GURNEE, Ill. – Residents who filed unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic wouldn’t be responsible for overpayments made to them by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) under a measure backed by state Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee.

“Far fewer residents are unemployed today than when this pandemic began, but IDES is still struggling to keep up with the massive influx of jobless claims it received over the past year,” Mason said. “Since this crisis began, my office has heard from hundreds of individuals who have been at their wit’s end trying to get their unemployment claims processed by IDES. Months after some of these residents finally received their desperately needed unemployment benefits, they received a letter from IDES stating that they must pay back a portion of the funds they were given because IDES had mistakenly overpaid them. By the time IDES sent out notices of overpayment to these individuals, many of them had already spent the additional funds because they understandably assumed that the money was theirs to use.”

Mason is sponsoring House Bill 1204, a measure that would exempt residents from having to pay back unemployment benefits that were given to them in error during the COVID-19 pandemic. The exemption would only apply to individuals who were overpaid due to no fault of their own for unemployment claims they filed after March 7, 2020 but before the second to last week of the governor’s final coronavirus disaster proclamation.

“People who lost their jobs during this pandemic have already been through too much hardship. We shouldn’t make things worse by holding them responsible for an error that IDES is at fault for,” Mason said. “This legislation would prevent some of our most vulnerable residents from being held liable for a mistake they didn’t make, and I’m proud to be fighting for its passage.”

Rep. Joyce MasonRep. Joyce Mason

61st District

Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website

Springfield Office:
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8151
District Office:
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 485-9986