Illinois extends unemployment benefits another 20 weeks

The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday it has extended jobless benefits another 20 weeks as the state’s unemployment numbers continue to soar because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Employment Security Department announced the extension was available starting Thursday to people who have received 26 weeks of benefits. The agency said Illinois is among 19 states providing 20 weeks of extended benefits.

According to the state’s latest figures, 25,000 people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time in the week ending Aug. 1. That is down from the more than 33,000 who filed the week before.

Last week, millions of Americans lost the extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are struggling to work out an agreement that would restore some federal jobless aid. Even if they do reach a deal, the amount is likely to be less than $600.