Illinois Food Stamp Program
Whether searching for additional funds to help feed themselves or their entire families, the Illinois food stamps program can provide support to low-income residents. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program connects residents with funds they need to purchase healthy groceries that their households depend on each month. While SNAP in Illinois is only available to local, low-income candidates, the program operates nationally. SNAP is funded through federal funds and each state has the responsibility of carrying out its own iteration of the program within its counties.
The Illinois Department of Human Services runs this local SNAP food stamps program. Generally, this program is utilized by households who do not earn much income throughout the year. However, certain households with elderly or disabled members may qualify for benefits as well. The sections below provide a more detailed description of these food stamp requirements as they relate to specific facets, including identity, citizenship and familial income. The sections below also explain different ways claimants can apply for the program and the specific benefits enrollees may take advantage of once they are accepted into SNAP.
Eligible Purchases And Discounts
The Illinois Link EBT card and food stamps can be used to purchase food items and seeds or plants that produce food from stores and markets that accept EBT payments. You can also use your Link EBT Illinois card for discounted admissions at participating establishments, including museums, aquariums, and zoos.
Your EBT card cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages, tobacco, vitamins and supplements, medicines, live animals, prepared or ready-to-eat foods, or any nonfood items.
Increase Your Familys Food Budget
P-EBT is a benefit that can help buy food for school-age children between the ages of 3-17 and youth aged 18-22 . P-EBT is available for children and youth who receive free and reduced-price meals and lack access to an in-school lunch.
P-EBT was available for eligible students during the 2020-2021 school year. If you or your family need food or medical benefits now, our team can help you apply for SNAP or Medicaid.
Get answers to your questions about P-EBT food benefits for Illinois residents below.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer provides benefits to certain children who receive free or reduced-price school lunches under the National School Lunch Act. P-EBT is a temporary food benefit program operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT only provides benefits for days that students lack access to an in-school lunch. P-EBT provides $6.82 per each school day that children are engaged in remote learning. P-EBT benefits will be retroactive to the start of the 2020-2021 school year based on the childs attendance record.
Your child and your school must meet certain criteria to be eligible for P-EBT:
- Must operate the National School Lunch Program AND,
- Must have been closed or operating at reduced capacity at least 5 consecutive days at some point during the 2020-2021 School Year.
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Who Qualifies For Illinois Food Stamps And Ebt
SNAP Benefits are available to low-income individuals and families. Eligibility for Illinois EBT and food stamps, and the amount of the benefits awarded are based on the size of the household, and that households gross and net income and expenses. Benefits are generally calculated by subtracting household expenses such as rent, utilities, medical expenses, and other necessary costs from the household gross income, which is the income of all members of the household before taxes and other deductions.
Household Eligibility The number of individuals in a household is based on the number of individuals who live together and prepare food together, including both adults and children. If an individual lives in the same household but purchases and prepares food separately, they are not considered a member of the household for the purposes of determining SNAP benefits.
In addition to income and household size, SNAP case workers will take into account whether any members of the household are disabled or elderly. In this case, eligibility and benefits will be determined based on net instead of gross income, for a higher potential benefit. In addition, elderly individuals who are disabled and over 60 years old or individuals whose disability prevents them from preparing their own food may be able to receive individual SNAP benefits, even if they are sharing food in a larger household.
Asset limits only apply in specific circumstances, as follows:
How Do I Apply For Snap
There are several options for applying. Only one member of the households needs to apply for the total household, but everyone living in the household needs to be included on the application along with their income. Most states provide an online application to start the process. See the States website section for a link to your states website. If your state does not provide an online application or you do not have access to a computer, you can go to your local state or county office to apply.
As part of the application process, you will need to go to your local state or county office for a face-to-face interview. If you are not able to go to the local office or apply online, you can designate an authorized representative. This is someone you give authority to represent you. You have to designate the person in writing to be official. This person can be a friend or relative.
The entire process generally involves filling out an application, going in for a face-to-face interview, and providing verifications for needed information such as income, residency, and expenses. If because of age or disability, an applicant is unable to go to the office and cannot appoint a representative, the interview may be waived at the discretion of the local office. However, if the interview is waived, the applicant will have to have a phone interview or consent to a home visit instead.
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Illinois By The Numbers
- Percent of households receiving food stamps: 17.8%
- Total households receiving food stamps: 864,878
- Average monthly benefit per household: $248
Roughly 1.5 million Illinois residents live in poverty, and one in six children struggle with hunger. Nonprofits like Operation Food and Inspiration Corp. work to close the gap. Illinois joined a multi-state lawsuit in 2020 against federal cutbacks to food stamp programs.
Here are the states using food stamps the most and least:
States using food stamps the most#1. New Mexico #2. Rhode Island #3. Washington D.C. States using food stamps the least#1. Wyoming #2. Utah #3. North Dakota
But My Family Is Not Receiving Snap Benefts
Is This Benefit Based on Household Income/Resources/Citizenship? No, the only eligibility factor is that your child attend a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program and are eligible to receive free or reduced-priced meals when they are in school. For many schools, individual students qualify for free or reduced-price eligible meals. For other schools that participate in the in the Community Eligibility Provision, all enrolled students will qualify as meals are provided at no cost to the students. If you recently applied for free or reduced-price meals, P-EBT benefts will begin the month you become eligible.
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Asset Limits For Snap
In some situations, there are also asset limits for SNAP. Assets are the things that you have that are worth money. Under the requirements for SNAP, you do not need to meet any asset limits unless one of the following is true:
- Someone in your household has been disqualified because of an Intentional Program Violation or has a work provision sanction. To qualify for SNAP benefits in this case, the asset limit for the rest of the household is $2,250 or
- Your household has a qualifying member.
