* As I’ve told you, the governor’s office receives written questions from state legislators and publishes answers every day. This is from the latest Q&A issued last night…
Q: How are we keeping IDES staff in Chicago/Southern Region offices safe since there many angry people hoping to catch them as they going in & out of work?
A: IDES has requested assistance from both the Illinois State Police and local police to ensure the safety of staff located in all our offices throughout the state. For all locations throughout the state, both the Illinois State Police and local police conduct safety checks and are very responsive when called.
* OK, back to the Q&A…
Q: Are IDES employees that process and adjudicate claims allowed to work remotely, especially employees that are single parents, have health issues, and /or are required self-isolating due to possible exposure?
A: IDES has been working with Central Management Services (CMS) and the Department of Informational Technology (IDoT) on obtaining equipment (laptops, cell phones, internet connection etc.) that will allow field office staff to work remotely. At the same time, IDES has been developing procedures and instructions for working remote.
Q: Are all IDES employees that process and adjudicate claims allowed to work OT to ensure IL processes all claims in a timely basis?
A: Overtime has been offered to all employees who receive incoming calls, process claim applications, and perform claim maintenance and adjudication.
Q: How many claims have been filed? Of those, how many cases still have issues that need to be adjudicated? What is the plan to address those issues, especially since the number of cases continues to grow exponentially?
A: The issues that are created when an individual file a claim is ongoing. IDES receive between somewhere between 20,000 to 30,000 cases per day with 10,000 cases that may have an adjudication issue attached to it. Whether it is a valid issue that requires an investigation or an issue that was added in error by the claimant when filing, the claim can’t be determined until someone looks at each case. As it stands now, we can only address the issues in the order in which we receive them, and we have every available staff member addressing these issues.
Q: How many IDES employees are actively working to process claims and adjudicate issues to ensure benefits are released?
A: IDES has approximately 500 staff assigned to process claims and adjudicate cases.
Q: Have other IDES employees been re-assigned to help with the backlog of cases that need to be processed and adjudicated?
A: Other IDES employees that perform call center functions in other areas have been reassigned to work the claimant call center and assist with the claim maintenance process to ensure the release of benefit payments.
Q: How is IDES communicating with claimants to let them know they have to “certify” every two weeks to ensure their benefits are paid out.
A: Claimants are made aware during the claim filing process; claimants receive a UI Finding notice in the mail which has this information; and claimants with an e-mail account are receiving an e-mail notice and those without an email account receive a phone call.
Q: Does a first-time applicant have to certify every two weeks or re-start the process?
A: An individual is not required to “restart the process.” If they fail to certify on the assigned date (either a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday), Thursdays and Fridays are open to anyone that did not certify on their assigned day. If they do not certify on that Thursday or Friday, they have the following week to certify and receive benefits.
Q: How is IDES addressing claimants who did not receive a letter from IDES UI?
A: IDES staff from various areas are reaching out to these claimants on an individual bases via telephone or e-mail.
* And this is from April 8…
Q: When will the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) be allowing contractors, gig workers and the self-employed to apply for unemployment?
A: IDES is actively working to implement the recently enacted federal stimulus package as it relates to unemployment benefits. We understand that many people are eager for information about how this will impact their current and future unemployment benefits, particularly those who have not traditionally been eligible for benefits, including independent contractors and sole- proprietors. However, the stimulus package will take time to implement, and some of the unemployment benefits included do not begin immediately. Therefore, we ask that individuals who believe they qualify for unemployment benefits please wait to call our customer service center until the program has been fully implemented in order to allow our front-line employees to process the large increase in claims for regular unemployment benefits. If you believe you qualify under the new federal programs, you may apply for regular unemployment benefits online; however, you may receive a letter denying your application until IDES has fully implemented the new programs. Further details about these new federal programs, how to apply, and eligibility requirements will be made available as soon as they have been finalized. Information will be accessible at IDES.Illinois.gov once available.