Most of those who knowingly cheat Illinois’ unemployment benefits system will pay the state back one way or another.
Lawmakers last year passed legislation to allow the Illinois Department of Employment Security to garnish the federal tax refunds of people who received unemployment benefits despite gainful employment. Departmebt spokesman Greg Rivara says the department tries to reach out to those getting such benefits, and garnishing tax refunds is a last resort.
“Only after they refused twice did we seek to garnish their federal tax returns to recover the dollars that they took wrongfully from the department,” he says.
Rivara says the initiative has so far recovered $20 million, $3.6 million of which was forked over after the department merely threatened to garnish refunds. The goal is to recover $158 million.