By Tara Molina
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CHICAGO (WBBM) — The state security system meant to stop fraudsters stealing unemployment money is keeping people who really need it out.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported Thursday, tens of thousands of people are waiting for help, according to our latest public records request. And that’s an expectation that people like Brandon Harold can’t afford.
“I was lucky enough to be able to work during the pandemic, and now when I got laid off in the winter… I was pretty much in tears wondering how I was going to pay my bills,” he said. he declares. “It’s going to be a month or two before I can get back to a zero balance.”
He spoke to us masked in a public library.
“A month without money – you’re stuck,” Harold said.
Harold said problems with the state system and long waits for help left him stuck for too long.
“I don’t have internet at home, because I couldn’t pay the bill because unemployment didn’t bring me money in time,” he said.
In Harold’s case, the problem was ILogin – the security measure put in place by the state to keep scammers out.
“You can’t even get past this part of the website,” he said.
But we keep hearing from people like Harold – legitimate claimants blocked by something designed to block scammers.
“The system would freeze,” Harold said.
He and other claimants are forced to wait for calls for help from the state to move forward. There are thousands waiting.
From public records requests, we know that 23,688 phone numbers were in the state system as of Monday.
The big picture is the chart below – which plots the numbers since June and shows them going up.
A total of 11,765 requesters are waiting for a password or login help on Monday… That’s around 1,000 since Friday, when there were 10,647.
A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Employment Security released the following statement:
“IDES is not aware of any currently reported issues with the ILogin system. Applicants are always encouraged to visit ides.illinois.gov/ilogin or call the Applicant Services Center at (800) 244-5631 to obtain The schedule for receiving IDES benefits has not changed. Claimants can view the IDES Benefits Schedule for more information. IDES continues to proactively manage the call center and respond quickly to callback times fluctuate week-to-week based on changes in incoming volume, but overall wait times have not increased, based on the most recent data. IDES workforce offices remain open for in-person appointments Applicants can visit the IDES website for information or call the helpline at (217) 558- 0401.
“IDES call center agents rotate to meet demand, and some call center agents are trained to solve specific issues, like helping callers with their weekly certification.”
Harold did get help and benefits in the end – but it took weeks to resolve the issues he had to reach until then. He hopes talking makes a difference.
“Put yourself in our shoes – you don’t have any money coming in,” he said. “It’s been almost a month and all your bills are piling up.”
Molina checked with other state departments on Thursday to ask if they were having any issues with ILogin. Jennifer Jessen Schultz, director of communications for the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology, responded with this statement:
“Currently, the agencies using ILogin for public-facing applications are DES and DPH (Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Vaccine Verification Systems, respectively) and there are currently no reports of technical issues. . ILogin was first integrated with the IDES Unemployment Insurance Benefits system in fall 2021 to enhance security through identity verification and multi-factor authentication.
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