State Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) is urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to act as quickly as possible to get unemployment benefits to independent contractors, self-employed individuals and others who do not normally qualify for unemployment benefits but are being hurt by this shutdown.
Self-employed "gig" workers, according to ADP Research Institute, make up 18 percent of Illinois’ workforce. Under the recently signed federal stimulus law, these gig workers are now eligible for unemployment benefits, and states must modify their websites in order to review these claims. Unfortunately, no modification has been made to the Illinois Department of Employment Security's (IDES) website. Therefore, no claims can be submitted.
"As this health crisis continues, small business owners and self-employed individuals across the state have been forced to close up shop and are struggling daily to provide for themselves and their families," said Sen. Plummer. "President Trump has authorized expanded access to unemployment benefits for these workers during this pandemic, and I would urge Governor Pritzker to take immediate action to provide critical relief to our working families."
Sen. Plummer notes that weeks ago, Illinois constituents were told the IDES website would be improved, and access would be enhanced. However, based on what lawmakers are hearing from their constituents, delays with the site continue, and frustrations continue to mount.
A number of other states like New York and Iowa have already provided guidance for gig workers on their websites, and Michigan began accepting claims online April 13. Unfortunately, Illinois lawmakers have been told Illinois’ IDES website will not be able to accept claims until May 11.