It is not Sharon Abels’ fault that she got $9,000 in unemployment checks she wasn’t supposed to receive.
No one seems to dispute this. Not Abels, 65, who was thrilled to hear from the Illinois Department of Employment Security in 2008 that she was eligible for an extension of her benefits and had no reason to question the notice.
Nor does the state employment agency, which has ruled Abels owes the money but hasn’t sued her to recoup the $9,000 or alleged any fraud took place.
Only one problem: The state lacks the authority to forgive Abels’ debt. It’s bound by law to try to collect the money. Read more.