- Published: Tuesday, August 10, 2021 11:08 AM
There are a number of new programs and service changes available to help you and your family.
I hope you take advantage of these opportunities or pass the information along to someone who might benefit. As always, my staff is available to help answer questions and provide assistance however we can—just reach out to us at 773-869-9050 or SenatorTonyMunoz.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!
State Senator | 1st District
Internet service discounts available for low-income families
More than 1.1 million Illinoisans lack access to at-home internet services. To help close the digital divide, the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit program offers a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible low-income households, plus a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a device. Apply now at FCC.gov/BroadbandBenefit or call (833) 511-0311.
SBA launches streamlined loan relief application
Starting Aug. 4, the U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program loans of $150,000 or less to apply for forgiveness directly. Call (877) 552-2692, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. for help with your application.
Summer book club extension
I have extended the deadline to turn in book club forms to Aug. 30. The Summer Reading Club requires students to read eight books of their choice during the summer break, record the names of the books and return the form to my office. Everyone who completes the Summer Reading Club will receive a gift card and certificate from myself.
To receive a book club form, visit SenatorMunoz.com to download and print the form. Parents can also contact the district office at 773-869-9050.
Get REAL ID-ready by spring 2023
The federal Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for residents to get a REAL ID due to the pandemic. Airports will continue to accept current state IDs and driver’s license until the new May 3, 2023 deadline. Learn more about REAL ID and how to apply for one at REALID.ilsos.gov.
All aboard! Amtrak resumes full train service
The Illinois Department of Transportation announced last week that Amtrak is returning to its full pre-pandemic schedule. Trains run the length of the state from Chicago to St. Louis, Quincy and Carbondale. Visit Amtrak.com/Midwest for routes.
Secretary of state initiatives to help cut down on crowds
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced two strategies to help reduce crowding and wait times for residents visiting driver services facilities:
- Beginning in September, more Chicago-area facilities will implement appointment scheduling systems, with central Illinois and downstate facilities soon to follow suit. Appointments can be made up to 10 days ahead of time at www.cyberdriveillinois.com or (844) 817-4649.
- Beginning in September and running through February 2022, the secretary of state’s office will expand remote renewal for driver’s license and ID card holders. Eligible customers will automatically receive letters with instructions to renew documents online, by phone or by mail.
As a reminder, all driver’s license and ID card expiration dates have been extended to Jan. 1, 2022, and all visitors to secretary of state facilities—vaccinated or unvaccinated—are required to wear masks starting Monday, Aug. 2.