Legislation eases financial
pressures for military
Under legislation pending before the state Senate, Illinois
residents serving on active military duty overseas, and their
families back home, would have fewer day-to-day financial worries.
Known as the Illinois Patriot Plan,
Senate Bill 2060 provides that members of the U.S. armed services or
Reserve forces, or members of the Illinois National Guard who are
deployed on active duty, or the spouse of one of those service
members, may terminate a cellular phone contract without a penalty.
The men and women serving overseas
in the military face the daily stresses of active duty and should
not have to worry about financial matters back home. This
legislation is based on a similar program in Ohio and should help
ease some financial pressures and worries.
Senate Bill 2060 also allows the
Illinois Department of Central Management to enter into a contract
to purchase bulk long-distance telephone services and make them
available at cost to members of the immediate family of service
members deployed on active duty so that they may communicate.
Other provisions of the legislation
address the following financial issues:
Life insurance policies --
An individual life insurance policy
insuring the life of a service member who has been deployed for
active duty shall not lapse or be forfeited for the nonpayment of
premiums during the service member's period of military service or
during the two-year period subsequent to the end of the service
member's period of military service.
Gas-electric assistance --
In case of nonpayment, no municipal
or public utility or electric cooperative shall cut off gas or
electricity to the residential premises of a consumer who is a
service member deployed on active duty. Allows the service member,
upon return from deployment, a period equal to the person's
deployment to pay any money owed during the period of the
Rent assistance --
The court may delay eviction
proceedings for a period of 90 days or adjust the rental obligation
to preserve the parties' interests if the resident is a service
member deployed on active duty or any member of the immediate
Credit interest and finance charges
-- Creditors cannot charge
or collect from a deployed service member or the spouse of that
member interest or finance charges exceeding 6 percent per annum
during the period that the member is deployed on active duty.
Motor vehicle leases --
Any service member who is deployed for
a period of not less than 180 days, or his or her spouse, may
terminate any motor vehicle lease.
Senate Bill 2060 has been passed by the Environment and Energy
Committee and awaits further action before the whole Senate.
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State program helps owners find
Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar
Topinka is looking for citizens who might have property and assets
they might have forgotten or never knew existed.
Many area residents have some
abandoned property in their name, and this property can be claimed.
Most claims consist of assets exceeding $100.
Unclaimed property can range from
bank accounts opened years ago to jewelry in a forgotten safety
deposit box or uncashed payroll checks. When these assets have been
abandoned or inactive for five years, the person holding the
property is required to try to locate the owner.
If the owner can't be found, the
assets are then turned over to the state treasurer's office, which
holds the assets until they are claimed by the owner or heirs of the
Area residents who want to know if
they have abandoned or unclaimed property in their name should
contact the Office of State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, Unclaimed
Property Division, P.O. Box 19495, Springfield, IL 62794-9495.
All inquiries must be in writing and
include the name, address and county of the claimant. The state
treasurer's office will provide specific information about the asset
being held and how to claim the property.
New federal law provides yearly
credit checks for free
Illinois consumers can obtain free
credit reports at an official clearinghouse website or by calling a
toll-free number and do not have to pay for services being offered
on copycat websites.
In a press release on Thursday,
Attorney General Lisa Madigan reminded consumers that the free
annual credit reports are available only through the
centralized source set up by the three national credit reporting
To obtain the free reports,
consumers can call 1 (877) 322-8228, order online at
www.annualcreditreport.com, or complete the request form
available at www.ftc.gov/credit
and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box
105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Sen. Bill Brady]