IDHS Communications

Secretary Hou released a letter today to providers regarding the CARES relief package, asking providers to report if they have applied for the funds.  Here is the letter.

IDHS Announces Distribution of 16,000 Mask through IARF

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Divisions of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), Mental Health (DMH), and Substance Use, Prevention and Recovery (SUPR), in conjunction with the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Services (IARF), will be distributing 16,000 masks (KN95 and/or Surgical) to community-based residential providers, free of charge, across the state of Illinois.  Interested providers should complete the online request form here. IARF will arrange for provider pick up or will send via FedEx by the provider’s expense. Distribution will be based on IDHS specific guidelines provided to IARF.  A special thanks to the Steans Family Foundation for their contribution.


From The Arc of the United States

Action Alerts

#WeAreEssential: Tell Congress to Include the Disability Community in COVID-19 Relief Bills!


Major Events Ahead

Interim Coronavirus Bill Could Advance This Week; Other Package Under Development

The House and Senate could vote this week on a new coronavirus aid package that is being negotiated by the White House and Congressional negotiators. Initial reports of the deal include $300 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders continue work on another package that could be voted on in early May. The Arc’s priorities for that measure include:

  • Grants to support access to home and community-based services (to minimize the risk of people with disabilities being forced into institutions) and to support the direct support professional (DSP) workforce
  • Personal Protective Equipment for DSPs
  • Paid leave and sick days for family caregivers of adults with disabilities

See action alerts above.

COVID-19 “Package 3.5”

Please see below with more specifics about the COVID-19 “Package 3.5” that is moving through Congress.   The bill outlined below passed the Senate today and we anticipate a vote in the House on Thursday, and given the Administration’s participation in the negotiations  we expect it to be signed into law immediately.  Once this interim emergency package becomes law it will be even more important to be reaching out to legislators about the need for the HCBS grants as they turn full attention to the next package. Thank you for all you are already doing to share that message. We hope for movement on package 4 as soon as Congress is back, currently scheduled for May 4, 2020.

The interim Covid legislation (referred to as Covid 3.5) has two parts:

  • Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act of 2020  which adds $300 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program  (PPP) for a total of  $659 billion for small businesses (including nonprofits).  It increases access to the PPP for small, minority, and women owned businesses by creating a set-aside for Insured depository institutions, credit unions, and community financial institutions. It also adds $10 billion for the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Grants for a total of $20 billion.  See here for the summary.
  • Hospital and Testing which provides$75 billion for reimbursement for hospitals and healthcare providers and $25 billion for testing capacity, of which $11 billion is for states, localities, etc for testing and tracking capacity; and up to $1 billion may be used to cover costs of testing for the uninsured.  See here for the summary.


Treasury Department Announces Automatic Stimulus Payments for SSI Recipients

On April 15, the Treasury Department announced that people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Treasury Department’s initial plan was to require individuals receiving SSI to file or have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019. Payments will be made via the same method by which an individual receives SSI. Read The Arc’s statement and see the updated fact sheet.

Education Funding Available for Governors to Address COVID-19

Last week, the Department of Education released the application for the $3 billion available from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. See funds available to each state here. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27, includes flexible funding that can be used for several purposes, including serving students with disabilities. The package provides $13.5 billion to state departments of education for K-12 education to be spent over the next 18 months and gives governors $3 billion to use at their discretion to assist K-12 and higher education as they deal with the effects of the pandemic. Advocates are encouraged to reach out to their governors to direct as much funding as possible to meeting the needs of students with disabilities in their state.