State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates - Click Here

At a time when many are experiencing a greater need for assistance than ever, I want to make you aware of resources you can use as you adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic in your home or at your business. In addition to an expansion of availability for services like food, shelter and housing assistance, you should know that both the state and federal government have made a wide variety of resources available to help small businesses weather the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and resulting business disruptions.


I will also be sending out an update soon on the federal relief package recently passed. Read below to find out more, and don’t hesitate to contact my office at or by calling (773) 769-1717.



Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District


Help for families

For needs like food, shelter, child care, and help for those experiencing domestic violence, the Illinois Department of Human Services has made strides in expanding coverage wherever possible in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access information and links to applications for these services here. Among the services available through IDHS:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps). The online application process can be reached here.
  • A list of food pantries.
  • Medicaid coverage.
  • The Illinois Healthcare Portal, which provides information about a broad range of services for which you may qualify.
  • Get Covered Illinois, which provides Illinois residents the opportunity to purchase a health plan if they do not qualify for Medicaid coverage.
  • Homeless services such as rental or utilities assistance.
  • A list of homeless shelters.
  • Lists of substance use disorder and mental health services, found under the Recovery tab.
  • An application for someone to help bathe you, clean your home, buy groceries, or help with other needs in your home because you have a disability, or for another reason, through IDHS' Home Services program.
  • Expanded child care options for those deemed essential workers.
  • Information about domestic violence help.
  • IA list of resources for immediate help because of a mental health crisis through IDHS’ Talk To Someone tab.


Help for businesses


  • Small business loans – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering assistance loans to affected businesses.
  • Small business disaster assistance loans – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering disaster assistance loans for up to $2 million.
  • Low-interest loans – Backed by the Illinois treasury, banks and credit unions throughout Illinois are offering low-interest loans to businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Hospitality Emergency Grants – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Activity is making $14 million in emergency grants originally earmarked for tourism development to help bars, restaurants, and hotels for expenses like payroll and rent
  • Chicago-only: Small business loans – The city of Chicago has created its own small business resiliency loans.


Tax deferment

  • Sales tax deferment – Small- and mid-sized restaurants and bars will be able to defer sales tax payments for February, March, and April.
  • Income tax collection postponed – The federal government has postponed income tax collections until July 15.
  • State income tax filing deadline extended – Illinois has announced that, like the federal government, income tax filing has been extended to July 15.


Licensing extensions and modifications



  • Utilities – The ICC has banned disconnections during the crisis and assessing late fees through at least May 1.


Unemployment help

IDES is now implementing a new alphabetized schedule to help reduce wait times for claims filed both online and over the phone. The day or time of day you call will not affect whether you receive benefits or your benefit amount. The schedules are as follows:


Online Filing Schedule

  • People with last names A-M are asked to file claims on Sundays, Tuesday or Thursdays.
  • People with last names N-Z are asked to filed claims on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Saturdays are available for those who are unable to file during their allotted time.

Call Center Filing Schedule

  • People with last names A-M are asked to file claims on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • People with last names N-Z are asked to file claims on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. will be reserved for those who are unable to file during their allotted time.


IDES has indicated it will soon provide guidance on implementing the changes to unemployment compensation in the federal relief package known as the CARES Act, including self employed and gig-economy workers.


You can file your unemployment insurance claim online here. To file your claim over the phone, you can call 1-800-244-5631. Although this new schedule is expected to improve this process, IDES says you may still experience some wait time to file your claim, and asks for applicants' patience.

COVID19 Updates

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Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
627 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492