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Illinois republican lawmakers frustrated with IDES fraud claims

The lawmakers say there have been 200,000 fraudulent claims in the state
Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 10:22 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) - Three republican Illinois state lawmakers gathered Friday to express their frustration with with the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) handling of fraud and unemployment claims this year.

“Here we are today, more than two million claims for unemployment since March, a callback system that fails to respond to Illinoisans in need, and now more than 200,000 fraudulent claims, but administration that is unwilling to acknowledge the damage these fraudulent claims are having,” said Rep. Mike Murphy.

The lawmakers said that the claims have become one of the biggest issues for their staff.

“Over time, this has become the number one issue that I and my district office staff have been spending time on,” said Rep. Tom Bennett.

“My staff now has all of the calls after business hours forwarded to their homes as well because we often get calls from people at five, six, ten, ten o’clock at night because they are just so frustrated,” said Rep. Terry Bryant.

The biggest demands by the Republicans include calling lawmakers to Springfield for a special session and to sort out the IDES’ issues.

“The theme of this press conference today is we need to sit down with them (IDES) and find out what their problems are, what their obstacles are, and try to help them so they can succeed,” Murphy said. “Right now we don’t understand, is that an IT issue, is that a staffing issue?”

Lawmakers also asked for Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to call for a special session.

“All of this points to the ongoing need for legislators to be in Springfield; Governor Pritzker, lead. I know that your staff is listening in on this press conference right now so we’re asking you to lead,” Bryant said.

“We must have public hearings so our constituents can hear from them on steps they (IDES) are taking to improve their performance,” Murphy said.

The Governor is open to the idea of working with the general assembly.

“As to hearings about IDES,” Pritzker said. “We’ve been very transparent, we’ve been at hearings, we’ve had our IDES director at hearings to respond to the general assembly, work with groups in the general assembly.”

“we got to find a way to get this fix, we got to find a way to bring it together,” Bennett said.

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