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Out Of Work Due To Coronavirus? Here’s How To Get Unemployment Benefits, Rent Relief And More

Resources are available now for those facing financial uncertainty.

Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — As local restaurants and bars employees deal with unprecedented closings and the cancellation of large events, owners have started a number of GoFundMe pages for their workers as state and federal officials scramble to help the millions financially impacted by the coronavirus.

While the situation is changing daily, Block Club rounded up some resources available now to those facing financial uncertainty.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has adopted emergency rules to offer unemployment benefits to those whose jobs have been impacted by the coronavirus.

Workers temporarily laid off because of COVID-19 could qualify for benefits as long as they are able able to return to their place of employment once it reopens, according to the state website. 

Learn how to sign up for unemployment here.

In an Instagram post, Gov. J.B. Pritzker directed those without access to sick leave or unable to work because of COVID-19 to call the Illinois Department of Employment Security at 1-800-244-5631 or visit the department online to apply for benefits.

Bartender Emergency Assistance: 

Bartenders, barbacks and cocktail servers in need of support can apply for the United States Bartender Guild’s National Charity Foundation. 

The organization is offering emergency grants for bartenders. You do not need to be a member to apply.

Emergency Rental Assistance

People experiencing a temporary economic crisis beyond their control are also eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The city program provides financial assistance to individuals facing eviction and at risk of experiencing homelessness.

You must have documents showing a temporary economic crisis beyond your control to qualify, such as temporary loss of income, flood or fire, or a court-ordered eviction.

The program can help with rent payments but not security deposits.

Unfortunately, the city is still requiring people to show up in person to apply. Chicago residents can apply at one of the six Community Service Centers located at:

  • Englewood Center, 1140 W. 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60620, 312-747-0200
  • Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612, 312-746-5400
  • King Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, IL 60653, 312-747-2300
  • North Area, 845 W. Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640, 312- 744-2580
  • South Chicago, 8650 S. Commercial Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617, 312-747-0500
  • Trina Davila Community Services Center, 4312 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639, 312-744-2014

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides financial assistance to expectant mothers and families with one or more children.

Adults with children under 19 years old qualify. Individuals must live in Illinois and meet certain immigration requirements, according to the government website. 

Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families may also qualify for medical assistance and SNAP benefits.

Individuals can apply here.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

An emergency coronavirus bill, which recently passed the House of Representatives and is set to go to the Senate floor, will suspend the work and work training requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York Times.

Apply here for SNAP assistance.  

Illinois Medicaid 

Low-income adults between 19 to 64 years old who make less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for Medicaid. The income limits are $12,760 for an individual, $17,240 for a family of two, $21,720 for a family of three and  $26,200 for a family of four.

Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced plans to file a federal waiver requesting funds to expand Medicaid coverage during the coronavirus outbreak.

If approved, the federal waiver will expand Medicaid services to provide greater care for vulnerable populations, according to the Sun-Times.

Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-889-3931.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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