A federal waiver is being processed to expand Medicaid coverage. If the federal waiver is approved, the state will be able to expand Medicaid services through the addition of new medical providers, increased access across the state and ramped up services to many of the state’s most vulnerable populations. Learn more here
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020. Learn more here
Learn about changes to payment and collection policies to ensure Illinoisans aren’t saddled with utility debt as a result of COVID-19. Several have announced plans to maintain services and waive late payment fees. Learn more here
Illinois State Board of Education obtained a waiver from the federal government to continue distributing meals to all children who qualify for free and reduced lunch. Schools are encouraged to expand meal distribution programs to all children under 18 or to any student enrolled in an Illinois school, regardless of their age. Learn more here.
If you are struggling to put food on the table for yourself or your family during this crisis, the CARES Act makes increased investments in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. Learn more here.
The CARES Act secures $850 million in emergency funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks facing increased demand due to the coronavirus. Learn more here.
For more information or find a food bank near you: Learn more here.
To find further food assistance near you, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1-877-8-HAMBRE.
If you have student loan debt, whether as an undergraduate or graduate student, the CARES Act secures several options outlined below for borrowers that help provide relief through September 30, 2020. During this period, a borrower will be able to:
* Pause payments for federal student loan borrowers who have Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), which means these borrowers will not be required to make any payments toward outstanding interest or principal balance.
* Suspend interest accrual for such loans so that these balances don’t accrue.
* Avoid forced collections such as garnishment of wages, tax refunds, & Social Security benefits.
* Halt negative credit reporting.
* Ensure a borrower continues to receive credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation.
Homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months without fees, penalties, or extra interest. Learn more here
If you’ve been unable to pay your rent due to COVID-19, we’re here to help you. It’s important to continue paying as much of your rent as you can. Also, talk to your landlord on a regular basis about your situation.
Funds are limited so complete your application as soon as possible. Only one application per household is allowed and an application is not a guarantee of assistance.
If you are approved, you will receive a grant of $5,000 that will be sent to your landlord to be applied against your rent.
The COVID-19 Recovery: Rental Assistance Program helps suburban Cook County residents having difficulty paying their rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It pays up to $4,500 of overdue or future rent.
Rental payments will be sent directly to landlords by the Housing Authority of Cook County. The program is part of the Cook County Community Recovery Initiative, funded by the federal CARES Act.
ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (DIRECT PAYMENTS):
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment. Learn more here
IRS OPERATIONS DURING COVID-19: MISSION-CRITICAL FUNCTIONS CONTINUE:
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, the Internal Revenue Service is taking multiple steps to protect our employees, America’s taxpayers and our partners. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical functions to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds. Learn more here
ACTION NEEDED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARIES WITH DEPENDENTS
Social Security retirement survivors, and disability insurance beneficiaries with dependent children and who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes should immediately go to the IRS’ webpage at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here and visit the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” section to provide their information. You will need to act by Wednesday, April 22, in order to receive additional payments for eligible children quickly. By doing so, they may receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. We strongly encourage completing this process promptly, in order to avoid having to wait to file a tax year 2020 tax return to obtain the additional $500 per eligible child.