As measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 continue throughout Illinois, I want to reiterate that the most important thing any of us can do right now is to practice proper social distancing and avoid unnecessary trips out of our homes. While inconvenient, it is the best way we can protect our loved ones. The sooner we can get the spread under control, the sooner we can all get back to our normal lives. As a reminder, I have two comprehensive web pages on my web site (repgrant.com). For comprehensive statewide information, please visit https://ilcovid19info.com/. For more localized information specific to the 42nd district, please visit https://repgrant.com/covid-19/. As information changes, these sites are updated.
Illinois Income Tax Filing Deadline Extended to July 15
Following the lead of the federal government, a decision was made this week to extend Illinois’ income tax filing deadline to July 15. The three-month extension applies to individual returns and also to filings for trusts and corporations. Taxpayers who are due a refund are encouraged to file their returns as soon as possible, as the Director of the IL Department of Revenue said those refunds will be processed quickly.
This three-month extension will be helpful for taxpayers who are struggling financially right now. Click here to read more about the state tax filing extension.
House Republicans Urge Governor Pritzker to Address Issues with Unemployment Filings
My office is hearing from a lot of people who are having trouble accessing the unemployment benefit application on the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) web site. With a record-number of people out of work due to Illinois’ response to COVID-19, the web site is not functioning in a manner that permits all applicants to successfully submit forms. While IDES employees are working very hard, during these unprecedented times the needs are eclipsing the manpower and the computer site’s capabilities.
On behalf of the House Republican caucus, yesterday House Republican Leader Jim Durkin sent a letter to Governor Pritzker urging him to address this critical problem by immediately contracting with a third party or consulting group. I support this letter and join Leader Durkin in demanding an immediate remedy to this growing problem.
As IDES works to address volume issues, the department is attempting to control web site and phone traffic by asking residents to follow the guidelines:
Those with last names beginning with letters A-M are asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays. Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z are asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays. Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Call Center Filing
Those with last names beginning with letters A-M are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30am – 6pm. Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z are 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.
Additional information and tips for those experiencing job disruptions can be found here.
Metra Offers Health Care Workers and Font Line Workers Free Rides
Doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and first responders are deserving of our deepest gratitude during this difficult time. They are going above and beyond in their lines of service so that you and I can be safe and have access to quality care. As a small measure of appreciation, Metra is offering these individuals free rides on Metra to and from work. Those serving on the front lines simply need to show their work I.D. receive free rides on Metra.
New Relief Measures Announced for Small Businesses
In addition to the previously-announced deferral of sales tax payments for small and medium-sized restaurants and bars, and $2 million in low-interest small business disaster assistance loans, this week the Governor announced three new programs that will provide more than $90 million in financial relief to Illinois small business owners. Businesses can apply for the new emergency assistance programs through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) web site. The new relief measures include:
- A Small Business Emergency Loan Fund that will provide $60 million to support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for qualifying small businesses outside of the City of Chicago
- A Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program that will offer an additional $20 million in support to eligible small businesses in suburban and rural counties, by offering grants up to $25,000 for businesses located in communities currently served by DCEO’s Office of Community Development.
- A Hospitality Emergency Grant Program that will include $14 million to assist qualifying small businesses in the hospitality sector (up to $25,000 will be available for eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 will be available to eligible hotels)
Click here to read more about the specific programs.
Residents Come Together to Help Each Other During Crisis
In times of crisis, the people of the 42nd District really come together to help one another. You can help in several ways during the pandemic. On my https://repgrant.com/covid-19/ web page, you can scroll down to the “How to Help” section for more information, such as a list of local food pantries and where you can donate blood in the 42nd District.
In addition to the volunteer opportunities listed on my web site, here are a few other ways you can help:
DuPage Foundation Seeks Donations for COVID-19 Response Fund: The DuPage Foundation has created a COVID-19 Response Fund to receive contributions from those looking to support the community in this time of crisis and help fuel local not-for-profits that have been affected by the pandemic. Through the Foundation, private individuals, foundations, corporations and other organizations can make donations to support the not-for-profits that provide extremely valuable services. For more information or to donate, click here.
Shopping and Delivery Services Available for Seniors in Milton Township: The Milton Township SALT Council has volunteers available to assist township seniors with shopping for groceries, picking up medications, and delivering to them to their homes. This service is intended for seniors who are normally just fine going to the stores but rightly want to stay at home during this time due to their high vulnerability to the virus. Call the township at 630-668-1616 for more information or to schedule a delivery.
Meals on Wheels Needs Packing and Driving Volunteers: The DuPage Senior Citizens Council based in Lombard runs Meals on Wheels in our area, and they have a critical need for additional volunteers right now. To meet the current need, they are waiving training for volunteers that are needed to drive out on routes April 7th and 8th as well as work at the sites for assembly on April 1. Their Volunteer Coordinator can be reached at 630-620-0804.