Steve New Newsletter

State releases new guidelines for claiming unemployment benefits

People filing claims for unemployment benefits in Illinois are being asked to adhere to an alphabetized schedule because of overwhelming phone and internet traffic.

The state's Department of Employment Security is also issuing a reminder that the day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not affect whether claims are approved or benefit amounts.

Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which claimants were laid-off or let go from their jobs due to COVID-19. More information is available at the IDES website.

econ assistance

Stadelman, West highlight emergency grants and loans for small businesses

State Senator Steve Stadelman and State Rep. Maurice West today detailed three new emergency assistance programs geared toward providing immediate economic assistance to small businesses in communities across Winnebago County that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The economy in this community is driven by small businesses, and small businesses are often owned and run by a single individual or family," Stadelman said during a media opportunity at Salamone's restaurant in downtown Cherry Valley. "As we continue to see corporate investment at the federal level, it’s refreshing to see the state of Illinois prioritizing these businesses and recognizing that their needs are significantly different than the needs of massive corporations during this uncertain time.”

Added West, "We're moving in uncharted territories at this time, and it's important for the government to provide support as much as possible. I want to make sure all of our businesses in the Rockford region apply for the programs they are eligible for."

Stadelman and West were joined restaurant owner Rosalie Salamone, who shared the impact of the global health crisis on her family's business.

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Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

To help hospitality businesses make ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is launching the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. Bars, restaurants and hotels can access $14 million in grants to support working capital (rent, payroll and other accounts payable), job training (such as new practices related to take out, delivery and sanitation) and technology enabling new operations.

Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000. Hotels that generated less than $8 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000. Funding for the new program comes from money originally budgeted for tourism promotion, job training and other purposes.

Application deadline is 5 p.m. April 1.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is repurposing $20 million in federal funds to establish the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. This Fund will offer small businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. These grants will be offered on a rolling basis.

Application period opens March 27.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

The $60 million program will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in every industry outside of Chicago. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and then begin making fixed payments at 3-percent interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

Application period opens March 27.

To submit applications or obtain additional information on the three programs, visit the DCEO website.