COVID-19

On this page we will be updating our clients and the public concerning legal developments of interest pertaining to the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak.

June 1, 2020:

"Shelter-in-Place Order Prompts More Domestic Violence Incidents"

COVID-19 and the various shelter-in-place orders across the country have led to several unforeseeable consequences, including a rise in domestic violence. While being faced with a pandemic, most everyone these days is under enormous amounts of stress whether it be about getting sick, financial issues due to the pandemic, or dealing with the loss of a loved one. These stressors, along with the shelter-in-place order, have led to an uptick in domestic violence incidents in Illinois.

Full article by Attorney Toni Conrad is available here.

May 28, 2020:

"Collection Proceedings During the Time of COVID-19"

Whether you have a money judgment that was entered against you, or you are attempting to enforce a money judgment against someone else, the restrictions put in place in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted some of the procedures typically used to collect such a judgment. 

Full article by Attorney Neal Kitterlin is available here.

May 27, 2020:

"Initial steps to divorce pending Covid-19"

Family law in the time of a pandemic brings about additional questions surrounding parenting time, financial obligations, and asset distribution. Additionally, while we are told to stay at home, some people find themselves in an anxious, harmful, or otherwise unstable home life. Attorney Karina Keshokova breaks down the divorce process during this uncertain time.

Full article by Attorney Karina Keshokova is available here.

May 22, 2020:

"Chicago Tenants: Know Your Rights During COVID"

These are truly unprecedented times and tenants in Chicago need to know their rights under law as well as how their rights are affected by the resulting executive orders and disaster proclamations issued by Governor J.B. Pritzker. Attorney Conor Grealish lays out five crucial things that Chicago tenants should know during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full article by Attorney Conor Grealish is available here.

May 20, 2020:

"Estate Planning and Notarizations During the Coronavirus Pandemic"

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many people to think about estate planning and establishing a plan to take care of their loved ones. A benefit of the additional time people have with their family is that it allows for everyone to discuss a long-term care plan. Many people are taking advantage of their free time now to come up with a comprehensive estate plan. Even if you already have estate planning documents, now would be a good time to review and make changes to them. It is recommended that an estate plan be reviewed every three years. 

Full article by Attorney Maryam Hassani is available here.

April 29, 2020:

"Can I be arrested for violating the Stay at Home order?"

With the unprecedented impact the novel Coronavirus has made, many citizens in Illinois are left with questions and concerns about the stay at home order currently in place. Attorney Bradley Fuller of Illinois Advocates LLC is here to break down some of those questions and discuss your rights as a citizen. In this video, Attorney Fuller will discuss just how constitutional the stay at home order is, how the stay at home order may be enforced, and how Illinois Advocates is here to help you.

Full article by Attorney Bradley Fuller is available here.

 

Illinois Advocates, LLC launches remote (“tele-lawyer”) low bono consultations for those adversely impacted by the Covid-19 emergency

March 23, 2020

Effective March 23, 2020, Illinois Advocates is accepting appointments for legal consultations to those adversely affected by Covid-19. Attorneys concentrating in employment, debt problems/bankruptcy, and housing issues are standing by to assist. Click here to seek legal assistance for the following:

• Advice regarding unemployment benefits for those laid off or furloughed.

• Advice regarding wrongful termination of employment.

• Advice regarding taking time off of work, including family medical leave, and the new paid sick leave entitlements passed by Congress earlier this month.

• Coronavirus exposure workplace safety concerns. Particularly in the jobs with high exposure risk such as medical and retail.

•  Debt problems and bankruptcy for those unexpectedly experiencing a loss of income.

• Housing issues, including eviction and foreclosure. Many suddenly find themselves unable to pay their rent or mortgage. New laws, governmental directives, and guidance are having sweeping impacts on these areas. Some need to preserve the roof over their head, and others need to move out swiftly to cut down on bills or care for others.

 

If you have questions concerning these or other legal issues stemming from Covid-19, please click here to set up your thirty minute consultation with an attorney. As a service to the public, we are currently offering these consultations at $35.00.


Schedule consultation now.

*If you decide to retain Illinois Advocates, LLC for further legal services, you will receive a credit in the amount of your consultation fee paid.*

Illinois Advocates, LLC responds to Covid-19.

