Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** 10.4 percent of all new unemployment claims were filed in Illinois last week
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*** UPDATED x1 *** 10.4 percent of all new unemployment claims were filed in Illinois last week

Friday, Dec 4, 2020

* AP

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell as the nation celebrated Thanksgiving last week to a still-high 712,000, the latest sign that the U.S. economy and job market remain under stress from the intensified viral outbreak.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department said that initial claims for jobless aid dropped from 787,000 the week before. Before the virus paralyzed the economy in March, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits each week had typically amounted to roughly 225,000. The chronically high pace of applications shows that nearly nine months after the pandemic struck, many employers are still slashing jobs.

“Thanksgiving seasonals likely explain the drop’’ in jobless claims last week, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note. “Expect a rebound next week.’’

* CBS 2

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported 74,131 new unemployment claims were filed across the state last week, the week of Nov. 22. That is up 13 percent from the week before.

About 10 percent of the national total yet again.

* There is clearly something amiss here. The governor has blamed the inordinately high numbers on fraudulent claims. CBS 2 reports that “roughly 297,000 people in Illinois” are “lumped into the IDES’ fraudulent claims pile.”

* Meanwhile

Illinois has lost more than a third of its small businesses since the beginning of the year, according to […]

The data compiled by Harvard and Brown universities and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows as of Nov. 16, 2020, the number of small businesses open decreased by 35.4 percent compared to January of this year.

The national average businesses not open compared to January is 28.9 percent fewer. Washington D.C. had the worst loss at 47.1 percent fewer small businesses. Nebraska and North Carolina had the best showing at 20.5 percent fewer.

Small business revenues have also taken a hit nationwide. The national average is a decrease of 32.1 percent in small business revenue since January. Washington D.C. had the worst loss in the nation at 61.6 percent. Oregon small businesses lost 16.3 percent. Illinois small businesses saw 39.2 percent decline in revenue since January.

[Headline changed to reflect an error on my part. I’ve donated more money to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. This week needs to end before I go broke /s]

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

With identity fraud tied to unemployment claims in Illinois at an all-time high, Illinois State Representatives Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City), Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro), and Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) held a press conference Friday and said Governor Pritzker needs to stop pointing fingers and start proposing solutions.

Since March, more than 212,000 fraudulent claims have been filed with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Most fraudulent activity involves unemployment benefit debit cards with money on them that are being received by Illinoisans who did not file for benefits, or business owners who cannot obtain Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) funds because their identities were stolen and money due to them was channeled to a cyber-hacker.

“Governor Pritzker continues to blame the federal government for his department’s failings, but it’s time for JB Pritzker to take responsibility for the fact that his IDES has failed at every turn during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro). “Rather than continuing to play the blame game, the Governor needs to fix this failed system once and for all and share with the General Assembly his plan to protect the identities of Illinoisans at risk of having their personal information compromised.”

State Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) said Illinoisans who receive no help or no callbacks from IDES are turning to their legislators for assistance, often in a state of desperation. “Helping constituents who are having difficulties applying for benefits and receiving answers from IDES has become the number one issue which I and my district office staff have been spending time on since the outbreak began in March,” said Bennett. “Meanwhile groceries still have to be bought and bills still have to be paid while the applicants wait. The delays and failures at IDES are unacceptable. Government must do better!”

While the Attorney General’s Office recommends that all people use strong account passwords, monitor their credit reports, register for fraud alerts by text or email, and pay close attention to all financial accounts, Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) said that’s not nearly enough, and that state government needs to do more to protect people from fraud. “Telling families who need to put food on the table to monitor their credit reports for potential unemployment fraud is a completely unacceptable abdication of the government’s responsibility to the people,” said Murphy. “Then telling victims who are just trying to stay afloat to repay the government for its failure to protect against fraud adds serious insult to injury. We are long overdue for public hearings, the legislature needs to convene and concrete answers to address the ongoing problems at IDES must be provided.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Saluki 64 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    In the last six weeks, my co-worker and I both have been notified by our HR departments that fraudulent unemployment claims were made in our name.

  2. - bogey golfer - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:10 am:

    A couple of months back I got a notice from IDES indicating I needed to file for unemployment insurance. I retired in May of 2019.

    Just saying.

  3. - Stritz - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    74,000 out of 712,000 is more than 9.4%.

  4. - bob - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:19 am:

    My wife and I retired yet she got a debit card yesterday for unemployment. Tried unsuccessfully to report it.Any advice?

    ps please do not tell me to call the state

  5. - Shane Falco - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    I filed a fraud compliant with IDES on October 12th, and requested a follow-up. Almost two months later and I still have not heard from the agency. When I contacted my state rep, they said it may take up to 4 weeks for a response. Monday marks 8 weeks. It’s like they are not even trying or do not care.

  6. - Proud Papa Bear - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    I’m surprised it’s only 297K.
    I got hit this week, along with several of my coworkers/their families.
    @bob: I think you’re supposed to shred it. Also, consider a freeze and fraud alert on the three reporting agencies.
    I also had a police report filled out, just to document it further.

