IDHS expanding services by phone and online; 14 offices will remain open

Today, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is announcing that, starting tomorrow, Monday, March 30, 14 Family Community Resource Centers (FCRC) will remain open with reduced staff to balance the need to provide essential services while meeting Center for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus situation. FCRCs are the public facing benefits offices that bring nutrition and medical supports to individuals and families across the state. IDHS urges all customers to apply for and manage their benefits online at ABE.illinois.gov or by calling the IDHS Help is Here toll-free line at 1-833-2-FIND-HELP. IDHS will keep both its customers and employees updated as to rotations to other open offices or any further office closures.  IDHS’s ultimate goal is to have as few FCRC offices open as possible, while still ensuring that all customers are able to receive their life-sustaining benefits.  For those offices that remain open, IDHS will continue to take steps to ensure social distancing, customer and employee safety. The 14 of the 75 public facing FCRCs remining open will have a reduced workforce of 30%-50% of staff. Staff who are not working at the public-facing offices will continue working remotely to process important benefits, and over 80 in-person local office caseworkers will become statewide ABE (Access to Benefits Electronically) call center agents in addition to the nearly 100 call center agents that are already in place.
The department developed these changes in partnership with AFSCME Council 31, other bargaining units, and advocacy organizations across the state. On March 19, all Division of Rehabilitation Services’ (DRS) Offices were closed to the public and all Home Services and Vocational Rehabilitation programs were shifted to remote access.

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