Unemployment Benefits

Illinois is the nation's worst in reclaiming hundreds of millions of dollars in overpaid unemployment benefits, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.

The state overpaid a lot of unemployment money during the past four years: $714-million. And it only recovered 37% of that money. That’s the worst record in the nation. The national average is 66 percent.

Unemployment overpayments are benefits collected by people who aren’t eligible for them, whether done intentionally or as a result of not understanding the rules once they return to work.

"Attendee lists" by Flickr User Quinn Dombrowski / (CC X 2.0)

The government temporarily sends cash assistance to people who've been laid off and are looking for a job.


But starting next week, they won't receive unemployment insurance unless they've provided the state with a resume. 

Jeff Mays is the Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security. He says it will help to link employers with skilled workers.

"Come July 17, it is a condition -- not for filing you can file a claim -- but it will be a condition for getting a check or money on your debit card. And if you don't do it, you won't," Mays said. 

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois' unemployment insurance program will see some changes next year ... the result of something that's rare in Springfield these days as a budget stalemate persists: hard-fought negotiations giving way to a compromise.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration, labor, and business, all agreed on something: changes to the unemployment insurance program.

The measure awaiting the governor's signature would make it easier for businesses to prove worker misconduct.  That could decrease employer’s costs by exempting them from having to pay benefits.


Illinois applications for unemployment benefits are now available online in Spanish and Polish. The translations follow other changes made to help people whose primary language is not English. The Illinois Department of Employment Security has had requests for more than 60 languages. 

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