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Congress needs to fix this and IDES needs to get its act together

Wednesday, Dec 9, 2020

* WREX TV

PUA or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, is a federal program approved in the Cares Act that allows states to provide relief to workers who don’t meet unemployment qualification. [Hairstylist Brittany Welch] says she understood hairstylists like her should get roughly $198 a week through the program. Her payments were nearly double that. Welch says she tried to reach out to the state for clarification.

“I have it documented and screenshotted 783 times I was either disconnected or hung up on,” says Welch. […]

Welch says now the state has caught up to the error. She received a letter telling her to pay back $4,883. She says that’s roughly all the funds she was given.

“So they’re asking me to pay back something. I don’t have an overpayment at all, that’s all I got,” says Welch.

What a freaking mess.

But, the problem is, the state is mandated by federal law to collect any over-payments. The rules set up allowed claimants to declare what they earned, but then the state must follow up and verify. If there’s a difference, the state is responsible for clawing that money back. Some folks may have lied, but some folks may have just filled out the form wrong during a very trying time. In some cases, like perhaps the one above, the state made the error.

Big business gets away with stuff like this all the time. Small business owners who made an honest mistake ought to get a break, but that’s up to Congress. The state has no choice here.

* Follow up

Democratic Senator Steve Stadelman says these types of PUA issues are plaguing every state, which is why Congress must act.

“The federal law requires state’s to recoup that money, the only way that changes is if congress passes a new law or rules.” […]

Republican Representative Andrew Chesney says his side of the aisle has repeatedly called on speaker Mike Madigan to reconvene so lawmakers can push for solutions on these issues.

“Of course that hasn’t happened and we haven’t been in Springfield more than 25 days in a year which is unacceptable. The first people to be at work should be the General Assembly and we should be the last.”

They could reconvene today and it wouldn’t make any difference. This is a federal issue.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    Really feel very sorry for this lady and other people like her that have suffered real harm because of Team Pritzker’s incompetence.


  2. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    IDES administration is federally funded. Would help for the feds to send all states more money for call centers, administrative judges, etc. Back in September or October, California was so behind they just shut down new claims for two weeks to catchup.


  3. - SSL - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    I’m from the government and I’m here to help.


  4. - Eloise - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    Someone fraudulently used my name to get unemployment money via IDES. Despite letting IDES know about it immediately, IDES kept paying out for over 2 months. Now, I received a letter that they acknowledge the fraud and a separate letter saying I have to pay all the money back that I never received! UGH!!!


  5. - Responsa - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 2:38 pm:

    Among many who are scared and have been out of work this may permanently affect trust in government. Politicians always seem to want to be in office and solemnly promise to “fight for you”. But this IDES mess is what many in the populace are facing and experiencing right now instead of help.


  6. - Shane Falco - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    I’m at 8 weeks now without IDES following up on a fraud complaint. Everyone should freeze their credit now as an extra layer of protection and consider an insurance rider for identity theft.

    Gov. Hogan (MD): he State of Maryland today announced that it has uncovered an unemployment insurance fraud scheme targeting high-ranking state government officials, including Governor Larry Hogan, Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson, and several other members of the governor’s cabinet.


  7. - Huh? - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    The fear that IDES would attempt to claw back unemployment benefits is what drove me to proactively call, send emails, and letters stating the claim filed in my name was fraudulent. Have kept copies of everything, police report, IDES correspondence, emails, screen shots.

    I feel sorry for the lady being hurt by a mistake by IDES.

    What a mess.


  8. - Doomed in Illinois - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 6:01 pm:

    I’m a retired IDOT employee and I had a fraudulent claim filed. I’ve learned that hundreds of IDOT employees have had phony claims filed. Apparently our personal information isn’t protected. I can’t believe that one state agency can’t quickly verify the legitimacy of another. Has IDOT even laid anyone off?


  9. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 9:35 pm:

    Talked to two people in the past two days that had people claim unemployment on their behalf. Why is Pritzker silent on this? IDES is a mess.


  10. - Notorious RBG - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 10:22 pm:

    I’ve heard of a lot of state employees in multiple agencies with similar stories lately. IDES was in a bad way before the pandemic, and this has just completely overwhelmed them. They simply don’t have the bandwith to fix this right now…


  11. - Simply anon - Wednesday, Dec 9, 20 @ 10:56 pm:

    Its also time to retire the “its plaguing every state,” because it appears to be significantly focused on Illinois. If every state had proportional fraud, Illinois would not be 10% of unemployment claims.


  12. - Nope18 - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 9:09 am:

    Many of the same people complaining are the same ones that supported refunding these agencies. There isn’t an unemployment office within 80 miles of my house. The work force was cut by 2/3, people that had worked there for decades were laid off and young people trying to get student loan forgiveness for public service were hired at near poverty level wages in their place. This was all a choice and the narrative has always been that state workers make too much and aren’t necessary. Then this happens and the same people complaining want MORE heads to roll. You can’t have it both ways people. A gal I know has worked for the state for 34 years. She is the highest level there is in her department. She makes $68k…after 34 years. Yet all I hear about is how we pay them too much. We could consider that when the budget cut decisions have to made. But the answer will still be to cut state workers, then complain that it’s not efficient. Rinse, repeat, year after year. It’s an insult that the same people we count on in the hardest times are the ones we call lazy and invalidate.the only way to keep people for the long haul is to offer incentives when they earn it. The only way to keep things running smoothly is to have people that know what they are doing helping those that don’t. There simple aren’t enough people.


  13. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Dec 10, 20 @ 9:24 am:

    @SimplyAnon - Exactly. And we always here the same excuses - “we need more people” “we need more money.” Other states do not have these issues and their equivalent spending on unemployment administration is less than Illinois. Sorry for the rant, but just found out my dad had someone file unemployment under his name and now is stressed about it. And my sister had IDES coming back to her in September to repay half of the unemployment she received and she couldn’t get anyone on the phone for months.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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