  7. - Original Rambler - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    I’m another UI fraud victim. I just keep reporting it online to IDES every time I received new correspondence. Apparently the fraudsters somehow got away with about $2k even though I never activated the debit card sent to me.

  8. - KSDinCU - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    Bob, when I got my debit card in July, I called KeyBank right away, and talked to a helpful person who provided some reassurance. The IDES instructions tell you not to call the bank, but I’d think it couldn’t hurt. After a lot of waiting for callback, I did talk to someone at IDES, then received a “determination”–mailed to the same obsolete address as the original debit card–that I was “not eligible.” So I guess it’s resolved, though I feel no great confidence in that.

  9. - Anon2 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    IDES has gone from face palm to face plant. The system is a complete joke and the new director (who entered in a blaze of glory) hasn’t seemed to make any tangible difference.

  10. - Eloise - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    According to IDES, I am unemployed. Odd since I have 2 jobs. I notified the state 2 months ago regarding fraud. They’ve done nothing about it. I’m concerned as to what happens when I need to file fed taxes. I didn’t get that money that was in my name. What to do!?

  11. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    - Anon2 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    You should probably see a doctor and fast if you thought Kristin Richards was going to stop an international fraud ring by herself.

  12. - Back to the Future - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    The comment that hit home with me was that Illinois lost more than a third of Illinois small businesses.
    I also saw a report that Illinois was 7th in the country in deaths over a recent period.
    Of course, no one has a “How to succeed in a Pandemic “ guidebook, but it appears that something is really wrong with Team Pritzker’s approach.
    The recent administration’s failure to do more to protect veterans and the nursing home problems were particularly disappointing.

  13. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    Either we have a terrible labor economy, or we have a massive and pervasive unemployment fraud problem - either away not good for the state or JB

  14. - Stu - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    If you have been a victim if Identity Theft thru IDES or other, here are some instructions to protect yourself:

  15. - Stu - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:14 am:

    And more specific info about IDES:

  16. - Responsa - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:14 am:

    Unless as an Illinoisan you or a person in your orbit has been a victim of this fraud–or you read this blog– it is highly likely you are unaware of the seriousness and pervasiveness of the IDES problems. True, there has been some minor media coverage but for the most part it’s been “isn’t this interesting-be watchful” as opposed to “the IDES house is on fire and there is no water or firetruck in sight to fix it”.

  17. - SSL - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    I don’t question JB’s effort since the pandemic began, but the results have been awful. The worst being the Veterans home, but also the IDES debacle and overall Covid fatalities. Not to mention failure to approve what looked like a no brainer progressive tax. Maybe he isn’t a good talent evaluator. His team is struggling.

  18. - From DaZoo - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    If I understand the mutterings from my significant other, the organization she works for has seen 5% of current employees names show up on an unemployment report over the past month. There definitely has been an uptick in fraud lately.

  19. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    What’s fun about the GOP legislators statements is that they’re placing the burden of legislating on the executive branch and effectively communicating that their presence in the legislature is useless and they have no intention of employing legislative authority to address the issue.

    “Please, Governor Pritzker! Tell us what to do. We are beside ourselves and incapable of governing!”

  20. - Soccermom - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    Soccerdad was listed as unemployed. It gave him quite a turn.

  21. - Tulip96 - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    I work in accounting/HR for my organization and we have had several of our employees who are still working have claims filed in their names. IDES sent out some information to businesses to report fraudulent claims, but we haven’t heard back from them on any that we have reported and trying to call them is a waste of time. Even though most states are seeing increased fraud, Illinois is clearly leading the way. The Governor needs to do something about this and fast.

  22. - cermak_rd - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    As well as the unemployment fraud, and high death level, IL also has a lot of people who are working from home. People working from home are less likely to buy coffee at a coffee shop, fruit at a fruit cart (esp from businesses by their work), business style clothes and shoes etc.

    Work from home is convenient for the employee but it definitely seems to mess with the ecosystem of businesses that have been built up in business districts. It’s why the mayor of London was pleading earlier this year with people to come back to the central office district and why a German economist has suggested a special WFH tax (not during the pandemic, for afterward. He is assuming WFH is here to stay more prevalently than it was and I think the tax is meant to discourage it due to the knock on economic effects)

  23. - Enjoy Illinois - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    ==The governor has blamed the inordinately high numbers on fraudulent claims.==

    In October I received a UI letter followed by a KeyBank card with my address but the name was nobody I’d heard of. Reported it. In November I received another UI letter and KeyBank card, this also to my address but to yet another name I’d never heard of. Then this week I received a UI letter and KeyBank card in MY name. I have never filed for unemployment. There has to be a TON of fraud going on with this.

  24. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    I will say this, when I did get the call back from IDES the person who called was very helpful, friendly, etc. a credit to any customer service organization. Considering what she must be dealing with every day, I was very impressed.

  25. - Enjoy Illinois - Friday, Dec 4, 20 @ 4:28 pm:

    ==What’s fun about the GOP legislators statements==

    You must be dizzy from all that spin. I like the Governor, but it’s time he step in, step up, and do something. “Governor’s own”.

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