“It’s been almost a year since May of 2020, everything has been smooth sailing up until recently. I hadn’t had any problems but on April 1, 2021, I received a phone call. The person calling immediately started asking me for sensitive information, like my payment ID and my Social Security number.”

“Like I say, I’ve been on public unemployment assistance for a whole year, everything has been good, but hearing about all the unemployment scamming happening right now, I immediately thought this was a scam. I hung up.”

“Shortly after, I ended up going online and on my PUA account and there are these two issues. One says ‘program eligibility,’ and the second was for ‘fraud.’”

“That struck me as odd because I have done so much documentation that proves my eligibility and identity, I’ve sent in documents as recent as January. How did this possibly happen? Is it a glitch in the system? I don’t know how I could possibly get flagged and have so much documentation proving my eligibility.”

“Since April 1, I’ve called them 20-30 times. I’ve tried to reach out to IDES a number of times using the 1-800 number. Most times when you call, they just put you in a queue.”

“A couple of times, they did end up calling me back but it was useless because they didn’t give me any real information. I really need to speak to somebody in the adjudication department. When I get ahold of one of the IDES agents and ask if they can transfer me to the adjudication department, they end up telling me there’s no way they can do that.”

“Every agent I speak to always gives me these scripted responses, like, ‘Wait so and so amount of days, and then if nothing happens call back.’ I get the same response over and over. I feel like they’ve given me the runaround.”

“People need this, that’s the most disappointing part. Those are bills that people are not able to pay. I just really wish I could find the answers to why this is happening. People have people to feed. They really need this money.”

“And I’m not the only one that’s dealing with these types of issues. I’m on this Facebook group, a PUA Facebook group, and other people on there are talking about experiencing similar issues. It’s a group of about 14,000 people. We are going on to share our experiences, our problems. That group has been more helpful than anybody that I’ve been able to get ahold of from IDES.”

“They need to reopen the offices, you know, stop having people call this 1-800 number that is completely useless. They need to reopen the offices so people can go to the offices, or call the offices directly and get the problem squared away. There’s no reason why the offices should be closed this long into everything. A lot of things have reopened and it could go a long way in helping people with their problems.”

“Luckily, I’ve had a little bit of money saved up to help me get through. But still, I shouldn’t have to be going through this. If I was really living week-to-week off these payments, I would be really messed up right now.”

“I haven’t gotten paid in two weeks. I’m pretty sure I’ll be coming up on my third week without a payment.”

Justin Neal
Certified nursing assistant
Springfield, Illinois