SPRINGFIELD — Checks have been sent out to more than 900 Illinois workers to cover back pay owed since 2011.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the checks were issued to Department of Public Health workers. Mendoza says the department is the first state agency to issue vouchers to her office enabling the money to be paid.

The State Journal-Register reports that state lawmakers included $63 million in Illinois’ current budget to take care of the back wages, which they described as the state’s oldest outstanding bill. Both parties supported including the money.

Former Gov. Pat Quinn said in 2011 that the state couldn’t pay a 2 percent raise to the workers because lawmakers didn’t appropriate enough money.

About 24,000 state workers are owed pay dating back to 2011.