Rep. Niemerg Says Priority Must Be to Save Unemployment Trust Fund and Pay Back $4.5 Billion Owed to Feds

$100 Million Interest Payments Will Cost Taxpayers & Businesses

State Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) is leading the fight to convince the Governor to prioritize paying back the $4.5 billion loan still owed to the federal government under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This will save taxpayers and businesses an estimated $100 million in interests payments. The other priority for the state should be to stabilize the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund for those families who depend on that assistance when they lose their jobs.

“Illinois received 8.3 billion dollars through the ARPA program that could have been used to re-pay the Trust Fund, but since the Democrats have already obligated nearly $5 billion of that money, we can only pay $3.3 billion from the ARPA and will still owe $1.2 billion,” explained Rep. Adam Niemerg, a member of the Appropriations-General Services Committee. “If we do not act immediately folks will lose benefits and the cost to businesses will go up with higher unemployment insurance costs. The failure of the Democrats to act is not acceptable. The governor needs to show real leadership and pay back this outstanding obligation.”

State unemployment benefits are financed through state payroll taxes, which are held in individual state trust fund accounts in the U.S. Treasury’s Federal Unemployment Trust Fund. Federal law prohibits the use of these funds for any purpose other than paying unemployment benefits.

Unemployment insurance is a state-operated insurance program designed to partially replace lost wages when people are out of work. Like fire, accident, health and other types of insurance, it is for an emergency when someone is temporarily or permanently out of a job, or if they work less than full time because of lack of work.

The program ensures that, if you meet the eligibility requirements​​ of the law, you will have some income while you are looking for a job, up to a maximum of 26 full weeks in a one-year period, depending on when the claim was​ established. Unemployment insurance, however, cannot and does not protect you against wage losses while you are absent from work due to illness or while you are idle by choice. Link to Unemployment Insurance Benefits Handbook.