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Local and National Resources

My staff is continuing to fulfill their official responsibilities throughout this time. If you need help with a federal agency, you can click here to open a case with my staff.

Housing

It is crucial that people continue to remain at home to stem the spread of the virus. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is in the process of contacting grantees and housing stakeholders to ensure Americans have access to stable housing during this time. HUD has also announced that it will be suspending all foreclosures and evictions through the end of April and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has suspended all court-ordered evictions.

Public Housing Agencies, grantees, and other stakeholders can click here to find more information on HUD resources and guidance.

Immigration

Effective March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is suspending in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This suspension of services will be effective until at least April 1. In the meantime, USCIS will provide limited emergency services. Please call the Contact Center for assistance with emergency services. USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by this closure. USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location of the interview. 

When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule ASC appointments due to office closure. You will receive a new appointment letter in the mail. Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again. Please check to see if your field office has been reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center. 

Medicare Recipients

  • Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs.
  • Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you're diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
  • At this time, there's no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits beyond the ones described below. Check with your plan about your coverage and costs.
  • Scammers may use the coronavirus national emergency to take advantage of people while they’re distracted. As always, guard your Medicare card like a credit card, check Medicare claims summary forms for errors, and if someone calls asking for your Medicare Number, hang up!
  • Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the current Public Health Emergency.

Click here for the latest information, including expanded telehealth services.

Nutrition

Congress has provided more than a billion dollars for additional nutrition assistance for children, seniors, and low-income Americans. This includes waivers to allow those who typically receive meal assistance through schools or other means that have been disrupted due to the coronavirus to continue to qualify for meal assistance.

Click here for more info on waivers and nutritional programs.

Small Businesses

The State of Illinois has received its statewide Economic Injury Declaration which means small businesses in all 102 Illinois counties may be eligible for low-interest, economic injury disaster loans up to $2M per business. If you are a small business owner who needs help applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, you can contact a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) who can assist with the application process.

Businesses can click here to access additional information and apply for SBA Disaster Loans online here.

Click here for eligibility requirements as determined by SBA.

Social Security Recipients

Social Security offices are currently closed. The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19-related office closures. Please know that you will continue to receive your monthly benefit amount while these offices are closed.

Click here to access the Social Security Administration's online self-service options.

Stimulus Payments

Please check back for updates as the IRS provides more information on the process for receiving direct, economic stimulus payments. 

Students and Parents

Chicago Public Schools will be closed beginning March 17 and will remain closed until Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

On Friday, March 20, President Trump announced that federal student loan borrowers could suspend their payments without penalty for up to 60 days and that standardized test requirements would not be enforced for elementary and high school students amid the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact your borrower for more information on payment suspension.

Click here for updates from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Click here for resources from Chicago Public Schools.

Tax Filing

On March 21, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updated its guidance and announced that the federal income tax filing deadline is extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Payments on federal taxes can also be deferred until July 15, 2020, regardless of the amount owed or the type of filler. If you are expecting a refund, you can still file today and receive your refund as usual.

The Illinois income tax filing and payment deadline have also been extended until July 15, 2020

Click here for information on the Illinois Department of Revenue’s announcement.

In addition, the IRS announced that all payments have been suspended between April 1 and July 15, 2020, with all automated lien and levy action suspended, and most lien and levy actions are suspended. Finally, the IRS is not currently sending new cases to private debt collection and are not taking any adverse action related to EIC and Wage Verification Audits.

Transportation

Congress and the Department of Transportation are working to provide financial assistance to agencies and authorities that need it most. DOT has activated a number of existing emergency relief programs, including at the Federal Transit Administration, and future relief packages from Congress will include changes to eligibility for existing programs to expand qualifications.

Travelers

On March 19, 2020, the Department of State issued a travel advisory advising all U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. 

On Friday, March 20, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended that all American citizens traveling abroad return to the United States as soon as possible or prepare to shelter at home in their current country.

The Department of State is encouraging Americans currently traveling abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program in case there are any travel restrictions put in place by another government. Enrolling in STEP ensures that if restrictions are put in place by another government, the Department of State can notify you and make a determination if it is possible to evacuate American citizens. If you are currently abroad visiting an impacted country, you should educate yourself about the guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus and follow all local health guidance, have a plan to depart that does not rely on U.S. government assistance​, monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information, and prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.

The Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs has created a call center for citizens traveling abroad staffed 24/7: 888-407-4747

You can click here to review the State Department's Traveler’s Checklist.

Click here for the latest information from the Department of State.

Click here for the latest information from the Federal Aviation Administration.

U.S. Postal Service

The Postal Service is considered an essential service and will not be impacted by any local or state-wide shelter-in-place orders. USPS has so far experienced only minor operational impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Postal Service is undertaking all reasonable measures to minimize the impact to our customers.

Click here to read the USPS statement on COVID-19.

Veterans

For veterans who think they have COVID-19: Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment.

Click here for the latest VA information.

For the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.
For the latest information from the Chicago Department of Public Health, please visit Chicago.gov/coronavirus.

Last updated April 1, 2020