IDES Acting Director Kristin Richards Sits Down With CBS 2, Says Unemployment Offices Will Reopen ‘As Soon As It’s Feasible;’ MORE AT 10

CHICAGO (CBS) — Calls disconnected, overpayments, and fraud – for so many who have had to tap into the Illinois unemployment system, it has been one headache after another.

Over the last year, we’ve been Working for Chicago to get you answers and solutions. And on Thursday, the director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security finally agreed to sit down with CBS 2’s Tara Molina.

For the first time, IDES Director Kristin Richards talked about when their offices will reopen – a question we have been receiving from many who have been really hurting.

In Molina’s 30 virtual minutes with Richards on Thursday, this was one of the updates we knew thousands of claimants would want to hear.

Molina: “Why can’t IDES open its offices?”

Richards: “We are going to open our office as soon as it’s feasible to do so. This is going to likely look like a gradual reopening.”

A gradual reopening – this was the first we have heard of any plan to open Illinois unemployment offices for months – with local experts and attorneys calling the continued closures a real problem for those in the worst positions right now.

We’ve asked IDES again and again about their plan. After our first interview with Acting Director Richards, we have an idea.

She didn’t give us an opening day, or a month – just a timeframe. She sid IDES is closely monitoring vaccination rates, with a goal to open up and restore in-person services later this summer.

“We want to ensure we are not creating an unsafe, chaotic environment for claimants who are visiting our office, so we are going to do it gradually and we are likely going to do it in a way that is piloted, so we can test and see what works,” Richards said.

For now, that is all we’ve heard about testing the idea. It is not clear exactly where or when that pilot office reopening would start up.

This, of course, is just one of the issues we’ve brought to IDES this past year. There has been a problem with dropped calls too.

Richards said the department is looking into that and has some new measures in place to tackle that problem. We’ll have more on that, and other issues we have investigated for years now, tonight on CBS 2 at 10 p.m.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago

via Chicago News From CBS Channel 2, WBBM-TV
– CBS Chicago

March 25, 2021 at 06:54PM

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