ROCKFORD, Ill. – With many still recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford, supported legislation that would keep non-fraudulent unemployment overpayments obtained during the COVID-19 pandemic in the pockets of residents rather than forcing recipients to return the money.
“After a year in which many working people were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be wrong to force those who received extra unemployment benefit money to return it due to the error of someone else,” said Vella. “With many in an already precarious financial position, having to pay back these benefits could be the difference between paying the bills or not. We should not be punishing those who need our support by trying to take back funds that they desperately need.”
Vella voted in favor of House Bill 2643, which passed the House of Representatives unanimously. The bill allows unemployment benefit recipients who received more than what they were owed to keep what they received by submitting a waiver to the Illinois Department of Employment Securities (IDES). To keep the additional benefits, the recipients must have received the overpay between March 8, 2020 and the last day of the COVID-19 disaster period through no fault of their own.
After entering the General Assembly in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vella has made it a priority to provide relief to those hit hardest. He voted in favor of legislation expanding rent relief to tenants who are behind on rent payments during the pandemic. He also worked to provide financial support to small businesses by circumventing the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, effectively cutting their taxes.
“Over this past year, many residents and businesses have had to face enormous financial burdens that many are still reeling from,” said Vella. “As we work to recover from this pandemic, it is important that we are providing resources to residents to ensure everyone is able to get back on their feet.”