IDES already facing hurdles before Illinois COVID-19 pandemic, BGA says

The Illinois Department of Employment Security, now dealing with a global health crisis, was already facing hurdles before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to the watchdog group the Better Government Association.

Between March and August IDES paid a staggering $14 billion in unemployment benefits to an unprecedented two million people, according to the BGA.

John Chase with the BGA joined ABC 7 Chicago Saturday to talk about their report.

He said prior to the pandemic, Illinois was known for quickly delivering unemployment benefits to residents. But in March the state started to struggle.

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The acting director of the Illinois' unemployment office answers questions about widespread complaints of delayed benefits, agonizing wait times and fraud.

Gov. JB Pritzker blamed staffing levels for the difficulties, but the BGA found there were staffing issues before the coronavirus because of the Rauner Administration's decisions, Chase said.

IDES has made some improvements since March, but problems still exist.

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