Illinois auditor general breaks down latest IDES audit
Staggering reports continue to mount showing the Illinois Department of Employment Security has been severely struggling for more than two years. The most recent audit conducted by the Illinois Auditor General, and released this week, shows similar findings of past reports which document mismanagement, dysfunction, and widespread fraud.
The two-year audit shows 26 findings of non-compliance, including failure to prepare monthly reconciliations and weaknesses in security over confidential information, among many other concerning findings. It was noted that the massive disorganization regarding unemployment claimants continues to prevent auditors from determining the amount of fraud within the pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) program.
According to the Department, more than 424,887 claimants had received benefits totaling $8.16 billion by June 30, 2021. Auditors were unable to conduct further testing to see whether those claimants were actually entitled to these benefits.
Illinois is one of several states that borrowed from federal taxpayer funds to pay unemployment claims during the pandemic. The state racked up $4.5 billion in debt with interest. After failing to fill the deficit this spring, the state still owes $1.8 billion.
Application period now open for energy bill assistance
Low-income Illinois families can now begin to apply to receive utility bill assistance for natural gas, propane, and electricity through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The application period began September 1.
The amount of support families can receive varies based on the needs of the applicants, but 2021 recipients received an average of $1,330 per household. Annual eligibility levels are determined based on available funding and may not exceed 200 percent of the federal nonfarm poverty level. Additionally, families can also qualify for assistance with water and wastewater bills if their households are disconnected, in threat of disconnection, or if they are more than $50 in arrears on their current bill.
The eligible income thresholds can be found on the Help Illinois Families website. Families can also call the hotline at 1-833-711-0374 if they think they might be eligible for the program.
Official Illinois Bike Maps are now available
The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced new-and-improved Illinois Official Bike Maps this week claiming to be more user friendly.
Maps for each of IDOT’s nine districts include features and designs that offer more information on noteworthy stops and attractions easily accessible by bike, as well as details on attractions such as campgrounds, parks, and other points of interest.
To find a map or for more information, click here.