It’s been a busy week at the local unemployment office, but the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the United States Postal Service believe they’ve gotten checks — better late than never — to most all of those whose money was lost temporarily in the mail.

It’s been a busy week at the local unemployment office, but the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the United States Postal Service believe they’ve gotten checks — better late than never — to most all of those whose money was lost temporarily in the mail.


"Since Monday, we have received 933 calls, double the volume from last week, and seven Peoria, Peoria Heights and Creve Coeur clients have come by our office regarding the delayed checks," said Hope Glasgow, director of the Peoria IDES office, in an e-mail response. "We are doing everything we can to make sure that if a client requests a re-issue, we are able to set up a new benefit payment for the same pay date."


The state agency issued a news release Tuesday that reported Peoria, Peoria Heights and Creve Coeur were among several communities in downstate Illinois that experienced "significant delivery problems" of checks dated July 7. That translates to 278 clients who had new checks written locally because of the delay, according to Alka Nayyar, spokeswoman for IDES. Statewide, a total of 19,590 checks were delayed. Some clients reported checks arrived in the mail after they called IDES.


The state blamed the post office for the delay.


"Just like at home, sometimes stuff gets lost in the mail," Nayyar said


The local post office claims they’ve heard virtually no complaints.


"I’m surprised, it’s the first we’ve heard of any widespread problem," said Michael Clark, spokesman for the Peoria Post Office. "The North University office got one call from Peoria Heights last week and we got a few calls here. But we’re completely current in all mail volumes on this end."


Glasgow said IDES realizes how important unemployment checks are to clients.


"When clients don’t receive their payments on time, we share their frustration with the delivery process," she said. "The number of calls and claimants coming in has decreased considerably, though, since Monday — we are closer to helping these clients in our region resolve the problem from our end. In addition, today we have heard from some clients that their original check did eventually arrive."


 


Scott Hilyard can be reached at (309) 686-3244 or at shilyard@pjstar.com.