Because Illinois’ Unemployment Rate Has Dropped, Federal Government Reduces Extended Benefits for PUA Recipients, Regular Unemployment Recipients Continue to Receive 11 Additional Weeks Under PEUC

SPRINGFIELD – Because Illinois’ unemployment rate has dropped, federal rules now prohibit individuals from seeking seven additional weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal effort to cover individuals who did not qualify for regular unemployment and which largely covers those who are self-employed.

“This is precisely why I’ve encouraged Congress to set out long-term rules that help the people most hurt by this pandemic, and why it’s imperative that they pass something immediately that corrects this gap,” Governor JB Pritzker said. “Our federal leaders must come together around a solution, and we will be ready to help people get the benefits they need to get through this pandemic.”

According to unemployment data published by the federal government, Illinois’ unemployment rate is now below the threshold for the state’s High Unemployment Period (HUP) to be active, and individuals no longer qualify for additional weeks of benefits provided during HUP. Under federal law, when a state is in the HUP, there are seven additional weeks added to PUA eligibility, as well as seven additional weeks added to Extended Benefits (EB) eligibility under state law. As a result of Illinois’ unemployment rate dropping, under state and federal law, the seven additional weeks for both programs are no longer available.

The maximum number of weeks available to PUA claimants has reduced from 57 weeks to 50 weeks. Additionally, extended benefits (EB) for regular state unemployment insurance benefits reduced from 20 weeks to 13 weeks. Federal law provides regular unemployment insurance benefit recipients with a transition to added weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits but is currently silent with regard to extra assistance for PUA claimants.

PUA claimants who have exhausted the 50th week or more have been, or will be, notified they will have reached the maximum number of weeks allowable under federal law. Barring additional federal action or extensions to federal unemployment programs, PUA claimants who have exhausted the maximum number of weeks will no longer be eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits.

The Department is closely monitoring any action from the federal government to extend PUA benefits, in addition to the other federal unemployment benefits programs, set to expire on March 13, 2021. As was done with the CARES Act and the Continued Assistance Act, IDES will publicly provide individuals with programmatic updates, changes, and information pertaining to unemployment programs as they are made available by the federal government and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.

Category: Constituent Services Content

In 2020, ComEd connected customers to a record amount of assistance


CHICAGO (March 3, 2021) – As the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nears, ComEd recognizes that families and businesses are still dealing with continued financial challenges and urges customers with past-due balances to call the energy company so that they can be connected to available financial assistance.


Last year, ComEd increased its annual bill-assistance options, connecting customers to a record of more than $70 million in financial assistance and supporting more than a quarter of a million customers with stabilizing grants. This year, ComEd encourages customers to contact the energy company immediately to see if they are eligible for millions of dollars more in bill assistance now available. There are also extended payment options to help customers with their past-due balances.  


“For the past year, the pandemic has created incredible financial challenges for many of our customers, some of whom have never before needed assistance in paying their bills,” said ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez. “To meet the needs of these customers, we continue to offer programs – and work to make customers aware of them – to connect as many individuals, families and businesses as possible to the assistance they need.”


Bill-payment assistance options


For customers who struggle to cover energy expenses, the ComEd CARE programs offer a range of financial-assistance options, while funding is available, to help eligible customers
pay their energy bills. There are programs available for residential customers with household incomes of up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level; as well as activated and deployed members of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, Reserves and honorably discharged veterans. There is also financial assistance available for nonprofit organizations.

Any customer experiencing a hardship or difficulty with their electric bill should call ComEd immediately at 1-800-334-7661 (1-800-EDISON-1), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to learn more on how to apply. Information on each of these options is available at ComEd.com/PaymentAssistance.

ComEd also offers usage alerts and energy-management tips to help customers manage energy use to save money now and on future energy bills. For information, visit ComEd.com/OnlineTools.

Category: Constituent Services

People who are homebound for various reasons can sign up online to get vaccinated against coronavirus at their homes.


CHICAGO — The city is vaccinating Chicagoans who can’t leave their homes under a pilot program.
 
People who are homebound for various reasons can sign up online (https://redcap.dph.illinois.gov/surveys/?s=NC9XC3889P) to get vaccinated against coronavirus at their home. Their caregivers will also be vaccinated under the program.
To be eligible, a person must not be able to leave their home because it “requires considerable and taxing effort” and must fit one of these categories, according to the city:
·        Be a senior.
·        Be a person with a disability.
·        Be a person who has to use adaptive equipment (like a ventilator, wheelchair, etc.) and/or accessible transportation to leave home.

The program is only meant for “truly homebound” older people, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said.

Once a person fills out the form, city workers will reach out to them to coordinate an in-home vaccination appointment once the vaccine is available for them. 

Fire Department paramedics will go to the person’s home to give them the shot.

People who fill out the form will be prioritized based on the city’s current vaccination phase.

The city did not say what type of vaccine will be used for the at-home shots.

Category: Constituent Services

The grants are offered by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and United Airlines to support West Side businesses.

 
WEST SIDE — Small businesses owned by people of color on the West Side can apply for a recovery grant through Feb. 28 to help them stay afloat through the pandemic.

The Support West program will award $5,000 grants to selected businesses. The program is organized by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation in partnership with United Airlines.

Business owners can apply for the grant on the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation website through the end of February. Recipients will be chosen in March.

Recognizing that the West Side was hit especially hard by the pandemic and economic slump, the grants aim to “assist in long-term recovery and elevate the economic corridors of West Side communities surrounding the United Center,” Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in a news release.

The grants will target people-of-color-owned small businesses that have 10 or fewer employees. Eligible businesses must have less than $250,000 in annual revenue. Applicants must also demonstrate a 25 percent loss in revenues due to the pandemic.

“We are pleased to partner with the Blackhawks to channel our resources to better ensure that the small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic remain a valuable part of our city when we emerge from this pandemic,” Rahsaan Johnson, director of global sponsorship activation at United, said in a news release.

The Support West grants will be a partner program to One West Side, the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation’s efforts to invest in the West Side’s nonprofit community. One West Side has committed at least $2 million to funding leadership development and neighborhood programs in the area.

Nonprofit grantees from the One West Side program include MAAFA Redemption Project, the Austin Childcare Providers Network and West Side United.

 

Category: Constituent Services

COVID19 Updates

Office Information

Springfield Office:
619 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5966
(217) 782-1631 FAX
 
District Office:
2929 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 102
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 949-1908
(312) 949-1958 FAX