Two Illinois House Republican legislators are calling for the House State Government Administration Committee to hold an immediate hearing following news of Illinois residents being hung up on, unable to get through by telephone, or having their identity stolen stemming from fraudulent claims for benefits filed in their name with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
State Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore), the lone Republican member of the Agency Operation Subcommittee, said “People across Illinois are having their identity stolen left and right in an avalanche of phony unemployment claims. An estimated 250,000 fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits had been filed in Illinois since the onset of the pandemic. We have a responsibility to act on this matter not only to hold the Administration accountable on behalf of our constituents, but to fix the damn problem that’s been largely ignored thus far.”
“The fraud plaguing the administration’s handling of unemployment claims at IDES is urgent,” said State Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Springfield), the Republican member on the Government Process Subcommittee. “We must have public hearings to get to the root problem and find solutions to not only rein in this problem, but to ensure the families rightfully in need of unemployment benefits has access to them.”
Keicher and Murphy believe Democratic and Republican members of the Illinois House State Government Administration Committee have a responsibility as a co-equal House and a co-equal branch of government to provide oversight, call witnesses, and get to the bottom of exactly why IDES continues to suffer grievous lapses in its ability to process claims in a timely manner, distinguish between valid claims and fraudulent claims, and protect the personal information of Illinois residents.
The representatives assert the committee should be able to schedule an in-person hearing in accordance with appropriate health and safety procedures on fraud within the IDES system now that the Veterans’ Affairs Committee has safely held an in-person hearing on Wednesday regarding the recent COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home. “This is a critical support structure for our residents. I’m crushed that we cannot get the Administration to be more responsive in the face of such overwhelming need,” said Keicher, “I’m hopeful Chairwoman Kifowit will agree our work is urgent.”
A copy of the letter from Rep. Keicher and Rep. Murphy requesting a hearing is below.