Families and Individuals
Operation HOPE provides financial emergency preparedness & recovery assistance to individuals, families, and businesses, either directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through their Hope Inside Disaster Program, Learn more here: .
The City and the Salvation Army are teaming up with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to provide food to those most in need during the pandemic. For locations, go to chicagosfoodbank.org/find-food.
The Illinois Department of Human Services announced more than 450,000 Illinois households will receive additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits beginning Wednesday, April 8, visit: abe.illinois.gov.
With additional funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Illinois is able to implement Illinois’ Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT). This program will provide additional funding to SNAP participants. Additionally, even if you do not receive SNAP benefits, but your child receives reduced or free lunch, you may be eligible able to apply for the P-EBT program at abe.illinois.gov.
Chicago Public Schools food sites, visit: cps.edu.
Chicago Delivers is a non-profit delivering food to those in need, while maintaining social distancing on the South and West Sides of Chicago. To be added to their waitlist, visit: chicagodelivers.org.
The federal government has permitted states to extend unemployment benefits to up to 13 weeks and increased the amount of the weekly benefit by $600. While unemployment offices are closed for safety reasons you can file online www2.illinois.gov/ides.
If you are unsure if you qualify under the Federal CARES Act, IDES recommends you file unemployment to determine eligibility, as you may qualify for expanded unemployment benefits.
Please note, the Illinois Department of Employment Security is asking applicants to stagger their claims based on their last name to help ensure employees are able to respond to all claims and phone calls as soon as they can. We have listed the information below about staggering from the IDES website.
In order to process the extremely high volume of unemployment benefit claims due to COVID-19, IDES has implemented the following schedule for those filing claims online and over the phone:
Online Filing Schedule:
Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Call Center Filing Schedule:
Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
Fridays (7:30am – 6pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether you receive benefits or your benefit amount. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19.
Note: The days in which you can file a claim may be different from the days in which you are asked to certify.
Still have questions about how to apply for Unemployment insurance? SEIU Local 1 has put together step-by-step video instructions about how to apply.
Legal Aid Chicago has a guide to help you determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. However, if you still aren’t sure, follow the advice from the IDES and apply!
The federal government suspended the need to make federal student loan payments from March 13 to September 30, 2020. Please contact your federal loan servicer to determine if your loans qualify for this suspension. You can find more information about this program at the US. Department of Education website.
In addition, during this time if you can pay, all payments will go toward reducing your existing loan balance.
Gov. Pritzker has worked to secure commitments from 20 private loan servicers to provide financial relief options to borrowers, including 90 days of forbearance, waiving late payment fees, ensuring that no borrower is faced with negative credit reporting, halting debt collection for 90 days and allowing borrowers to enroll in other repayment programs. You must call you loan servicer before being able to take advantage of these initiatives.
If you are having trouble working with your student loan servicer, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Banking Division, contact the Illinois Attorney General’s Student Loan Helpline (800-455-2456), or file a complaint with their office.
For more resources to help to help college students, please visit: https://chicagostudentloans.com/covid19-student-resources.
‘COVID-19 Guidance: Update on Student Loans.’ -Working Credit: workingcredit.org
Managing Your Debt:
Managing your debt is important. As many people try to juggle all of their financial responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Aid Chicago has answers to commonly asked questions in both English and Spanish.
As a result of the coronavirus, many people are facing more medical debt or struggling to pay existing debt. Legal Aid Chicago has information on how to manage medical debt.
Many people have been forced to make decisions about what bills they will pay and which ones you might be able to put off. This webinar discusses what to do when your income decreases, but you still have bills to pay.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a guide to how families, business owners, students and more can try to make financial decisions that will protect them.
Knowing and understanding your credit score is always important. Experian, TransUnion and Equifax have made checking your credit weekly free through April 2021. To learn more, visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
All evictions/foreclosures have been suspended for at least 30 days. This means that if you are unable to pay your rent, you cannot be evicted. For assistance, visit the city’s Family and Support Service’s Rental Assistance Program at chicago.gov, which provides financial assistance to Chicago residents in danger of eviction.
