(The Center Square) – With Illinois entering Phase 5 of the COVID-19 re-opening plan, the Illinois Department of Employment Security remains closed.
The IDES has remained closed since March 2020 and currently has no planned date of opening according to the IDES website.
The prolonged closure has caused some lawmakers to question why. State Rep. Adam Niemerg has called the IDES closure a "failure to the public" that has left citizens searching for answers and reaching out to elected officials for help.
"You have long wait times when it comes to people trying to discuss their issues. I have gotten multiple calls to my office from people claiming to not hear back at all from the IDES" Niemerg said. "I had a constituent call me and if not for calling me, they were going to lose their house due to the lack of help and response from the IDES."
With no set date for re-opening, Illinoisans are left without answers to this problem.
Niemerg discussed a plan to open the doors at IDES and fix the issues the agency has been facing. The plan includes the opening of every IDES building in the state and addressing the problem of fraud and overpayment.
"Immediately, we need to open every single door of every single IDES building in the state and start serving the people,” Niemerg said. “We need to look at the accountability level of fraud, we need to look at the accountability level of the scammers, and we need to use this to look at the failures of the IDES."
A spokesperson for the agency did not return messages seeking comment.
The IDES website says it is “closed until further notice," but citizens can still call 815-740-5100 or access the IDES website for help they may need.