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Glenview Man Now Getting Unemployment Benefits After Taking IDES To Court, But What About Others In His Position?

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With the Illinois Department of Employment Security failing to address issues with unemployment claims properly, a Glenview man had to take them to court to get his benefits.

It's a case we first brought to Gov. JB Pritzker months ago - something that the Glenview man, John R. White, said made all the difference.

On Thursday, CBS 2's Tara Molina asked the state about the length White had to go to get a fix, and what that says to others stuck waiting.

The efforts White took on worked for him, eventually - but he acknowledges not everyone who needs their unemployment benefits has the time and resources to file a lawsuit to get them.

With the help of Illinois' Assistant Attorney General, John White resolved the dispute he had with IDES - and now he's receiving unemployment benefits.

"They resolved the problem and I was able to certify, and I got what I was owed," White said.

But it didn't happen overnight. White told us back in September he filed a lawsuit in small claims court because he felt he was forced to. He was dealing with a glitch in the Pandemic Unemployment System and he wasn't getting benefits, and he claimed he couldn't get IDES to help him without naming them in a lawsuit.

We asked Gov. JB Pritzker about that back when we first talked to White.

"I don't know about that particular lawsuit and really can't comment on pending legal matters," Pritzker said at the time.

But White got a call from IDES hours later.

"I wouldn't have gotten any money if you hadn't said anything to the governor," White said.

He has called the case his way of standing up for all of the others dealing with issues.

Unfortunately, he said the fix IDES made to his claim seemed only to help him.

"I knew the way they fixed it didn't help it for anybody else," White said.

Molina asked IDES about that. Did the resolution of this case help any other claimants, with similar issues?

Rebecca Cisco, a spokeswoman for the agency, released the following statement:

"The issue addressed in the lawsuit filed by Mr. White related specifically to him. Because of this, IDES is unable to comment due to the confidentiality provisions contained in 820 ILCS 405/1900.

"Each claim is unique, and issues that may arise from a claim are unique to each claimant. However, every claimant has access to the same appeals rights. The appeals process can, and often does, take time to work through. IDES would encourage any claimant to appeal their claim if they feel they are eligible for benefits but have been determined ineligible, but should understand the need for patience during this process. As IDES has previously stated, because of the many eligibility requirements to collect unemployment benefits contained in state and federal law, not everyone is eligible to receive benefits, and even after an appeals process to review their situation and how the laws apply to specific claims, some claimants still could not meet the requirements and will not be eligible for benefits."

So it's unclear if the glitch that affected John affected any of 2.7 million others statewide who have filed for unemployment since March, or if IDES made any effort to extend their resolution with White to others.

What we do know?

We know that while IDES referred to this issue as isolated, their inability to address problems reported in a timely matter, like White's, is not.

"The system that they have in place to solve problems is broken," White said. "Period."

Also From CBS Chicago:

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We'll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

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