holmes 020821AURORA – Senator Linda Holmes will lead a subject matter hearing in the Senate Labor Committee this week to learn about the status of several Unemployment Insurance issues plaguing the Illinois Department of Employment Security in the last year. Their handling of an unprecedented flood of claims in the last year, when more than 1 million Illinoisans lost their jobs, overwhelmed the department.

“Our working group on this major issue has been investigating this since shortly after the pandemic began,” Committee Chair Holmes said. “We’ve had input from colleagues and the hundreds of constituents who’ve contacted us about their difficulties getting payments, navigating the website or getting a call back from IDES.”

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 activities, and the agency is seeking to implement tougher security measures to ensure claims are only paid to verified recipients.

“I am looking for an update from agency officials on the status of unemployment claims and the implementation of new unemployment programs,” Holmes said. “Regarding the fraud, I want to hear whether the federal agency is working with states to get the situation under control.”

Holmes and a working group have been investigating the issue since last year, listening to questions from colleagues and constituents about specific and ongoing issues; this hearing will give the senators serving on the Labor Committee an opportunity to ask for details from IDES officials.

This is part one of a two-part series of hearings on Unemployment Insurance issues occurring since the pandemic began.

WHAT:               Senate Labor Committee

WHEN:              Wednesday, February 10 at 10:00 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:                 Chair Holmes, Labor Committee members and representatives of IDES