coronavirus illinois

IDES Applies for Additional Federal Unemployment Aid; Officials Express ‘Grave Concerns'

NBC 5 News

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has officially submitted its application to the federal government for additional funds for unemployed workers, but expressed “grave concerns” about how the program would work, and whether it would benefit those it’s intended to help.

According to an IDES press release, the department has filed paperwork to apply for the benefits, which would pay eligible unemployed individuals an additional $300 per week due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The program, which was created through an executive order by President Donald Trump, uses funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help boost unemployment checks, according to the IDES press release.

State officials have expressed concerns about the program, saying that administrative barriers could keep unemployed individuals from receiving assistance in a timely manner. The amount of funding available to the program could also mean that benefits would only be paid out for a short period of time, according to officials.

“President Trump’s program will likely cut off the most vulnerable workers, create needless competition among states for these limited FEMA dollars, and sow more confusion among the unemployed,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “I want to caution that those eligible for these dollars will likely encounter frustration and unfairness brought on by the president’s short-sighted and short-lived program.”

Pritzker said that the additional funds would “provide much needed assistance” to unemployed individuals, and that the state would do “everything in its power” to make sure eligible recipients receive funds.

In order to apply for the program, the state had to come up with mechanisms to distribute the monies to unemployed residents, as the federal government’s plan did not come with those types of programs in place. Originally states were going to be required to kick in additional funding to be eligible for the FEMA monies, but that requirement was scrapped after states balked at the idea.

It is not known at this time how long Illinois residents can anticipate receiving the additional funds, or how long it will take for those funds to become available to unemployed residents.

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