Between September and November, more than 120 individuals applied for benefits
in Illinois when they already were collecting benefits in another state or
applying for benefits. In the past, anti-fraud efforts by the Department of
Employment Security would have uncovered the improper activity after several
weeks of payments. Doing so before any benefits are paid better protects the
trust fund and allows the department to reinvest staff time in additional
efforts to identify waste, fraud and abuse.
"The unemployment insurance
program is a balance between paying workers enough to tide them over until they
find another job, and keeping taxes low so small business owners can invest and
grow. Every time we stop benefits before they are wrongfully paid truly is a
win-win-win for taxpayers, business and labor," said IDES Director Jay Rowell.
In 2012, IDES launched a long-term reorganization plan that emphasizes
returning people to work and workforce development while recognizing smaller
operational budgets from federal officials. The reorganization includes the
department's transition to provide employment services in a face-to-face setting
and unemployment insurance services through telephone call centers and the
Internet. The transition also includes behind-the-scenes working groups to
improve efficiency, productivity and training, which allowed for the new
emphasis that saved more than $1 million in its first three months.
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Unemployment benefits come from a trust fund. Employers pay into the
trust fund based on several factors, including the fund's balance,
the business type and the number of workers the business laid off in
the preceding year. Stopping improper payments increases the fund's
balance, which applies downward pressure on business taxes.
Illinois Department of
file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]