Agency Updates

Last updated on July 23, 2020

Fraud Penetrating All State Unemployment Systems (IDES)

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has uncovered and is investigating a widespread fraud scheme that is being conducted nationwide, impacting each state’s federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs, implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. PUA provides 100% federally funded unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of individuals who were not traditionally covered by a state’s regular unemployment insurance program, including self-employed and sole proprietors. Under this program, 39 weeks’ worth of benefits are available to PUA claimants whose claims can be backdated as earlier as February 2, 2020, with benefits ending December 26, 2020. 

An individual who has not filed an unemployment claim but has received a debit card or an unemployment insurance (UI) finding letter in the mail has most likely been the target of fraud. An individual’s personal identifying information is being used by fraudsters to file an unemployment claim is likely due to a prior cyber hack or data breach, such as the Equifax breach. It is imperative that individuals take the following steps if they have not filed an unemployment claim and have erroneously received an unemployment debit card or UI finding letter in the mail:

  •  Immediately call IDES at (800) 814.0513 and when prompted:
  • Select the English or Spanish language option
  • Select option 1 for claimants
  • Select option 5 to report identity theft
  •  Do not activate the debit card that was mailed to you.
  • Have your credit report checked for possible suspicious activity and post a fraud alert.
  • Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.

For more information, please see the full IDES News Release (7/22/2020)

IEPA to Offer Expanded Hours at Centralized Vehicle Emissions Testing Sites

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has extended hours from July 6 through August 31 at centralized vehicle emissions testing locations on Saturdays, Mondays, and Tuesdays to accommodate motorists that did not have their vehicles tested during the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing hours for Wednesday through Friday will remain the same. For additional information, please visit the Illinois Air Team website or call their hotline at (844) 258-9071. Expanded hours at these facilities: 

  • Monday and Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. 
  • Saturday: 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday to Friday: (same hours) 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Registration ExpirationTest Month
May 2020 or earlierJuly 2020
June 2020August 2020
July 2020August 2020
August 2020September 2020

U.S. Census Makes Adjustments to the Self-Response Schedule 

The U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted the self-response phase including online, phone, and mailed self-responses throughout the data collection process from March 12 through July 31 to March 12 through October 31.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Pushes Back Real ID Deadline

U.S. Department of Homeland Security pushes back REAL ID deadline one year to October 1, 2021. Current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until October 1, 2021. On March 26, 2020, the Illinois Secretary of State issued a press release regarding updates on the REAL ID. For additional information, please see the Homeland Security Real ID page or Illinois Secretary of State REAL ID page

U.S. Department of State Passport Updates

On March 31, 2020, the Department of State issued a Global Health Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel advising all U.S. Citizens to avoid travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. On July 1, 2020 the U.S. Department of State issued an update on passport operations. To view the update and additional information on passport operations, please see the U.S. Department of State’s main U.S. Passport page. Passports may be able to be renewed by mail if you can answer "yes" to all five statements provided in this infographic (PDF) from the U.S. Department of State.