Governor must ask quickly to get benefits to self-employed “gig” workers

Senator Brian Stewart is calling on Governor J.B. Pritzker to act as quickly as possible to get unemployment benefits to self-employed “gig” workers.

These self-employed workers make up 18 percent of Illinois’ workforce, according to the ADP Research Institute.  Under the recently-signed federal stimulus law, these workers are now eligible for unemployment benefits, and states must modify their websites in order to review these claims.  However, no modification has been made to the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) website; therefore, no claims can be submitted.

“Workers of all types are struggling to pay their bills and provide resources for their basic needs as a result of the economic shutdown ordered by our Governor a month ago,” Senator Stewart said. “Timely access to these benefits is very important, especially for self-employed workers.”

The 45th District Senator 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. Illinois lawmakers, however, have been told Illinois’ IDES website will not be able to accept claims until May 11.

“Other states have got it done, and so should Illinois,” Senator Stewart said. “Another month of these workers having to wait for benefits is not acceptable.”