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State Worker: State Docking My Pay, Even After I Paid Off Debt

Jennifer Edwards says the state kept docking her paycheck, even after she had paid off all of the money she owed for parking tickets, and has been told the problem might not be fixed for up to two months. (Credit: CBS)

Jennifer Edwards says the state kept docking her paycheck, even after she had paid off all of the money she owed for parking tickets, and has been told the problem might not be fixed for up to two months. (Credit: CBS)

Dana Kozlov Dana Kozlov
Dana Kozlov is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. She...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – The city of Chicago has been going after state employees who owe money for unpaid parking tickets by taking money out of their paychecks, but one such employee said when the city got what it was owed from her, the state kept docking her paycheck.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov went to find out what happened.

Jennifer Edwards’ parking ticket headaches began in February, when her $700 state income tax refund was seized, and her state wages were garnished for $1,200 she owed in old, unpaid Chicago parking tickets.

“I did owe the money, and what could I do but pay it,” she said.

But she said she did pay it, and then some, but the Illinois State Comptroller’s office continued to garnish her wages, even though they acknowledged she had paid off her parking ticket debt.

“They acknowledge I’m paid up, and they’re still taking my wages, and taking a $15 processing fee,” Edwards said.

She said she believes she’s overpaid the state about $500, and has gotten reimbursed about $300.

But she said, even after reimbursing her for part of what she’s overpaid, the state is still garnishing her paycheck for her food service job at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“As of yesterday, I am now currently on a list to be taken off, but they don’t know how to do it. It could be six to eight more weeks till they figure it out,” she said, meaning up to two more months of garnished wages.

The amount taken out of her paycheck varies from one check to the next, sometimes swallowing up to a quarter of the single mother’s paycheck.

“I desperately need this money,” she said, “I’m 25 weeks pregnant. I’m barely working right now. I’m having health issues. I’m maybe working three days a week, if that. So, the money they are taking, it’s more than half of my pay.”

Brad Hahn, a spokesperson for Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, said there was a computer glitch affecting some accounts, but those problems have been solved.

He said his records show Edwards has been fully reimbursed for both her overpayments, and the improper processing fees. Hahn has even offered to review Edwards’ records with her to clear up any confusion.

Edwards said that just doesn’t make any sense.