CHICAGO — New monthly wage reports will help stop individuals from illegally collecting unemployment insurance benefits while working because officials will have the most up-to-date wage information available, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
The new monthly reports also will help prevent fraud in the Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act programs because the up-to-date wage information will more quickly identify those who make too much money to qualify.
IDES Director Jay Rowell said this first-in-the-nation effort shows Illinois takes seriously its responsibility to guarantee access to crucial safety-net programs while at the same time protecting taxpayer money and leveraging technology to serve employers and workers in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
“The best way to fight fraud is to prevent it before it starts. These monthly wage reports help do exactly that,” Rowell said in a press release. “This common-sense approach will help every employer because it will lower payroll taxes which will create the flexibility to invest in hiring new workers and that will grow our economy.”
The new monthly wage reports will augment the quarterly wage and contribution reports. Beginning this quarter, the state’s largest companies will be required to move away from paper and file both reports electronically. Although not yet required, businesses of all sizes are encouraged to use electronic filing.
Monthly and quarterly wage filing will be done using TaxNet, the IDES online tax-filing program. Employers registered on TaxNet can use their existing account. Other employers can register at https://taxnet.ides.state.il.us. TaxNet will accept a comma separated (.csv) plain ASCII text file for the monthly wage report. Technical details, including a file format guide, are available at www.imonthlyreporting.com.
Rowell said the changes are part of the state’s SMART Act which used spending reductions, rate cuts and service restrictions to reform Medicaid and make it more financially secure. The act also included the monthly reporting provision to make more informed eligibility determinations for unemployment insurance, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
The program will save $100 million dollars each year by preventing improper benefit payments before they begin.