For months, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has declined to disclose how much it has lost to fraudulent claims.
Recently, WGN 9 news discovered that IDES has reported to the United States Department of Labor that it has lost more than $14.8 million to fraudulent claims since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the number was made public, an IDES spokeswoman confirmed that the $14.8 million sum is reflective of fraud committed by people who were allegedly working while receiving benefits, and doesn’t include those associated with identity theft-related unemployment fraud. This would likely mean that the total amount of money that IDES has lost to fraudulent claims is much higher than the nearly $15 million figure.
Sen. Fowler notes that the rampant fraud is just one more reason why IDES should reopen its offices to the public. IDES has been closed for almost 500 days and continues to be criticized for fraud issues, the slow response time, and the backlog of unaddressed claims.