BURBANK, Ill. (CBS) – The recent extension of unemployment benefits has meant a boom in business at Illinois unemployment offices. The boom is a not a good for the people who need help, CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez explains why.
You can sense what’s ahead by the full parking lot at the Illinois Department of Employment Security in Burbank. There are people everywhere standing, sitting, and some giving up and going home to return another day.
“It’s aggravating because I have a sick baby at home,” said Lauren Figueroa. “I’m here forever, it’s the 6th time in a month.”
“Waiting this long in line, it’s just aggravating,” said a man named Joe. Could he have better spent the time looking for a job? “I probably could have found one by now,” he said.
Back inside, 29-year-old Jason Kwilosz tells us he’s here for the 12th time.
The first line, is to take a number, “Then you get a number and you sit 3-4 hours until 4:15 rolls around and they tell you to go home,” said Kwilosz.
After spotting the CBS 2 camera crew a manager asked them to leave. When asked why the lines are so long, she would only say “Yes, they are. Unemployment is very high.”
“Do they not have enough people? I don’t know,” said a very frustrated Kwilosz, “I watch people walk around and help 2 people in one hour. I see them laughing and talking in cubicles it’s just not right.”
Why the huge lines? A spokesperson for IDES told CBS 2
- The demand for services is unprecedented
- Monday and Tuesday busiest days
What are they doing about the lines?
- Tripled telephone capacity
- Added services available on the internet
- Created special teams to evaluate service
But the people we talked to said their calls went unanswered, and the services they need weren’t available online.
“Five hours today,” that’s how lone James Jilek estimates he’s been in line, “It’s a waste of time. they’re paid to waste your time.”
When the IDES spokesperson was asked why they can’t put the people turned away at the end of the day at the beginning of the line the next day. He says they try to do that, but it’s at the discretion of the local office.
More information online at http://ides.state.il.us/
You can also call the center number at 1-800-244-5731