Illinois' House GOP
Only, not really.
Today is August 30, 2021 which, in mathematical terms, is two hundred ninety-one days since I turned forty. I’m acutely aware of that number because at sixty days, I started a clock on my phone. Not because of any grand ambition to mark the year, but because it was on November 12, 2020 that I was fired and filed a claim with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
If I’m in my car, I have WGN, 720-AM on and at home I watch the local news a few times a week. As I filed my claim, I was aware that IDES was under duress. Illinois hit its peak COVID seven day average on November 17, so I got fired right near the center of the apex. However, long before two hundred ninety-one days I suspected troubling inefficiency.
By now, I have a clear overview of IDES and not only is it assuredly inefficient, it’s also structurally unsound, unreasonably complicated, and woefully inadequate. As a lifelong Illinoisan that has paid his Illinois Taxes without complaint for decades, I am flabbergasted that an agency so critical to resident’s welfare and so present in the minds of taxpayers/legislators is left to operate so ineffectively.
I filed on November 12, 2020. On December 19, 2020 I received mail saying my former employer is protesting my claim on two counts. On January 11, 2021 – sixty days after I lost my job – I had a phone call with a gentleman from the appeals department. Despite the purpose of his call, he was unable to explain to me what it is that my former employer is protesting.
His questions stayed very general, and without insight regarding my former employer’s counter-claim, the conversation left me feeling confident that I will at long last be receiving help. On January 21st, a letter came indicating that the adjudicator agreed with my employer on both counts. Fortunately, around this time, I had an appointment with an attorney on a separate matter. I brought everything IDES had sent me to that point.
The attorney said he’s fairly experienced at dealing with IDES, but after looking over the paperwork, was unable to offer any insight as to why I am unable to receive a cash benefit that the media is continually reporting that tens of thousands of Illinoisans are easily signing up for each week. I exercise my only option, and submit my next appeal on january 24 2021. The subsequent hearing took place in mid-February, this time with a Judge and the former employer on a conference call.
At last, now more than ninety days since filing my claim, the hearing judge was able to explain why I have had to spend ninety days drawing down savings, and running up credit cards. Finally, I am able to understand and address the counterclaims. Again, I hung up the phone from that call and felt confident that at long last, I’d be able to take care of overdue invoices.
It is March 23, 2021 when I get a letter from IDES. One counterclaim was found in my favor, the other counterclaim was changed! So, I try calling IDES to find out what’s going on and I get in the callback queue. And this is where the issues begin.
Not only do I have to wait nearly three weeks to get someone on the phone, but the folks who call back do not know anything about my claim. When someone gets a callback from IDES, the person making that call sees a phone number. They don’t know anything at all about the person they’re calling and even after a caller gives a litany of identifying information, the rep cannot do much more than see official paperwork regarding my claim. Those representatives can not answer any specific questions and evidently no one with IDES can explain the judge’s finding.
One afternoon in late April, after filing my final appeal to the Board of Appeals, I got a callback regarding a question I had about the Board of Appeals process. That representative quite confidently told me that, given the circumstances, I ought to cancel my appeal in order to qualify for the Federal Government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
That rep said that the PUA program was set up specifically for individuals in my situation, and that the application process is quick. A week after that, I got a letter from IDES acknowledging my request to cancel my appeal and I applied for the PUA on April 24, 2021. I can’t be upset with anyone in Illinois because PUA claims are evidently not handled by IDES, but I kept certifying every week for the PUA to find out on July 28, 2021 that I am ineligible for the PUA. In order to qualify, I have to ask IDES to appeal my original claim with the state.
Fortunately, I was able to search the web for answers on how to appeal again, and I faxed in a request to appeal my original claim. IDES’ own website says I should get a letter of confirmation within ten days. Today is August 30, 2021 and I have no idea what is going on with my claim.
I spoke to a rep on Wednesday who, ‘escallated,’ my call to someone that called me on Thursday. On Thursday, the individual I spoke with said they needed to escallate me again, On Friday, the woman I spoke with seemed to understand what is going on, and took some time to ask questions of management. After nearly an hour on the phone with this woman, she says her managers are telling her to ecallate me still again. .
I gather that these escalations typically happen instantly, because each of the first three calls ended with “Hold on. I’ll transfer you.”
What nobody at IDES seems to understand – maybe it is only me – whichever numbers they are transferring me to, they don’t ring. Instead, I’m greeted by a voice telling me, “The number you’re trying to reach does not accept calls from your area code. Goodbye.”
I’ve had a 630 area code since my first phone. Taxpayer-funded phone numbers or phone systems that filter out Illinois area codes don’t make a lick of sense. Fortunately, I learned a while back that to keep momentum with IDES, you have to tell every person you get on the phone, “If we get disconnected, please call me back.’
That will keep you in the same tier of support, but here’s the issue; when a rep calls someone on the callback list, their screen shows them a phone number. They don’t know the name of the individual they’re calling, much less why they’re calling the person, until they get you to tell them specific information to unlock information.
For starters, I need financial help because I got fired from a job I happily worked fifty hours each week. Everyone agrees I was fired. No one would dispute that I was a quiet, hardworking, busybody employee.
In the meantime, application after application resume after resume turned into businesses that are telling the world they are hiring results in me answering a lot of unrecognized numbers. I try to think back on the last few neighborhoods I canvassed and wonder who might be calling, if I might be going to work tomorrow. I’m a forty year old man, shamelessly applying for minimum wage jobs.
None is a job. Many are about debt, but of course I am aware of my debts because I am living through financial end-of-days where any money I touch reminds me of the credit card I had to max out while waiting for one of the appeals.
While still working, with an urge to somehow invest and grow money on my own, I began buying domain names. Being unemployed has left me with plenty of time to develop many of them. With what little of the tax return I had left after paying some debts, I bought a few great domains, among which was Original.GOP.
On Friday, after getting disconnected while being transferred at IDES yet again, I realized the only way to fix the many issues within that department need Conservative eyes on it – from the perspective of someone who works hard, doesn’t hesitate to work fifty to eighty hours per week, and who keeps his head down. I consider Keith Wheeler a friend, given some history in the trenches of the Kendall County Republican Party, and I looked him up.
Given Thursday’s acquisition of Original.GOP, I immediately noticed the @ILHouseGOP.org email extension and thought, “They surely – could – use the better domain…”
With fresh knowledge of where to look, I was thrown to see that ILHouse.GOP came up with the little shopping cart icon, indicating that I am three clicks from owning it.
Since I started buying domains, I’ve thought about it sort of like real estate. I can say, “Sixteen Hundred Pennsylvania,” just about anywhere in the world and folks pick up on the White House reference.
I can go anywhere, and do anything on the internet as ILHouse.GOP. That’s a fairly powerful address to have in the portfolio. I quickly thought of some good-hearted, fun things I can do, but my sinister side also thought of some interesting ways to cause a little pandemonium and raise hell.
Both of those outcomes reflect poorly on Illinois’ GOP as a whole. Unless properly executed, in which case there’s an opportunity to shamelessly conspire to generate a heartwarming story about how forward thinking the Illinois GOP is.
ILHouse.GOP – ILHouseGOP.Net – ILHouseGOP.US – ILHouseGOP.Co | All must go!