State looks to recover $450M in unemployment overpayments

The State of Illinois is trying to figure out how much of the $450 million in unemployment overpayments the state can collect, but officials are also trying to reassure taxpayers the state won’t let it happen again.

Illinois Department of Employment Security spokesman Bob Gough said no one was keeping track of unemployment payments for the last few years of former Gov. Pat Quinn’s term. Gough said the state paid out over $700 million to people who shouldn’t have collected unemployment checks.

“We only claimed about $264 million of the $714 million in overpayments,” Gough said. “We are currently assessing how much of that we can go back and retrieve.”

Gough said there are some cases of true fraud, but he said most overpayments were mistakes on the state’s part or because workers didn’t let anyone know they got a new job.

Gough said the real savings will be going forward.

“We are now requiring employers of 25 workers or more to report payroll with their monthly unemployment insurance tax payments so we can identify new hires and cross-check those with the unemployment benefit list,” Gough said.

The Associated Press said Illinois was the worst state in the nation for recovering unemployment overpayments.

–Illinois News Network

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