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Food and Medical Benefits in Illinois

Find out how to apply for SNAP/Link (food stamps) and Medicaid, and get answers to common questions on state and federal benefit programs.

Apply For Benefits in Illinois

Get Help Applying for SNAP/Link (Food Stamps) and Medicaid

You may be eligible for assistance from the state through SNAP and Medicaid. Apply online with the Illinois Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) today.

Form on computer screen

Visit the Illinois Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) to create a secure account and complete your application in approximately 30 minutes.

Need help filing with the state? Reach out for a short, free, confidential interview. Simply fill out a short form and we’ll get back to you.

Call our hotline Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 773-843-5416. We’ll answer your benefits questions, help you submit the application and provide support to ensure you get connected to eligible benefits.

Learn More About Federal and State-Sponsored Programs

Our team focuses on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as Link or food stamps) and Medicaid, a federal and state program that helps with healthcare costs for millions of Americans. But there are dozens of additional programs that may work for you.

Learn more and call us with your questions. We’ll have the answer or help get you the answer.

REQUEST A CALL FROM US

Get Food at a Food Pantry While You’re Seeking Assistance

Our network of Cook County food pantries and programs provide immediate assistance to you and your family. Find a local food pantry to make sure you have food on the table today.

How to Apply for Food Stamps and Other FAQs

Can’t find an answer to your question? We’re here to help.

Reach out to us

Our team provides free help applying for SNAP/Link (food stamps) and Medicaid. We can also refer you to assistance for other federal and state-sponsored benefits programs, like WIC, LIHEAP, EITC and Head Start. Request a call from us and our coordinators will conduct a pre-screening to inform you of benefits you are potentially eligible for.

You can apply online with the State of Illinois. If you need help or have questions, you can request a call and we will contact you by phone within 2-3 business days. You can also call our hotline directly Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 773-843-5416. We’ll answer your benefits questions, help you submit the application and provide support to ensure you get connected to eligible benefits.

Non-citizens and their children may still be eligible for public benefits depending on their situation. Call us for a screening to find out what benefits and other resources are available for you.

Our food pantries and programs are available to everyone in Cook County, regardless of immigration status. Find a food pantry or program near you.

You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits. For example:

  • Be a US citizen or a legal permanent resident for five years or more in the US. Non-eligible Parents or Legal Guardians of children under the age of 18 who are Legal Permanent Residents still apply for their children
  • Meet Department of Human Services (DHS) gross income limits for your household

Your “household” for SNAP is represented by anyone living together in the same residence; who purchases and prepares food together. For example, a roommate that you buy and make food separately from does not have to be included in your application.

You may need the following document to apply:

  • Proof of identity for head of household
  • Social security numbers for everyone who is applying for benefits
  • Proof of earned income from the past 30 days (If paid in cash, you can submit an Employer Verification Letter)
  • Proof of Illinois residency (ex. State ID, utility bill, rental lease) (If experiencing homelessness, you can submit a Collateral Statement as proof of Illinois residency)
  • Proof of citizenship/immigration status (ex. birth certificate, passport, legal permanent resident card, etc.)

Your application will be processed by an Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) case worker within 30 days. You may be asked to complete an interview in person or by phone and will receive a notification that tells you if your SNAP request has been approved or denied.

The amount of your SNAP benefits is decided by the IDHS based on factors like your income and expenses. The maximum a one-person household will be able to receive per month is $250 and the minimum allotted amount is $20.

SNAP promotes client choice by allowing clients to buy food based on their own nutritional needs and preferences, on demand.

Eligible foods include:

  • Breads and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Edible plants and seeds

Work requirements for SNAP benefits are currently waived because of COVID-19.

IDHS takes into account your household’s last 30 days income. If you are concerned about being denied, give us a call at 773-843-5416 and we can help you find out if you are potentially eligible.

Yes, however, you must have been a legal permanent resident for 5 years or more or have a special situation as outlined by IDHS, unless you are an immigrant under 18. DACA participants are not eligible to receive SNAP.

You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for Medicaid and receive benefits. Eligibility is determined by the following factors:

  • Residency
  • Citizenship and immigrant status (Immigrants who do not meet eligibility rules may be eligible for Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) if they otherwise meet all Medicaid eligibility standards)
  • Tax filing status
  • Household size/composition
  • Income

Children under the age of 18 regardless of their immigration status can apply in the State of Illinois. Undocumented older adults over the age of 65 can apply in the State of Illinois.

You may need the following document to apply:

  • Proof of identity for head of household
  • Social security numbers for everyone who is applying for benefits
  • Proof of earned income from the past 30 days
  • Proof of Illinois residency (ex. State ID, utility bill, rental lease)
  • Proof of citizenship/immigration status (ex. birth certificate, passport, legal permanent resident card, etc.)

You should receive a letter with a decision within 45-60 days of submitting your application. If you are denied, you will receive a reason for denial. If you are approved, you should receive your Medicaid medical card within 7-10 business days.

No. Undocumented immigrants that are at least 42 years old are eligible for Medicaid. This program does not count as a negative factor for public charge. The program may cover prior health care up to 3 months from the date you apply.

You can request to have a new card mailed out from your local Department of Human Services Office. You can also visit the ABE site to download a copy from the Manage My Case Portal.

Resources

Learn About Food Stamp and Medical Benefits in Your Community

Check out our resources for information on SNAP, Medicaid and Chicago’s community news.

In Need Of Food Or Other Support?

From free meals to free diapers, we’re here to lend a hand to every neighbor in need.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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Access the Benefits You Deserve

Food is a human right. Work with our team to get access to the food and medical benefits you need.