To qualify for SNAP benefits in this case, the asset limit is $3,250. A qualifying member someone who:
- Is age 60 or older,
Illinois Food Stamps Program
In the state of Illinois, the food stamps program is run by the Illinois Department of Human Services .
If you meet the program eligibility guidelines, you will get a special debit card as shown below.
The EBT card is loaded monthly with the money you qualify for. You can then use the card to purchase food at grocery stores and other approved locations.
The amount of money a household gets may depend on three things:
- household income from all sources such as money you get from a job, Social Security, SSI, or interest
- how many people live in your household
- where you live
There are strict eligibility requirements that you must follow in order to be approved for Food Assistance. We have detailed those guidelines below:
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Citizenship And Residency Requirements In Illinois
While the most important IL SNAP eligibility requirements have to do with your income, expenses and the number of people in your household, you must also meet citizenship and residency requirements. First, each household member must be a resident of Illinois.
Second, you must be a citizen or a legal non-citizen. If you are a legal non-citizen, you may need to wait a minimum of five years before applying. This five-year minimum rule applies to:
- Lawful permanent residents who have worked a minimum of 40 quarters in the U.S.
- Applicants who were granted conditional entry and have had that status for five years.
- Applicants who are considered battered spouses, children or parents under a certain law and are waiting for a decision on their petitions.
On the other hand, certain non-citizen applicants qualify for food stamps without having to wait five years. These include:
- Human trafficking victims.
- Applicants who have had their deportation withheld.
- Certain Cuban or Haitian entrants.
- Elderly applicants who were born on or before a certain date.
- LPRS with a military connection, such as veterans and the immediate family members of veterans.
Eligibility For Food Stamps In Illinois
The United States Department of Agriculture funds the Illinois food stamps program. The Illinois Department of Human Services administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program to residents. This program provides low income residents with an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, or LINK, to purchase groceries.
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Illinois Food Stamps Income Chart
Use the chart below to find out whether your household makes less than the gross monthly income limit.
You may be eligible for food stamps if your total income falls below the appropriate gross income limits for your household size.
Your caseworker will determine which income limit applies to your household.
The chart below shows you the Gross Income and Net Income levels required for qualification, based on the number of people in each household.
When Do I Need To Update The Case Worker
If any changes to your situation occur, such as changing jobs, finding a job, gaining more salary or income, or if you find that you no longer need to use the food stamp program any longer, then you should update your case worker as soon as possible. You can notify the case worker of these changes through fax, phone, or in person at a local department.
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You May Be Entitled To Snap Benefits Within Five Days If:
- Your gross income for the month you apply is less than $150 and your cash and savings are $100 or less, or
- You are a migrant or seasonal farmworker whose cash and savings do not exceed $100, or
- Your income, cash, and savings are less than your monthly shelter costs .
If you think the above applies to you, please tell your interviewer when your name is called or inform your caseworker if you requested a phone interview.
What Documents Do I Need For The Application
For your application, you will need information about your income, social security number, any benefits you may be receiving, the social security numbers and birthdays of the people living in your household, and proof of your identification and residence. If there is anyone in your household who is receiving benefits such as disability, you will also have to provide this information during the application process or at the interview. Any other documents will be requested at the interview.
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Do I Have To Provide Information On Everyone Living At The Address
Generally, you will need to provide information about anyone else who may be living at your address, whether they are within your family or not. In most cases, you will need information such as their social security and some basic info about how much money they contribute to your living arrangements.
How Do You Apply For Food Stamps In Illinois
Submitting an Illinois Food Stamps Application by Mail or Fax. Alternatively, you can apply for food stamps in Illinois by mail or by fax. This can be done by downloading the food stamps application online or requesting a paper application over the phone. Complete the application and mail or fax it to your local office.
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The Food Stamps Program
SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps.
If you dont earn enough money to cover food costs for you and your family, you might qualify for monthly SNAP benefits.
Should you be approved for benefits, your food stamps allocation can be used to buy produce, meat, dairy, bread, and other foods on the approved list.
How much you receive in SNAP benefits is based on your income and how many people are in your household.
The maximum monthly allotment for a family of four is $680.
Learn About Illinois Food Stamps Requirements
Wondering whether you meet food stamps eligibility in Illinois? Overall, there are several requirements that you must meet prior to receiving benefits. For instance, you must fall below a certain income level depending on the number of people in your household, and you may need to enroll in a work program as well. These rules are administered by the state Department of Human Services , and established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture .
While you may meet the various food stamp qualifications in IL, the other members of your household must also qualify. According to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program guidelines, a household member is defined as anyone with whom you live, buy food and make meals. Therefore, it is important for each household member to understand these specific regulations, as you may have a better chance to qualify for the program and receive a higher benefits amount.
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Snap Is Formerly Known As Food Stamps
The SNAP , formerly known as Food Stamps, provides nutrition benefits for families to purchase healthy food options. It is an entitlement program, NOT a welfare program. This means there are enough benefits to go around and you wont be taking benefits away from anyone.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students who normally get free or reduced-price school meals may be eligible for a program to help families buy groceries. This program is called Pandemic-EBT . P-EBT is a temporary food benefit program operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT only provides benefits for days that students lack access to an in-school lunch. P-EBT provides $6.82 per each school day that schoolchildren are engaged in remote learning. These benefits are provided on a card that can be used like a debit card to purchase food atany grocery store that accepts LINK cards.
Our State contracted and trained SNAP Outreach Coordinators are happy to assist you with your application today! Feel free to call them at 618.307.9541 or fill out a form by so our SNAP Coordinators will reach out to you within 2 business days. Income guidelines increase every year. Being denied in the past doesnt mean you arent eligible today.