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Cunningham announces expanded benefit opportunities for seniors

Published: Wednesday, January 08, 2020 11:32 AM

seniors 010820SPRINGFIELD – More seniors will be eligible for certain state benefits under new changes implemented by the Illinois Department on Aging, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced Tuesday.

“Many seniors live on a fixed income, and we need to ensure that all of them have access to the benefits they need,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This program provides valuable assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in our state. Expanding its availability is simply the right thing to do.”

The new rules increase annual income limits to participate in the Benefits Access Program, which includes the Secretary of State license plate discount, seniors ride free transit benefit and persons with disabilities ride free transit benefit. Eligibility for the program is now determined by income as follows:

  • For households containing one person, an annual income of less than $33,562
  • For households containing two persons, an annual income of less than $44,533
  • For households containing three or more persons, an annual income of less than $55,500

For applications submitted between January 1 and April 15, income amounts from 2018 will be used to determine eligibility. For applications submitted after April 15, income amounts from 2019 will be used.

The changes come as part of the bipartisan budget implementation bill passed by the General Assembly last spring. This is the first time the annual income limits for the program have been increased since 2010.

Applications may be submitted online at www.illinois.gov/aging under the “Benefit Access” tab. For assistance, call the Illinois Department on Aging Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 1-888-206-1327).

Lightford reminds businesses of minimum wage tax credit

Published: Monday, January 06, 2020 11:51 AM

min wg tx cred 010620SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) reminds small businesses to take advantage of the minimum wage credit starting this year. The new tax credit is intended to help small businesses over the next six years as a part of the state’s minimum wage increase plan.

“Keeping small businesses competitive is a priority when increasing the minimum wage,” Lightford said. “I encourage businesses to take full advantage of this tax credit to ease their transition.”

Businesses and nonprofits with 50 full-time employees or less are eligible to offset a portion of the minimum wage increase cost from their withholding income taxes. Eligible businesses can claim this credit by filing Form IL-941, Illinois withholding income tax return, and a new schedule.

Belt helps create military liaison for IDFPR

Published: Monday, January 06, 2020 11:42 AM

belt 010620SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) sponsored an initiative that lead to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation hiring its first military liaison to help military families through the licensure process.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation created a military liaison position to help service members and their spouses navigate the licensure process. The military liaison will enhance communication and improve the overall application process for service members and spouses when they choose to work in Illinois. If military families provide all the necessary documents in their license applications, IDFPR can expedite their licensure within 60 days.

More seniors eligible for transportation assistance in 2020

Published: Friday, January 03, 2020 02:45 PM

Sen. Laura FineSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department on Aging has adjusted its annual income eligibility limits for the Benefit Access Program, allowing more seniors to qualify to receive transportation assistance in 2020.

“This is the first income limit increase since 2010, despite the rising cost of living,” said State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview). “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m glad to see that our most vulnerable seniors will now be able to get help with their transportation needs.”

The Benefit Access Program includes the Secretary of State License Plate Discount, the Seniors Ride Free Transit Benefit and the Persons with Disabilities Free Transit Ride. The services aim to help older adults live independently by improving their transportation options.

For applications submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2020, the new annual income limit for a two-person household is $44,533. This is an increase of nearly $8,000 from the previous income limit.

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