Rep. Wilhour Seeks Clear Information to Help Unemployed Workers Due to the COVID-19 Crisis

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) has been requesting more information for people unemployed as a result of Executive Order 10 by the governor limiting only businesses that are deemed “essential” to stay open. Today a call-in update with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) was provided on the programs available to workers who have been laid off as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.

“The predominant calls and emails I receive from constituents have to do with the frustrations and problems of the IDES process,” said Rep. Wilhour.”I have called for additional employees to be hired, trained and reassigned from other state departments, as well as utilizing private sector companies to help meet the needs of our citizens. I am cautiously optimistic that my concerns have been heard and the governor is moving to enact some of those suggestions.”

Under normal circumstances, independent contractors and self-proprietors do not qualify for unemployment benefits because they do not contribute to the fund. Under the federal stimulus CARES Act, though, there is a new category of worker that includes independent contractors who are eligible for benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

People who would not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits are advised to apply for benefits and they will receive a rejection letter because they do not qualify for the standard benefits. That rejection letter will serve as their ‘entry ticket’ into the PUA category that provides up to 39 weeks of federally funded benefits for independent contractors and self-proprietors who have become unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19.

You may learn more about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act programs online at the IDES web site HERE.