Coronavirus Updates

General tips for how to survive the Covid-19 isolation period

Dear clients, prospective clients, and friends. This is a difficult and seemingly desperate time for many people and business owners. I want to provide some basic financial advice about what to do and not to do during this time. As a bankruptcy attorney, I deal with many people and business owners on the brink of financial turmoil every day. Many people are finding themselves out of work at this time and may need help prioritizing their finances. Here are some basic tips.

*please note that everyone's situation is unique and if you have specific questions about your situation please call me.

All phone calls and initial consultations are always FREE.



Do NOT cash out retirement accounts.

DO prioritize payments to creditors carefully. Food and bare essentials first. Then basic housing expenses.

But first reach out to your landlord and see if you can ask for an extension on rent if necessary.

If you have a mortgage, immediately go online to their loss mitigation options. They probably have a new link for forebearance/type payment plans or options.

Reach out to utility companies- Comed and People’s Gas or Nicor and ask for a hardship extension on payments. Again, their websites likely have new resources for people.

Lost your job? Immediately apply for unemployment benefits online. Ask about short term insurance payments if you have any. Have a whole life insurance policy? Check your cash surrender value.

Student loan payments should immediately be deferred or placed on forbearance during this time if possible. Try to keep a basic cash savings of minimum $1,000 for emergencies.

Do NOT pay any medical bills from BIG hospitals in full. Immediately request a payment plan.

Tickets from the city? Call and ask for an extension of time to pay fines and tickets. This also applies to court fines.

Tolls owed to the tollway authority? Apply for a hardship settlement.

Owe the IRS? Call the taxpayer advocate center and immediately submit hardship documents showing that payments to the IRS will make it impossible for you to maintain a minimum standard of living. Same with state tax debt.

Credit cards come last. They should not be a priority unless your basic living expenses are met. Ask for payment deferments but expect all lines of credit to be shut down quickly.

Finally, ask for help. Ask questions, stay INDOORS and stay safe.

Focus on family and friends and above all prioritize kindness and compassion to others.

I have now compiled a list of resources to help people who live in Illinois.

Please go through the list asap to see if you qualify for any assistance if you need it.

1. Apply for unemployment benefits: Illinois Dept of Unemployment Security

2. Navigate the SBA (Small Business Association) site for additional help: SBA Relief

3. Facebook has announced a Facebook Small Business Grants Program that you can apply for: FB Small Business Grants

4. General advice from the consumer protection bureau: Consumer Protection Bureau

5. IRS tax relief help including a NEW tax deadline of July 15th: IRS Tax Relief

6. Information from Navient for student loan relief: Navient

7. General student loan relief information: General Student Loan Relief

8. Bartender Emergency Assistance Program: Bartender Emergency Assistance

9. Emergency Rental assistance from the City of Chicago: City of Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance

10. Illinois Domestic Violence hotline: Domestic Violence Hotline

11. Recommendations from the CDC on how to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus: Protecting Yourself from COVID-19

12. A good list of resources from the Illinois Health and Hospital Association: Resources from the Illinois Health and Hospital Association

13. The City of Chicago press release on the Coronavirus with many links to other resouces: City of Chicago’s Response to COVID-189 Crisis

14. A very important link from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with resources for kids to do work while out of school: Chicago Public Schools Resources for COVID-19 Crisis

15. The most up to date statistics on the Coronavirus here in Illinois: Up to Date Illinois Statics on COVID-19 Crisis

16. Here is a State of Illinois COVID-19 household checklist to prepare your home for an outbreak: State of Illinois Household Preparation Checklist

17. State of Illinois Childcare assistance programs: State of Illinois Childcare Assistance

18. Look into Nicor Gas Energy Assistance programs: Nicor Gas Energy Assistance

19. Apply for Financial and energy assistance on the Peoples Gas site: Peoples Gas Energy Assistance

20. Apply for SNAP (food stamps) and medical assistance through the State of Illinois: SNAP Benefits

21. Find out if your mortgage is an FHA back mortgage. If so, HUD is providing immediate relief for homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions for the next 60 days. Call your mortgage company to ask about this program. Find out who backs your mortgage: Look up your mortgage

More info here: HUD Coronavirus info

22. A nationwide emergency has been declared for COVID-19. This increases federal support to the US Department of Health and Human Resources. Find out about more programs at:

23. Citibank is providing assistance for 30 days for customers. CITI website

24. Look up legal aid providers in Cook County for legal assitance: Legal Aid sites

25. Illinois Legal Aid Online has a directory of services that can help: Legal issues during the Coronavirus

26. New Legislation will be passed soon that will help individuals and business owners. Follow all the latest news to see what will be in the law, including relief for small businesses, tax credits for individuals, and an increase in unemployment benefits for many people.
Info on new bill

27. Are you a lawyer and need help managing your practice during this time? Here are some resources for attorneys.
Lawyer resources

28. The ONE FAIR WAGE campaign has launched an emergency cash relief fund and is offering $213.00 in cash for any tipped worker affected.

29. The Sweet Relief Musician's fund is providing immediate assistance through a donor directed fund for musicians and music industry workers affected by the Coronavirus.
Sweet Relief Musician Fund

30. The Musicians Foundation Fund helps musicians who have worked in the US as professional musicians for at least 5 years. Musicians Foundation

31. The Craft Emergency Relief Fund is offering assistance to established artists working in a craft discipline. Craft Emergency Fund

32. PEN AMERICA is offering a Writers' Emergency fund.
Pen America Fund

33. The Illinois Hispanic Chamber Commerce can help your business apply for an emergency SBA loan.
IL Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

34. The SCORE small business mentoring organization is offering help and resources on their webpage.
SCORE assistance

35. The US Chamber of Commerce has a great list of resources and articles to help small business owners.
US Chamber of Commerce

36. The IRS has a new Coronavirus page that can answer your questions about the new tax credits and more.

37. The National Cyber Security Alliance has resources on their site to keep you and your business safe from scams.
Cyber Security