holmes 021721Aurora, Ill. – Headed by Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), the Senate Labor Committee held a subject matter hearing Wednesday morning regarding unemployment issues stemming from the pandemic, with a focus on input from business and labor representatives.

“The dramatic increases in unemployment and several new federal unemployment programs bogged down the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s offices and website, which kept thousands of Illinoisans from accessing their unemployment payments, adding more economic stress on top of job losses,” Holmes said. “They were understaffed and underfunded to meet this unprecedented demand.” 

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UI work group 092920 1200SPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) joined her colleagues virtually today to hear Gov. JB Pritzker introduce his budget proposal to the General Assembly, and released the following statement in response:

“I believe our key priority must be a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for Illinois families. Other goals would be difficult to achieve unless we can keep people healthy, get people vaccinated, and rebuild a strong economy with good jobs.

“As Chair of the Labor Committee, I’m well aware of how the Illinois Department of Employment Security has been overwhelmed to perform during this crisis. IDES is 100% federally funded, but this budget gives the governor the authority to utilize it.

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holmes 021121Holmes urges taxpayers to be wary, vigilant of ID theft

AURORA – Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), Chair of the Senate Labor Committee, warns taxpayers to be aware of ongoing nationwide unemployment fraud as tax season approaches. Across the country, taxpayers are opening their annual earnings statements and learning they've been the victim of unemployment fraud that has swept the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's bad enough that so many people have lost their jobs during this pandemic. It's just plain evil that there are hackers out there preying on individuals, stealing their identities and filing fraudulent claims, too many of which will go unnoticed until the annual earnings statement arrives for tax time,” Holmes said. “Check your statements, check your credit and if you've been a victim, take action now."

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holmes 020821AURORA – Senator Linda Holmes will lead a subject matter hearing in the Senate Labor Committee this week to learn about the status of several Unemployment Insurance issues plaguing the Illinois Department of Employment Security in the last year. Their handling of an unprecedented flood of claims in the last year, when more than 1 million Illinoisans lost their jobs, overwhelmed the department.

“Our working group on this major issue has been investigating this since shortly after the pandemic began,” Committee Chair Holmes said. “We’ve had input from colleagues and the hundreds of constituents who’ve contacted us about their difficulties getting payments, navigating the website or getting a call back from IDES.”

The public and lawmakers continue to express concerns about claimants being able to reach and receive assistance from the agency with their unemployment claims, as well as to get their payments. Illinois is also one of many states dealing with a wave of fraudulent activities, and the agency is seeking to implement tougher security measures to ensure claims are only paid to verified recipients.

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