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Illinois recovers $26.3M in improper jobless benefits

Illinois has impounded $26.3 million in federal tax refunds this year from residents who collected unemployment benefits while working.

“We are not talking about innocent people who made a one-time mistake. They knew they were lying, refused to consider a repayment plan when they were caught, and made enough money at work to earn a tax refund,” said Jay Rowell, director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The department said it has recovered $120.57 million through tax garnishments and repayment plans under the three-year-old program. Individuals who owe money because of fraud are unable to receive unemployment benefits.

In 2012, the first year Illinois garnished federal tax refunds, 922 people entered into repayment plans. This year, 3,495 have agreed to a repayment plan, the department said.