All evictions and foreclosures have been suspended during the Stay at Home Order. This means that if you are unable to pay your rent, you cannot be evicted. For assistance, visit the city’s Family and Support Service’s Rental Assistance Program at chicago.gov which provides financial assistance to Chicago residents in danger of eviction.
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Mutual Aid Fund is providing on-time emergency grants to individuals experiencing homelessness. This includes people who are unsheltered, staying at a shelter or living with family and friends. For more information and to apply, visit their website.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a list of the federal programs that have been expanded. This includes providing forbearance on federally backed mortgages for 180 days with the ability to extend for another 180 days. Their website has step by step advice to find out if your mortgage is federally-backed, what to do if your mortgage isn’t backed by the federal government and more.
If you have specific questions about your housing situation and want to get advice about how to proceed, contacting a housing counselor through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an option. To find a housing counselor in your area you can visit their website.
Mortgage and Other Loans:
Pay if you can, in order to avoid loan delinquency. If you have a mortgage, call your lender and see if it qualifies for a federal assistance program now being offered.
Neighborhood Housing Services is offering in-person, financial and homeownership counseling for the financial crisis through a private and secure telephone and online platform. For additional information and a list of all available counseling programs and services, visit nhschicago.org.
Federal Housing Finance Agency:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mortgage Relief programs offer a delay in making your monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period, details here: fhfa.gov.
‘Can’t pay mortgage due to coronavirus? What you need to know, where to turn for help.’ -Chicago SunTimes: chicago.suntimes.com.
Legal Aid Chicago has put together several resources to help Chicagoans understand their rights when it comes to foreclosure and mortgage relief. If you have specific questions, you can call them at 312-340-1070.
The Illinois Commerce Commission reached out to utilities to ensure that water and electricity would be available through May 1. If you have a problem with your utilities being shut off during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact the ICC at icc.illinois.gov.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance keeps a list of Free & Low-Cost Internet Plans updated daily, here: digitalinclusion.org.
As Illinois continues to move forward on the reopening plan, utility companies will once again have the ability to cut off service for unpaid bills. If you are still struggling to pay your bills, ComEd and People’s Gas have payment assistance programs that might be able to help you.
During the declared COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the children of Prioritized Essential Workers are eligible to receive child care through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), apply here: dhs.state.il.us COVID-19 Child Care Application (PDF).
Chicago Public Schools remote learning will begin Monday, April 13 and remain in place through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. For more information, visit: cps.edu.
Retailers and delivery services are currently hiring because of the increased demand for these services. Additionally, with garden stores being allowed to open, they may have job openings.
Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, has a comprehensive listing of many jobs that are available across Chicago and the region and staff available to help you in your search. Visit: ChiCookWorks.org.
Department of Labor: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19, visit: dol.gov.
As Chicago and Illinois enter new phases of their reopening plans, many people are looking for employment. The state has launched Tech Ready Illinois to help people with training that will allow them to gain new skills and find new job opportunities. Tech Ready Illinois has partnered with several universities and nonprofits to offer programs and courses at reduced rates.
For those seeking new employment opportunities, Chicago State University is offering a free Contact Tracing Certificate Program.
Your rights under Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance during COVID-19 Pandemic, visit: chicago.gov COVID-19 FAQs.
Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, visit: usbgfoundation.org
Restaurant Employee Assistance Relief Fund, visit: rerf.us
Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, visit: restaurantworkerscf.org
One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, visit: ofwemergencyfund.org
Professional Beauty Association COVID-10 Relief Fund, visit: restaurantworkerscf.org
My Block My Hood My City will be ensuring seniors have access to hand sanitizer, health supplements, toiletries, and food. Request for Viral Response Care Package here: formyblock.org.
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has a listing of dedicated shopping hours for seniors: irma.org.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has created a resource page on what Veterans need to know here: va.gov.
