Thursday, March 19, 2020
Dear E&T Provider Partners,
We extend our continued gratitude for your work to support our community members during this crisis. Each day, we are asked to make difficult decisions, balancing the best interests of staff, those we serve, and the larger community. Last week and earlier this week, we sent guidance pertaining to the continuation of services and guidance on COVID-19 to you and your organization to help you continue to prepare and respond.
We have heard from a number of you that your organization has halted or slowed operations in response to COVID-19. Concerns have arisen as to the consequences for TANF and SNAP customers if they cannot participate in required work and training activities. We do not want to put your staff or our customers at risk in this time of social distancing and want to support you in making the best operational decisions for your organization and our customers.
Therefore, if you have not done so already, please stop sending your SNAP and TANF clients to work sites and group training immediately through mid-April and potentially longer, as needed, if the crisis continues. Please be advised and communicate with your customers that individuals who have a work requirement who are currently in your programs will not be penalized for not meeting at this time. They will be excused for "good cause" and will continue to receive their SNAP and TANF benefits.
We are not mandating that you fully shut down your agency, but you shouldn't continue programming that puts customers and staff at risk.
It is important to be in close contact with your program contact about the status of your organization so that we can resume employment and training services as soon as the restrictions on social gatherings are eased and it is safe to do so.
You can always reach out to your program contact with questions, or you can email us at DHS.COVID19@illinois.gov. You can also find past communications that have gone out to providers on our website. Additional information is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health at their Coronavirus-2019 website and the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-889-3931.
Our team is committed to your well-being and to the health of all those we serve. Thank you for the work you do.
Associate Director of the Office of Workforce Development
Family and Community Services