6/25/20 - IDHS Weekly Bulletin

6/26/2020

DON'T MISS OUT - FOOD BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS

Earlier this year, IDHS sought and received federal approval to administer the Pandemic Emergency Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which provides funds to help Illinois families buy food for school-aged children who would receive free or reduced-priced meals when schools are in session. Although school has ended for the year, families can still apply for P-EBT until July 15th. Eligible families are entitled to $5.70 per child per school day missed.

If your household currently receives SNAP benefits and has eligible students, they are automatically enrolled and no application is needed. IDHS adds P-EBT benefits for these households onto families' existing LINK cards.

If your household does not currently receive SNAP benefits, but includes students who may qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, you can apply for P-EBT benefits until July 15th. Households can receive P-EBT benefits back to the point at which their students became eligible for P-EBT. Please visit abe.illinois.gov to learn more or apply with the abbreviated form.

IDHS VIRTUAL JOB FAIRS

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is hiring! Tune in to one of their virtual job fairs or recruiting events to learn more about employment with the agency. A list of all employment events can be found at this site: Job Fairs and Recruiting Events, with the next events scheduled for this Tuesday, June 30th. IDHS hopes to see you there!

EQUITY-DRIVEN COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS GRANTS

Last week, Governor JB Pritzker announced a $900 million package of State grant programs to support communities and businesses impacted by the pandemic and recent civil unrest, including $32.5M for the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to support small businesses, working families, and many urgent needs in Illinois' Black and Brown communities. These funds will be used for strategies to put unemployed adults to work, provide youth services, get extra funding to food banks, provide mental health services, assist in healing and restorative justice, and provide families in need with additional food security during these uncertain times. IDHS providers who work in these areas can expect further, detailed information from our divisions, and we thank our hard-working provider network for their flexibility in these times of increased need.

You can find the full announcement on the Governor's Website.

VISITATIONS AT DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILTY FACILITIES

Last week the Illinois Department of Public Health released new guidance, allowing for outdoor visitations at long-term care facilities, which include larger congregate settings and State-operated facilities for those serving individuals with developmental disabilities.

Visits must be limited to outdoor areas only. Visitors are required to schedule an appointment with the facility ahead of time, be screened with the CDC symptom checklist prior to visitor's arrival, and wear a face covering.

SNAP SUPPLEMENTS AND ONLINE PURCHASING

The federal government approved continued Emergency Allotments through June for all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. These allotments ensure that families receive maximum SNAP funds for their household size during the pandemic. No action is required by the customer, and June 2020 SNAP Emergency Allotments will become available to active SNAP households between 06/19/20 and 06/30/2020.

IDHS is also proud to now offer online purchasing for groceries for more than 1.9 million SNAP customers across roughly one million households.

Amazon and Walmart are the first retailers to provide online SNAP in Illinois as this program gets started. IDHS is also encouraging other grocery retailers to participate to deepen and broaden the reach of this program across Illinois communities.

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.

To apply for SNAP benefits, please visit abe.illinois.gov.

CALL 4 CALM

The Illinois Department of Human Services continues to administer "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.

CENSUS

Every person in Illinois needs to be counted! The IDHS Census Office's May Report indicates "As of April 27, 2020, Illinois ranked ninth in the country for Census self-response rates." Legislators and constituents can learn more about response rates in their areas by visiting the U.S. Census Bureau's (USCB) Response Rates page.

As a reminder, the U.S. Census Bureau extended the self-response deadline to Oct 31, 2020. 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.