April 06, 2020
EXECUTIVE ORDER IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 18
WHEREAS, in late 2019, a new and significant outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged; and,
WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a novel severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among people through respiratory transmissions and present with symptoms similar to influenza; and,
WHEREAS, certain populations are at a higher risk of experiencing more severe illness as a result of COVID-19, including older adults and people who have serious chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, or other mental or physical conditions; and,
WHEREAS, despite efforts to contain COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have declared that it is expected to spread; and,
WHEREAS, I, JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois, declared all counties in the State of Illinois as a disaster area on March 9, 2020 (First Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation); and,
WHEREAS, I again declared all counties in the State of Illinois as a disaster area on April 1, 2020 (Second Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, and, together with the First Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations) in response to the exponential spread of COVID-19; and,
WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, WHO characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic; and,
WHEREAS, the CDC recommends critical mitigation measures including social distancing, which consists of maintaining at least a six-foot distance between people and is the paramount strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities; and,
WHERAS, throughout the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, residents of Illinois must have access to critical public assistance benefits, including cash, food and nutrition services, and medical assistance, and,
WHEREAS, in order to balance the urgent economic and medical needs of residents facing job losses and food insecurity with the need to ensure compliance with extremely serious public health directives and to safeguard the health of State employees, the State Department of Human Services has expanded services by telephone and online, while closing all but thirteen Family and Community Resource Centers; and,
WHEREAS, the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act and federal law, including “electronic signature” provisions, currently require that applications for public assistance received by the State by mail must contain the applicant’s written signature and that applications made by telephone must include an audio recording of the applicant’s voice as a telephonic signature; and,
WHEREAS, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service has granted the State a waiver, currently effective through May 31, 2020, relieving the State of the requirement to create an audio recording of the client attestation on telephone applications for food and nutrition services, and permitting a verbal attestation by telephone for unsigned applications received by mail; and,
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be notified in accordance with applicable procedures that applications for medical assistance will be handled in a manner consistent with the procedures approved by the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services;
THEREFORE, by the powers vested in me as the Governor of the State of Illinois, and pursuant to Sections 7(1), 7(2), 7(3), 7(8) and 7(12) of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305, I hereby Order the following:
Section 1. During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations related to the outbreak of COVID-19, the requirement that an applicant for public assistance must provide an audio recording of their verbal attestation during a telephone application for public assistance benefits is suspended, and a simple verbal attestation properly documented by the State constitutes a valid signature.
Section 2. During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations related to the outbreak of COVID-19, unsigned applications for public assistance received by mail can be signed by the applicant by a simple verbal attestation by telephone, properly documented by the State.
Section 3. Specifically, the requirement of the Electronic Commerce Security Act at 5 ILCS 175/25-101(c) that all rules adopted by a State agency shall include relevant minimum security requirements established by the Department of Central Management Services is suspended during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations related to COVID-19 for the limited purpose of effecting the changes described in Section 1 and Section 2 of this Executive Order.
JB Pritzker, Governor
Issued by the Governor April 6, 2020
Filed by the Secretary of State April 6, 2020