CHICAGO (CBS) — A large number of people in Illinois are coming up on the end of their unemployment benefits.
One of those people is a Chicago woman who reached out to us after she said she got some bad information about her claim. Illinois Department of Employment Security representatives tried to blame it all on a possible scammer – but as CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported Thursday night, a scammer it was not.READ MORE: Electrical Fire At O'Hare International Airport Closes Pedestrian Tunnel
It was, in fact, a case of bad information from within IDES.
Molina dug into the blame game, and how it could affect others in the same position.
Charity Parker said she learned she got bad information from the IDES after we reached out to the state with her concerns and her information.
“He told me, ‘Oh, Congress isn’t giving the unemployment anymore because you’re getting the stimulus check,’” Parker said.
That is the information Parker said she got on a call from IDES.
“I knew what the gentleman told me wasn’t accurate,” she said.
The call that prompted her call to us. We followed up with IDES, with questions and Parker’s s contact information.
A spokesperson said stimulus checks have no impact on unemployment claims, and that bad information Parker got over the phone could indicate it was “coming through fraudulent means:”
“Stimulus checks are not disqualifying income for unemployment compensation, which means stimulus income does not need to be reported when certifying for benefits. If a claimant is being told this, that information is inaccurate and can be an indication the information is coming through fraudulent means.
“Given Section 1900, I can’t provide details here. However, no IDES call center reps have been given any information or instruction to relay to claimants the information contained in this call.”READ MORE: Family Escapes House Fire In Brighton Park
But that was not what the IDES rep who followed up with Parker said.
“He informed me that the information that I was given by his representative was false,” she said. “‘Oh, somebody gave you misinformation. They don’t work in the state. They’re just answering calls.’ Why are they answering calls then if they don’t know the information?”
It is information we know a considerable number of people need right now.
In a public meeting on Thursday, an IDES executive said there is a large number of claimants coming up on the end of their benefit year – and they’re going to be confused about what’s next – so IDES is trying to be proactive about getting them information.
“They’re trying to cover their bases,” Parker said.
Parker said she hopes they learn from her situation, where she ended up getting the information she needed the second time around – something IDES didn’t acknowledge with us.
“I don’t know why they won’t take responsibility for the misinformation that I was given,” she said.
We asked IDES how they plan to proactively get information out to claimants, in situations like Parker’s. A spokesperson said they are posting on their website and social media now, but they are still working on the information that will be sent directly to claimants.
CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.MORE NEWS: Protesters Pack Logan Square Over Police Shooting Of Adam Toledo
We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.