Illinois’ new unemployment system exposes private info of nearly half of applicants as gig workers seek help

May 21, 2020

Illinois Policy Institute data show how widespread IDES breach was as nearly 73,000 Illinoisans filed unemployment claims last week

PRESS RELEASE from the
ILLINOIS POLICY INSTITUTE

MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Wittel (312) 607-4977

Illinois’ new unemployment system exposes private info of nearly half of applicants as gig workers seek help
Illinois Policy Institute data show how widespread IDES breach was as nearly 73,000 Illinoisans filed unemployment claims last week

CHICAGO (May 21, 2020) – Illinois’ new unemployment claims remained high through the eighth week of the statewide shutdown, as gig workers, independent contractors and freelancers were allowed to start applying. This comes as nearly 32,500 Illinoisans saw their private information, including full name and Social Security number, published on the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) website, according to a Freedom of Information Act request obtained by the Illinois Policy Institute.

U.S. Department of Labor data show 72,816 Illinoisans filed for unemployment in the week ending May 16, bringing the total new jobless claims to 1,095,516 since COVID-19 started impacting Illinois’ economy. Although gig workers, independent contractors and freelancers make up 18% of the state’s workforce, they were only allowed to start filing for unemployment on May 11. According to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 44,000 gig and 1099 workers filed for unemployment benefits on May 11 alone.

More than 1 in 5 Illinoisans have lost their jobs in the past two months.

Orphe Divounguy, chief economist at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement:  

“It’s no surprise to see new unemployment claims hold steady as gig workers and independent contractors were finally allowed to apply after two months of a statewide lockdown. It’s likely many of those workers haven’t successfully processed through the system yet, and sad the system publicly exposed the private information of 45% of those who did when Illinois finally let them claim the federal funds earmarked for them.

“Unfortunately, nearly 1.1 million Illinoisans are out of work and a recovery is nowhere in sight. Illinois was the last to recover from the Great Recession, and just since the economy shut down from COVID-19, the state has already wiped out all the jobs created in Illinois since 2008.”

To read more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Illinois’ economy, visit: illin.is/covidjobless.

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.