Illinois is reportedly over a year behind on payments to individuals who are owed money by the state through legal claims.
The individuals include those who have suffered injury or monetary damage as a result of the state’s actions and have won their cases against the State of Illinois in the Court of Claims, which serves any citizen with a claim of monetary damages or personal injury against a state agency orstate employee.
Rich Carter, spokesman for the Illinois Comptroller’s Office, said the office has no input on who receives payments or when.
"The Comptroller's Office doesn't make any decisions on who gets paid and who doesn't; it's just a matter of when we get a voucher from an agency, then we make a payment," Carter said.
Once a state agency approves the funding, they send a voucher to the Comptroller’s Office, which the office then pays.
Carter said that because the General Assembly has yet to pass a balanced budget, the office has been unable to pay out any bills on time.
"We have, right now, more than 83,000 unpaid vouchers that are sitting in our system that we don't have the money to pay because we are more than $8 billion in bill backlog," Carter said.
People seeking compensation from the state through the Court of Claims will have to continue to wait for a while for payouts.
“Revenue comes in the form of taxes… comes into the State of Illinois every day. It averages about $100 million a day,” Carter said, “but when you have over $8 billion in unpaid bills, you obviously don’t have enough (money) to pay.”
Currently, the Comptroller’s Office is working on paying vouchers from June. The problem will continue until the Assembly can pass a balanced budget, which will allow the Comptroller’s Office to receive more money and help them be able to make payments quickly and catch up on thebacklog of vouchers.
Carter said the state first makes payments it is required to by law and court order before finally making payments to average citizens.
"In general, everything else that is not required by law to be paid on certain dates or not required by court order to be paid on certain dates comes in at the back of the line," Carter said.
Citizens cannot collect their awards until the Illinois General Assembly approves the payment.
Each year, approximately 8,500 cases are filed against the State of Illinois with the Court of Claims, according to the Illinois Secretary of State's office.