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Senator KoehlerPEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler will participate in a subject matter hearing of the Senate Labor Committee this week to learn about the status of several unemployment insurance issues plaguing the Illinois Department of Employment Security over the last year. The unprecedented flood of claims during the COVID-19 crisis, when more than 1 million Illinoisans lost their jobs, overwhelmed the department.

“Issues with our unemployment benefits system have plagued the Department of Employment Security since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Koehler said. “It is not the goal of the committee to publicly scold the department or its employees, who have been working around the clock for those in dire need. But at some point we need concrete answers regarding what is being done to fix our broken system. It is my hope that this committee hearing will serve as a progress report on those issues from the department’s representatives.”

The public and lawmakers continue to express concerns about claimants being able to reach and receive assistance from the agency with their unemployment claims, as well as to get their payments. Illinois is also one of many states dealing with a wave of fraudulent claims, and the agency is seeking to implement tougher security measures to ensure benefits are only paid to verified recipients.

Since the pandemic began, Koehler has heard from colleagues and constituents about specific and ongoing issues. This hearing will give members serving on the Labor Committee an opportunity to ask for details from IDES officials.

WHAT: Senate Labor Committee
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: To view virtual committee proceedings, visit https://ilga.gov/senateaudvid.asp and click "Watch Live Virtual Committee Video." The link will become available when proceedings begin. Blue Room Stream, a subscription-based service, will also stream the hearing.
WHO: Senator Dave Koehler, Labor Committee members and representatives of IDES