Remaining Illinois unemployment offices reopen by appointment

Remaining Illinois unemployment offices reopen by appointment

More than 18 months after Illinois Department of Employment Security offices closed their doors to Illinoisans, all state job centers have reopened for in-person assistance. Job seekers need an appointment, though.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reopened five Chicago-area unemployment offices for in-person appointments Sept. 20, marking the full reopening of job centers across the state after they were closed for 531 days during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The offices in Burbank, Joliet, North Aurora and Chicago’s Lincoln Square and Woodlawn neighborhoods join the 13 other locations now offering job search help and assistance with unemployment claims to residents on an appointment-only basis.

IDES has reported a record-breaking influx of claims and fraud while attempting to provide unemployment services to residents during the pandemic. Experts estimate the department lost more than $1 billion to imposter fraud following the flood of claims.

The millions of fraudulent attempts to scam IDES were exacerbated by an early flaw in the $22 million state-purchased system that exposed the personal information and Social Security numbers of nearly 32,500 claimants to identity thieves.

Claimants continue to hold out for IDES assistance with 22,350 residents still awaiting a callback from the state unemployment agency as of Sept. 17.

Now that IDES offices have reopened statewide, out-of-work Illinoisans can finally walk into a state job center and get in-person help resolving their fraud and unemployment claims. But they need an appointment, and they make one through a phone system that has left as many as 155,765 people at a time awaiting a callback.

Residents can call the IDES scheduling hotline at 217-558-0401 to set up an in-person appointment or call the claimant service center at 800-244-5631 to resolve their issues over the phone.

To learn more about scheduling an appointment, visit the IDES website.

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