By Senator Bill Brady
It’s a headline that makes you shake your head: “State finds 1,100 Illinois inmates getting unemployment.”
Really? How did this happen? Just what exactly is required for an Illinois resident to receive unemployment benefits? Who is responsible for checking the background of people who file claims for unemployment?
How did 1,100 inmates improperly collect more than $2 million in unemployment benefits?
This is just the latest in a series of “running the government” missteps by the current Administration. Whatever the reason, this serious lapse of oversight has resulted in a misuse of taxpayer dollars. One or two cases of fraud could conceivably slip through a system, but 1,100 inmates being approved to receive unemployment signals a serious systemic problem.
People collecting unemployment benefits have to certify every two weeks they’re eligible. Maybe it’s time for the Illinois Department of Employment Security to reevaluate their procedures and set up guidelines that will discourage this kind of fraud.
It’s good to see the Department of Employment Security has a plan to try and recoup some of the money, but this might be a case of closing the barn door after the livestock gets out. The Department should also prosecute these inmates to the fullest extent of the law, and send a strong message that this type of fraud will not be tolerated.