Illinois doesn’t have enough money to pay unemployment benefits

(Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

 Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state’s unemployment fund doesn’t have enough money to cover the surge in unemployment benefit claims spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the governor said he was counting on another loan from the federal government to pay those claims.

“The answer is ‘no,’ but fortunately, the federal government in the latest stimulus package provided a significant amount of funding for unemployment,” Pritzker said when asked if the state’s unemployment fund would remain solvent. “We are also allowed in a state to dip below the reserves that exist if we need to borrow from the federal government.”

Pritzker praised the federal government on that score.

“The federal government has done a great job of providing funding,” he said. “I believe we’re going to need more.”

The governor said more federal dollars would be needed, not just for the state’s unemployment fund, but other budgets.

“I think I said this at a press conference when [U.S.] Sen. [Dick] Durbin was here – we’re going to have to see another relief package because not only is there an unemployment problem – which hopefully it will only be four months or so long – but there’s also a challenge to all of our city budgets and state budgets and it goes beyond what was provided in the federal stimulus that was passed just recently,” Pritzker said. “We have to address these things. I know that Sen. Durbin and Sen. Duckworth and the entire congressional delegation is concerned to make sure we’re able to meet our obligations in the state and in the cities. So I know we’ll get more help from them, I’m hopeful the United States Senate, the United States House and the President will come to an agreement as they finally did on this latest relief package.”

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