Calls for full audit of state’s unemployment programs
Senate Republican Deputy Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris) joined with her fellow Senate Republican lawmakers to call for a complete audit of Governor Pritzker’s management of the state’s unemployment program following the release this week of a financial audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
On July 28, the Auditor General released a financial audit of IDES that detailed the Pritzker Administration’s failures regarding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. While the audit covered only seven weeks of the multi-month program, its findings were stark.
“To say that the findings of this audit weren’t good would be an understatement,” said Sen. Rezin. “Despite the report only covering the first few months of the pandemic, it revealed massive failures by the Pritzker Administration when it came to protecting the identities of Illinoisans.”
Key findings from the report included:
- The Pritzker Administration failed to validate the identities of over 4,500 claimants before paying them $41,697,272.
- The Pritzker Administration paid PUA benefits to 164 claimants who were between the ages of birth and 13 years of age. These children received unemployment payments of more than $1,500,000.
- The Pritzker Administration’s failure to accurately document eligibility resulted in potentially ineligible claimants receiving benefits worth almost $155,000,000.
- The Pritzker Administration paid benefits to dozens of deceased claimants, costing the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- The Pritzker Administration, according to its own records, paid benefits to individuals who have yet to be born.
“The state had been warned,” said Sen. Rezin. “In April 2020, the federal government recommended that Illinois implement additional fraud-prevention tools. That warning fell on deaf ears in the Pritzker Administration, which failed to act.”
“The ongoing issues within the Department of Employment Security is one of the Governor’s greatest mishandlings throughout this pandemic, and this audit makes it clear that it is worse than many originally thought,” Rezin continued. “The Governor has an obligation to the people of Illinois to inform them exactly how much money the state has lost because of his administration’s shortcomings and what they are doing to resolve the problems that they created.”
The audit can be found at: https://www.auditor.illinois.gov/Audit-Reports/Compliance-Agency-List/Emp-Sec/FY20-IDES-Fin-Full.pdf