The administration is doing everything in its power to support Illinois’ working families and businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
LOANS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: After submitting documentation demonstrating the impact of COVID-19 on more than 3,000 businesses across the state, Gov. Pritzker announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state's eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: Individuals without access to paid sick leave or unable to work due to COVID-19 can apply for unemployment insurance under the administration's expansion. The governor's executive order waives the 7-day waiting period for residents to apply for unemployment benefits, meaning anyone who qualifies can file and become immediately eligible instead of experiencing a week-long lag during this challenging time. Gov. Pritzker is working with the federal delegation and congressional leadership to push the Trump administration to allow the state to increase the length of benefits beyond 26 weeks as this crisis continues to provide significant fiscal challenges for Illinois families. Visit the IDES COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits page to learn more.
UTILITY RELIEF: Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul have urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to immediately institute a moratorium on shutoffs for all utility companies across Illinois - including energy, telecommunications and water - until the state disaster proclamation has been lifted. The administration is also requesting 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.
FOOD ACCESS: The Pritzker administration is working directly with the eight major food banks across Illinois to expand services. The administration is reaching out to food manufacturers to ensure food banks are prioritized and can provide our vulnerable residents the food they need. ISBE obtained a waiver from the federal government to continue distributing meals to all children who qualify for free and reduced lunch. The Governor is also encouraging schools to expand their meal distribution program to all children under 18 or to any student enrolled in an Illinois school, regardless of their age.
MEDICAID WAIVER: The administration is in the process of filing a federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage, beginning work on the waiver application as soon as the federal government declared a national emergency and activated the Stafford Act. 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.
TAXPAYERS: The Illinois Department of Revenue has created a specific webpage to provide information and resources to help Illinois taxpayers, businesses, and others affected by the coronavirus. For up-to-date information on available resources, visit their COVID-19 webpage.
Free/Low Cost Internet: Various broadband providers and mobile carriers are offering free or low-cost access in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance has information on providers and programs offering free or low-cost broadband. Please visit the DCEO website for more information.