Thousands of suburban Cook County residents experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for $600 payments as part of a new assistance program announced Monday.
The one-time payments will go to roughly 3,000 households "to support residents whose income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level prior to March 1, 2020," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other county officials announced.
"Many families are having a hard time making ends meet due to job loss during the pandemic. With the unemployment numbers rising and many workers furloughed, it’s becoming impossible to live check by check,” Preckwinkle said in a statement. "This program will offer relief to more than 3,000 residents who are experiencing financial hardship and provide some assistance for those who are struggling to pay bills or take care of essential needs.”
The $2.1 million Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Resident Cash Assistance Program will be funded by the Federal Cares Act, Preckwinkle said.
The application process launched Monday and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 6.
To qualify, applicants must be a resident of suburban Cook County and will need to provide the following documents:
- One form of government issued identification that includes your current residential address or two alternative forms of identification
- Proof of your COVID-19 hardship due to unpaid leave, care for vulnerable or infected relatives, or loss of wages due to business or school closures.
- Proof of household income meeting eligibility requirements.
- Bank information including account and routing number if you choose to direct deposit. You can typically find this on a check.
Residents can also apply for water, heat, gas and electric assistance under utility assistance programs. That application process closes at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 30.
More information on either program can be found here.
The announcement of the cash assistance program comes on the same day Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced heightened restrictions for suburban Cook County as the region's metrics continue to rise.
Region 10, which holds all but Chicago in Cook County, will see the suspension of indoor dining and bar service, among other limitations, put in place Wednesday as the area became the first in Illinois to trigger the state's mitigation plan in multiple metrics simultaneously.
"Region 10.... is the first region in Illinois to earn additional mitigations not because of its positivity rate alone, but because its positivity rate and its COVID-related hospitalizations have both seen a sustained increase over the last 10 days," Pritzker said in a statement.