We are open and ready to serve our clients – safely.

On March 20, 2020, the Governor of Illinois issued a “stay at home” order requiring non-essential businesses to close their physical operations. The order deems providers of legal services, such as Illinois Advocates, “essential.” It was justified and correct for the Governor of Illinois to recognize that legal service providers are essential. Indeed the Covid-19 outbreak will increase, not decrease, the need for vital legal services. Of course, public health considerations are of paramount importance at this time. Therefore Illinois Advocates will continue serving the community while doing everything feasible to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 to its employees, clients, service providers, suppliers, and the public at large.

In accordance with the guidance of governmental and health authorities, Illinois Advocates has taken steps to minimize in-office staff, with the majority of attorneys and staff now working from home. As a tech-forward firm that was built upon modern cloud-based technologies, our firm was well-positioned to make this adjustment swiftly and securely. Attorneys and staff at Illinois Advocates have also re-tooled several processes that will allow us to serve our clients remotely, so as to avoid unnecessary exposure risk to our clients. Given the breadth of our practice, and the extent to which “in person” meetings are embedded into traditional practice areas, there are some challenges to overcome (for example witnessing of wills, real estate closings, and notarization). These challenges have solutions however, and we are working rapidly to deploy them. Good citizenship requires no less of us. Thus Illinois Advocates has and remains fully open, and we are ready to serve our clients during this crucial time.

If you are a client of Illinois Advocates, you may continue to reach us in the same manner as you did before.

Providing crucial legal services during these times

We are mindful that there will be an increased need for legal matters around termination of employment, workplace safety concerning Coronavirus exposure, debt problems, bankruptcy, and estate planning. These areas are seeing major changes daily as elements at every level of government invoke new laws, rule changes, and directives in response to Covid-19.

Every American business has a role to play in these times. Illinois Advocates was founded to level the playing field for the working class. It is no secret that our legal system is skewed toward wealthy individuals and corporations who can afford to staff in-house counsel and hire attorneys at high hourly rates. At Illinois Advocates we are constantly seeking ways to provide the general public with affordable, practical answers and solutions to their legal problems. In furtherance of our mission, we will today begin offering low-cost (“low bono”) legal consultations for any individual impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. We are offering this at $35.00, well below our cost, as a service to the public. Anyone who needs help may click here to schedule their consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Unemployment Benefits and Covid-19

March 20, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing many businesses in Illinois to close or layoff staff.   Additionally, Employers are requiring many workers to work remotely.  Unfortunately, there are many jobs that cannot be done from home.  Restaurant workers, other “non-essential” service providers, artists, entertainers, event planners, and more suddenly find themselves out of work, as many employers are unable or unwilling to continue paying their wages.  If you find yourself suddenly out of work, and therefore, out of a paycheck, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, unemployment benefits may help make ends meet during this troubling time.  Governor Pritzker has announced that individuals unemployed due to COVID-19 can generally qualify for unemployment benefits to the full extent permitted by law.  Similarly, the federal government has increased funding for state unemployment programs, with some funds tied to states’ willingness to streamline the process.

See our FAQ below, or call Illinois Advocates at 312-818-6700 or use our scheduling website via Calendly for a low-cost consultation.

Illinois Unemployment FAQ

I have never filed for unemployment before.  How do I get started?

  • Start by visiting the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)’s Website at https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/individuals/UnemploymentInsurance/Pages/default.aspx.  You will need to enter a user name and password, and then continue to the online application for benefits. 
  • You can also call IDES at 1-800-244-5631 to apply. Due to COVID-19, all local offices are currently closed for in-person applications.

How much are unemployment benefits?

  • Your weekly benefit payment is calculated based on a percentage of your average weekly wage.  IDES will look at the two highest-earning quarters out of the last 5 quarters you were employed to determine your average weekly wage.
  • See http://www.ides.illinois.gov/IDES%20Forms%20and%20Publications/CLI110L.pdf for a chart of benefit calculations. 
  • Maximum benefits for a single individual are $471 per week.  If you are married or have children, it can be slightly more, up to $561 with a spouse and $648 with children.  Payments are made bi-weekly either to a debit card or via direct deposit.
  • Currently, individuals are able to receive up to 26 weeks of benefits, though the Pritzker Administration is working to expand that for workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19.

