John O'Connor, Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP)- An Associated Press analysis of federal statistics shows Illinois is the nation’s worst in reclaiming hundreds of millions of dollars in overpaid unemployment benefits.

But the unclaimed $452 million couldn’t be used to alleviate social services that have suffered because of the state’s 21-month budget crisis, pay down its billions in debt or its billions in overdue bills.

Combined Labor Department statistics reported quarterly from 2012 to June this year show Illinois’ 37 percent recovery rate is the worst among all U.S. states and territories, which average 66 percent.

An Aug. 31 letter obtained by the AP indicates that’s one reason the U.S. Labor Department will help Illinois improve its management.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says a major problem has been delayed payroll reports. The Labor Department declined comment.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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