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Illinois Is 'The Worst' At Rooting Out False Unemployment Claims

Illinois is the nation's worst in reclaiming hundreds of millions of dollars in overpaid unemployment benefits, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.

The state overpaid a lot of unemployment money during the past four years: $714-million. And it only recovered 37% of that money. That’s the worst record in the nation. The national average is 66 percent.

Unemployment overpayments are benefits collected by people who aren’t eligible for them, whether done intentionally or as a result of not understanding the rules once they return to work.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security blames the poor fund recovery on a couple of things it says it already has fixed: First, it was using out-of-date data. Second, it ignored the federal requirement that people filing for unemployment have to register with the state and show they are searching for a job.

The Labor Department says the report isn’t to “shame” Illinois. It’s to offer the state technical help and help speed up processes and efficiency.