PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois State Representative are calling on Governor J.B. Pritzker to hold a special session to press the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
State Representatives said there have been more than 200,000 fraudulent IDES claims, while thousands wait for legitimate help.
“Since the beginning of this crisis back in March, thousands of Illinoisians have lost their jobs either due to the economic slowdown or to the shutdown executive orders,” said Rep. Tom Bennett for the 106th district.
They say the people of Illinois need benefits now and want Governor Pritzker to take responsibility for what they said is a failed system.
“Since March with 212,000 fraudulent claims being filed with ides. That’s a staggering number, yet the govenor really has done nothing to remedy the problem,” said Rep. Terri bryant for the 115th district.
99th district Representative Mike Murphy said they don’t know why fraud is happening.
“We don’t undertand. Is that an it issue, if it’s a staffing issue,” said Rep. Murpy.
At Friday’s COVID-19 press conference, Governor Pritzker responded to WMBD’s questions asking if he’d respond to the representative’s claims. He said the cause is stolen identities.
“Whenever a crook sees an opportunity, they’re going to come forward,” said Gov. Pritzker.
Governor Pritzker said fraud and delays are happening in other states too. He said there are regular hearings on the IDES.
“We’ve been at hearings, we’ve had our ides director at hearings to respond to the general assembly, working groups of the general assembly. There’s a commission as you know that oversee the work in response to the pandemic,” said Gov. Pritzker.
Rep. Bennett is on the Restore Illiois Collaborative Commission. He says the commission is not hitting the mark on the issue.
“The probelm with the comission that we have and I appreciate that where we get a chance to hear things, it’s more of a one way conversation, it’s not a dialogue,” said Rep. Bennett.
Now, the group is asking Gov. Pritzker to hold a special session to figure out what’s causing the problem.
“It’s time for J.B. Pritzker to take responsibility for the fact that his ides has failed at every turn during COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Bryant.
A spokesperson for the IDES said it’s paid out nearly 19-billion dollars in benefits since March. That’s 16 times the amount paid last year in the same period. She said it’s “irresponsible” and “disrespectful” to call the agency’s work a failure.
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