CHICAGO – As families continue to recover from obstacles posed by the pandemic, state Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, supported legislation that protects residents from having to pay back overpayments from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) used during the pandemic.
“During the pandemic, many families were scrambling to make ends meet and get food on the table, and some received more than they would have received due to the overload of the system,” said Collins. “As communities are beginning to recover, families should not be forced to undo their own recovery due to circumstances that are out of their control.”
Collins supported House Bill 2643, which passed both the House and the Senate with support from both sides of the aisle. This legislation limits the ability of IDES to require recipients of unemployment benefits to have to pay back funds that were an overpayment from the agency. This legislation also increases protections for individuals receiving benefits by requiring IDES to limit the use of Social Security numbers in correspondence and requiring additional security and privacy measures to cut down on unemployment insurance fraud.
“Illinois residents relied on unemployment insurance payments when it wasn’t safe for them to go into work each day,” Collins said. “Punishing them now for administrative mistakes would derail the progress we have been making to get families back to where they were before the pandemic.”