Problem Solver: With unemployment payments set to stop, confusion starts

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He said the instructions allow individuals to challenge department rulings and to include supporting documents.

"It's not unusual for us to make a decision based on the information we have and then later be presented with information that prompts us to change our decision," Rivara said. "The department has information provided by entities other than the claimant. We use all of that information to make the best possible decision."

Reviewing all available information is important so the department can protect the trust fund and prevent fraud, Rivara said.

In general terms, in order to collect unemployment insurance benefits, an individual must be able to work and available to work, Rivara said.

If a person is in school, the student's schedule also must allow enough time to hold down a job.

"We ask people to be very clear about their school schedule," Rivara said. "They might be asked to show us the school schedule so we can see that they are still available for work."

After the Problem Solver contacted Rivara, an Illinois Department of Employment Security employee called Davis to set up an interview.

Davis said he left the interview Friday convinced his benefits would be reinstated and he would be paid for the four weeks his checks were withheld.

"At least I got an interview. I couldn't even get that before," he said.

He expects to hear the outcome by the end of the week.

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