5/21/20 - IDHS Weekly Bulletin


Thursday, May 21, 2020


Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services are proud to announce that beginning June 2, 2020, SNAP customers can shop online to purchase eligible food items with SNAP benefits using their Illinois Link card. All Link customers will be alerted when they can use their card to make food orders online, and they will not need to call or visit an office to access this ability.

The first two retailers available for SNAP purchases on-line will be Walmart (https://grocery.walmart.com/) and Amazon (www.amazon.com/SNAP). More information and an FAQ will be available in the days to come on the Link and Abe Illinois websites.

Additional grocery retailers are welcome to join EBT Online. Any retailers interested in the program can find more information and apply at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/online-purchasing-pilot.


IDHS reminds us that every person in Illinois needs to be counted! Visit My2020census.gov to complete the census online or call 1-844-330-2020. For more info text 987987 or go to census.illinois.gov.


IDPH has issued guidance clarifying that healthcare facilities (including hospitals) should allow patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities or cognitive impairments to be accompanied by a support person determined to be essential to their care, such as a guardian, family member, caregiver, or paid support worker, provided that essential precautions can be taken to contain the spread of infection. Persons with disabilities should be provided reasonable accommodations that afford meaningful access to information and an equal opportunity to benefit from the treatment. See the full guidance here.


COVID-19 adds an additional layer of challenges for those struggling with recovery - recovery requires connection. In response, IDHS has gathered extensive digital recovery support resources, so that people can connect virtually with the support networks that are crucial to their well-being and recovery efforts. Online meetings, calls, chat rooms - these work for many people already in recovery. You can access these services by visiting dhs.illinois.gov/helpishere and choosing "recovery," or by calling 1-833-2-FIND-HELP.


Last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services launched "Call4Calm," a free of charge emotional support text line designed to help Illinoisans experiencing stress related to COVID-19. People can text "TALK" (or "HABLAR" for Spanish) to 552020 to receive a call from a caring counselor in a community mental health center who can be a listening ear for the challenges people are now experiencing.

In addition, the text number can help Illinoisans find help and guidance on other critical issues during the pandemic. Residents can text keywords like "UNEMPLOYMENT," "FOOD," or "SHELTER," to 552020 to receive additional information in response.

"Call4Calm" is not a crisis line; if you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, please call 911.


IDHS local offices remain closed to the public to protect the safety of their customers and staff while helping to flatten the curve. Customers are reminded that all benefit application and management actions can currently be accomplished online or via phone. Anyone interested in learning about IDHS services should visit dhs.illinois.gov/helpishere or call toll free at 1-833-2-FIND-HELP (1-833-234-6343).

Those who are wishing to sign up for benefits or to manage existing benefits should visit abe.illinois.gov.


IDHS is committed to helping Illinois' at-risk youths by giving them the opportunity to participate in the Illinois Youth Investment Program. This program was specifically established to empower and support young people along their journey toward long-term, career employment.

Providers interested in receiving funding to participate in this program can learn more here.

The submission date has been extended to Wednesday, July 1, 2020. There will also be a webinar on June 1, 2020; more information on the webinar and how to register can be found on this webpage.


IDHS recognizes that now, more than ever, it is our duty to ensure that each person in need of support, care, and comfort can receive services without the worry of being treated differently because of the color of their skin, their disability, or the amount of money they have.

To that end, the Governor's Office and several State agencies, including IDHS, collaborated last month to put together a document titled "Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)" which you can view by clicking here.

This guidance includes recommendations for healthcare providers to ensure that fairness and equity are incorporated into the delivery of care during this time. Whether it is providing a reasonable accommodation, being conscious of our biases, or reaching out to underrepresented communities, there are many steps we can take to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equitably during this public health emergency.