It has now been several months since the federal government has implemented monetary stimulus to try and alleviate the financial effect of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuring economic shut down.
Back in the beginning of May – nearly 6 weeks ago – we highlighted how many gig workers were still waiting for their first round of unemployment benefits. Today, past the mid-point of June, many of those workers are still waiting, according to CBS Chicago.
And we wonder what is helping fuel the riots in the streets over the last few weeks…
The money appears to be on hold due to audits, according to gig workers that spoke to CBS. Meanwhile, the same workers say that it is “money they’re desperate for”.
One worker, Bill Mylan, says the government has had his information “for months” but he still hasn’t received benefits. “We’ve missed out on two to three good months of making money already,” he said. He has had no income since March, which is when he first applied for unemployment.
He eventually reapplied through the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance portal, because he’s considered a gig worker. That portal only just opened last month.
“I’ve been doing little odd jobs for my landlord just to get by; make ends meet. It says on my claim it’s a benefit payment control issue,” he said. When he called to ask about it, he got a recorded message simply saying “We are closed due to unforeseen circumstances.”
When he reached someone at the Illinois Department of Employment Security, they told him the holdup was due to an audit. “I don’t understand why now, the last step, is all of a sudden to do an audit when we’ve been in the system,” he said.
CBS reached out to IDES who told them the Benefit Payment Control division is within their fraud division.
An IDES spokesperson said: “Each claim filed in the PUA system goes through a check based on the responses provided by the claimant. The PUA system will also check with the regular unemployment system to determine if the claimant is eligible for regular unemployment benefits.”
They continued: “Per federal guidelines, a claimant will receive benefits from the regular unemployment system if they have been determined eligible for regular benefits. The Benefit Payment Control (BPC) division is the IDES fraud division. When a case is reported for fraud, the BPC will step in to investigate and make a determination after assessment and investigation. This unit it performing the job duties as required.”