CDC Guidelines on cloth face coverings and social distancing, visit cdc.gov.
NAMI Mental Health Support, visit: namichicago.org
Bright Star Church Mental Health Support, visit: brightstarcommunityoutreach.com
Domestic Violence Hotline: Call or text 877-863-6338
#GiveTogetherNow is a nonprofit that helps provide financial relief to families struggling due to COVID-19. Applications submitted through partner nonprofits listed on their site will be prioritized, but you can also apply at fund.uptogether.org .
Governor Pritzker recently announced Help Illinois Families , a new program to provide financial assistance to families. A pre-application form allows residents to apply for assistance with water/sewer payments, food, energy utility, rental assistance, temporary housing and employment training and placement. Fill out your pre-application here .
Last week, the City of Chicago and The Resurrection Project announced the Chicago Resiliency Fund to provide a $1,000 financial stipend to anyone who did not receive one through the federal government. The stipend will help people who are undocumented, in mixed-status families, experiencing homelessness, formally incarcerated, dependent adults, college students and more. Apply at resurrectionproject.org .
Supporting small businesses is important during the COVID-19 shut down. If you are tired of cooking and eating leftovers, the Chicago Tribune has a list of restaurants open for carry out and delivery and help a small business in your neighborhood. Another list of restaurants that are open has been compiled by Dining at a distance.
Illinois is looking for medically trained individuals to join the fight, visit: illinoishelps.net.
Children First Fund will deploy the Compassion Fund to provide critical support to CPS students in our community who need it most, donate here: childrenfirstfund.org.
Blood donations are desperately needed as we combat the coronavirus, if you are able and willing, you can find where and how to donate at the following:
American Red Cross: redcrossblood.org
The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund will swiftly deploy additional financial resources to local community foundations and nonprofits to support residents in need of emergency food and basic supplies, interim housing and shelter, primary health care services, utility assistance, direct financial assistance for household expenses, supports for children and other vulnerable populations, and nonprofit safety and operations assistance. Donate here: ilcovidresponsefund.org.
One Fair Wage Emergency Fund is helping restaurant workers, gig worker and other hourly workers who are facing unprecedented economic hardship from the coronavirus crisis, donate here: ofwemergencyfund.org.
Illinois launched the Arts For Illinois Relief Fund, which will provide immediate relief directly to individual artists and artisans, including stage and production crew members and part-time cultural workers, as well as art organizations, through grants to help those unable to work during this temporary shut-down, donate here: artsforillinois.org.
The Chicago Community Trust and the United Way of Metro Chicago have joined together to create the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. To date, this Fund has distributed over $8.8 million dollars to 103 nonprofits in additional fund to help them meet their needs for providing emergency food, housing, health and childcare services. You can donate to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund chicagocovid19responsefund.org.
If you have not filed your 2019 taxes with the IRS you need to fill out this form on their website to receive your Economic Impact Payment under the Federal Stimulus, here: irs.gov.
With all of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, there are many scammers trying to take advantage of people’s fears. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a list of types of scams to watch out for.
If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam or seen price gouging, please contact the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at: illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/filecomplaint.html.
Below are some guides from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx about how to protect yourself from consumer fraud.
Domestic Violence Resources:
Reports of domestic violence are on the rise, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be sure to call 9-1-1 if you are in immediate danger. Cook County State’s Attorney has helpful information here: Resources on Domestic Violence during COVID-19.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: Whatever the amount of stimulus money you receive, make sure you use it wisely.
If you must use it to pay your bills, do so. Even though you might not have to pay rent or some bills for a month or two, at the end of this crisis, you’ll still owe the money and have to resume making payments. So, if at all possible, pay the bills on time.
If you don’t need the additional money to pay bills, and you have a cushion, use the money to create opportunities to build a better future by investing it, or saving for a down payment on a home, or continuing education.
For City of Chicago information on Coronavirus, visit: chicago.gov/coronavirus.