When will I be considered eligible for unemployment benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • An individual is usually eligible for benefits if they become unemployed through no fault of their own.  The IDES COVID-19 emergency rules consider a person to be unemployed through no fault of their own when:
    • They are laid off by their employer due to COVID-19
    • They are diagnosed with COVID-19 or must care for a loved one who has been diagnosed, or has been quarantined by the government
    • They must stay home with a child who is home from school which is closed due to COVID-19. 
  • There is normally a waiting period of one week from the week in which the individual last worked before benefits can begin, however, this waiting period has been waived for workers who become unemployed due to COVID-19.
  • However, an individual will NOT be considered eligible for benefits if they quit their job because of fear of exposure to COVID-19.

What if I am temporarily furloughed because of the impact of COVID-19 on my workplace?

  • You would qualify for benefits until you are able to work again, up to the maximum number of weeks allowed (currently 26).  You must either (a) remain able and available to return to work as soon as your employer is ready to re-hire you; or (b) actively search for other employment opportunities while receiving benefits.

My employer calls me an “independent contractor.”  Do I still qualify for benefits?

  • You might.  For purposes of unemployment in Illinois, all workers are eligible for benefits as “employees” unless the work meets all three of the following tests:
    • The worker is free from control or direction in the performance of the work;
    • The work performed by the worker is outside the usual course of business of the paying employer; and
    • The work is part of an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business.
  • If your employer sets terms and conditions of your work, such as work hours, work location, and materials used, it cannot meet the first test, and you should be eligible for benefits. 

What if my employer reduces my hours?  Will I be eligible for any benefits?

  • If your employer reduces your hours such that you are working part-time hours and earning less than the weekly benefit amount you would otherwise be eligible for, you should be eligible for partial benefits.
  • The partial benefits available to any part-time worker is your weekly benefit amount minus any amount you made over 50% of your weekly amount.  For example:
    • You are eligible for a weekly benefit of $400
    • You earn $300 working part-time
    • You have therefore earned $100 more than 50% of your benefit amount
    • So your benefits for that week will be $400 minus $100 or $300. 
  • If you qualify for partial benefits, your employer will need to submit a “Low Earnings Report” to the IDES for each week you earn less than your weekly benefit amount.
  • If you earn more than your weekly benefit amount in any given week, from all sources of eligible income, you will not be eligible for benefits for that week. 

What if I can still work a part time job?

  • If your hours are reduced for any reason by any employer to less than your weekly benefit amount, you can qualify for partial benefits as explained above. 
  • For example, if you are laid off and take a part time job as a delivery driver during the pandemic, you can still collect partial benefits if you make less than your weekly benefit amount.

What if I am a union member working under a Collective Bargaining Agreement?

  • Your CBA may have provisions for loss of work related to “force majeure” or similar acts outside the control of the employer.  Check with your union.
  • Even if you work under a CBA, if you are out of work, you are still eligible for benefits.  Keep in mind, if your union eventually negotiates backpay for you, you may have to pay back to IDES any benefits you received for those week(s).

Do I have to search for other jobs while I am unemployed?

  • Normally yes, you must actively seek work and report your search to the IDES in order to receive benefits.  However, emergency rules put out by IDES pertaining to COVID-19 state that if an individual is laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the individual will be considered to be actively seeking work as long as the individual was prepared to return to his or her job as soon the employer reopens.
  • However, if you are at home and not working because of you own illness or to care for others, rather than having been laid off, you may be required to search for work that can be done in the home, if it is available.

What if my benefits are denied?

  • You always have the right to appeal, though the time limits are very short. If you are denied, call Illinois Advocates today to discuss whether our low-cost representation would be right for you.  

If you find yourself out of work due to COVID-19, you may have options.  Unemployment benefits may be one of them.  Keep checking our website for updates on Sick leave, Reasonable Accommodations for employees working at home, and more resources for the worker who is now stranded by COVID-19.

If you have concerns about your legal rights, schedule your low-cost consultation today via Calendly or call Illinois Advocates at (312) 818-6700 today.