation of proof of this health condition would I need.
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# wilfried lindner 2017-10-19 21:50
My employer cusses and yells at us all day He uses every word you can think of. If you ask a question and get an answer he changes his mind and calls you a stupid f-ing a-hole as if you made the mistake. We get to the shop at 7:00 am we unload the truck and reload with other tools often we stop to get supplies at the hardware store-In other words we are working and driving the company truck-However we often drive 2-hours to the job site-As well as 2-hours back. He does not pay us for the work or the drive time-We often work 12 hours but he will only pay us for 8-hours. No matter how much we work or drive-Never any over time. We have no set hours if he wants to work till 3:30 we do, if he wants to work till 5:00 we do even if we work 12 hours he only pays us for 8. If I quit due to a hostile work site and not being payed for the hours I work-Would I be able to collect until I find a new job.
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