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 August 31, 2022. 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.
The City of Chicago’s Mortgage and Rental Assistance Programs offer financial relief to Chicagoans who have been impacted by the economic fallout from the outbreak of the COVID-19. Grants may be used for rent or mortgage payments for your primary residence.
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