Ripples in IL from federal shutdown

Oct 21, 2013

The fallout from the federal shutdown continues in Illinois. More than 500 government employees have to pay back unemployment benefits they collected while on furlough.

Of the tens of thousands of federal employees based in Illinois, and just a few thousand applied for unemployment benefits. Of those, 577 actually collected money. Now the state wants it back.

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the payouts totaled just over $231,000.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Agency Director Jay Rowell says since the federal workers lost their jobs through no fault of their own, that made them eligible for the benefits.

"Some people were left with some tough choices: not having a paycheck, but still having to put food on the table. So they filed for unemployment insurance benefits, which they were entitled to."

Rowell says workers also had no idea how long the shutdown would last -- or whether they'd be paid for the time they were laid off.

He says anyone who doesn't repay the state, however, could eventually have their tax returns garnished.