Resources For Families
Direct payments: As you may have heard, everyone will be receiving direct payments of up to $1,200, depending on your income, with an additional $500 per minor child. These payments will be issued by the IRS via direct deposit based on the bank account information that you provided in your 2019 or 2018 tax return or Social Security statement. If you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and you do not receive Social Security benefits, the IRS recommends that you file a 2018 return to receive payment. If the IRS does not have your bank account information, you should look for a letter from the IRS detailing how to receive the payment. If you receive Social Security, retirement or other social safety net benefits, you may still qualify for direct payments. These payments will not be taxable nor represent “resources” for program eligibility purposes. For more information from the IRS visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-operations-during-covid-19-mission-critical-functions-continue
Eviction Protections: Renters residing in public or assisted housing, or in a home or apartment whose owner has a federally-backed mortgage, and who are unable to pay their rent, are protected from eviction for 4 months. Property owners are also prohibited from issuing a 30-day notice to a tenant to vacate a property until after the 4-month moratorium ends. This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and federally-issued or guaranteed mortgages. Renters whose landlord is not abiding by the moratorium should contact the relevant federal agency that administers their housing program or their local Legal Aid office.
Mortgage Forbearance: Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages (for members of federally-recognized tribes) and those 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.
Energy Assistance: The CARES Act includes $900 million to help low-income Americans and their families heat and cool their homes. To learn more about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Illinois go to https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/communityservices/utilitybillassistance/pages/default.aspx
Food assistance: If you a 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. To apply for SNAP in Illinois go to http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=30357 or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services Midwest Regional office located at 77 West Jackson Blvd 20th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604-3507, or call 312-353-6664
Food banks: Through the CARES Act we have secured $850 million in emergency funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks facing increasing demand due to the coronavirus. Visit http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=30366 for more information or find a food bank near you here: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank. To find further food assistance near you, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1-877-8-HAMBRE
School Meals: As more schools close due to coronavirus, we have provided emergency funding for Child Nutrition Programs to ensure students can still receive their free or reduced-price school meals. To learn more, about what Illinois is doing during this time visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19/illinois#cn
Student loan relief for borrowers: If you have student loan debt, we secured 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 Loan (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.
For additional guidance on how to apply and learn about next steps as this critical relief becomes available, please visit https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus
Stabilization funding for education: We secured $30.75 billion in funding for school districts, states and higher education institutions to ensure state resources and investments are not diverted from life-long learning. For additional guidance on how to apply and learn about next steps as this critical relief becomes available, please refer to the U.S. Department of Education website here: https://www.ed.gov/