We live in a state where there are 500-700 State of Illinois claimants who are getting lifetime total and permanent disability awards because our leaders, like Governor Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan simply don’t defend such claims or bring folks back to work once awards are rendered. The cost of this to Illinois taxpayers is well into the millions. Please note every single claim could be ended if our state government would find these folks jobs right now. And as we have said many times—when state government doesn’t defend itself in the biggest of claims, it poisons the system for the private sector.
All someone has to do to get such amazing largesse is to have an injury or “repetitive trauma” condition that causes any sort of job restriction. With what we call the “golden diagnosis” of permanent job restrictions, State of Illinois workers’ are not returned to any job—it is almost as if the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to such workers because they would much rather have our tax dollars than return to real work, albeit within restrictions. Such workers get on a gravy train where they get high total and permanent disability benefits and COLA increases simply by not returning to work.
In the right setting, such workers can also legally “double-dip” to get either taxpayer funded disability pensions or regular pensions—unlike police and firefighters, there is no setoff or other limitation for “odd lot” claimants to get both the T&P award and their state pension.
With that in mind, we are laughing to hear Gov. Pat Quinn last Wednesday unveiled a new website aimed at making it easier to connect job hunters with businesses that are hiring. The program, Illinois JobLink, is similar to privately run websites that help match applicants with specific job postings. However, Illinois JobLink is free and does not charge people to search for jobs or employers to advertise openings.
Anyone can upload a resume, and those who get unemployment benefits from the state are required to enroll in the job search program, according to the director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security. We wish Chairman Mitch Weisz would tell all the Arbitrators to also require anyone claiming “odd lot” total and permanent status to similarly enroll.
The Illinois JobLink system allows businesses to work directly with specialists from the state employment agency to better tailor their search for new employees. If companies are hiring on a larger scale, the agency can use the system to call those who have uploaded resumes that contain the needed skills.
Governor Quinn said he hopes the service will make it easier for returning veterans to find jobs, noting the unemployment rate for service members is much higher than the rate for the general population. The Governor called on lawmakers in the House to pass a measure that would provide $5,000 tax credits for companies that hire returning veterans.
Governor Quinn was quoted as saying "Finding good jobs has got to be our number one mission in government. We want to link up our workers with those employers who need good workers with the right spirit, experience and talent to get the job done." Trust us, that sentiment applies in workers’ compensation as well as unemployment comp too.
The website is illinoisjoblink.com. We appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please do not hesitate to post them on our award-winning blog.