Staggering reports continue to mount showing the Illinois Department of Employment Security has been severely struggling for more than two years. The most recent audit conducted by the Illinois Auditor General, and released this week, shows similar findings of past reports which document mismanagement, dysfunction, and widespread fraud.
The two-year audit shows 26 findings of non-compliance, including failure to prepare monthly reconciliations and weaknesses in security over confidential information, among many other concerning findings. It was noted that the massive disorganization regarding unemployment claimants continues to prevent auditors from determining the amount of fraud within the pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) program.
According to the Department, more than 424,887 claimants had received benefits totaling $8.16 billion by June 30, 2021. Auditors were unable to conduct further testing to see whether those claimants were actually entitled to these benefits.
Illinois is one of several states that borrowed from federal taxpayer funds to pay unemployment claims during the pandemic. The state racked up $4.5 billion in debt with interest. After failing to fill the deficit this spring, the state still owes $1.8 billion.