Illinois SNAP And What You Need To Know

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Lori Pace

Illinois SNAP (formerly Illinois Food Stamps), provides cash assistance to low-income families and individuals in Illinois for food purchases. The “Illinois Link Card“, an electronic card that you can use at all grocery stores with the “Illinois Link” sign, provides benefits. However, keep in mind that ATM do not allow withdrawals for SNAP benefits.

Your income and household size are key factors in determining your eligibility. Anyone can apply for SNAP. However, single mothers and older SSI recipients are more likely than others to be eligible.

What Is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), formerly known under the Food Stamp Program, offers food benefits, access and education in food preparation and nutrition for low-income households. The benefits, which comes with an electronic card, that you can use to purchase eligible food at authorized retail food shops.

SNAP is the largest domestic hunger safety net program. Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), a state agency that works with nutrition educators and neighborhood and faith-based groups, ensures that all those who are eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed choices about how to apply and have access to benefits. 

Eligibility Requirements For Illinois SNAP

To be eligible for SNAP you must meet these eligibility requirements:

  1. Illinois Legal Resident
  2. US Citizen, or a lawful permanent residence
  3. Show proof of identity
  4. Follow certain income guidelines
  5. You have less than $2,250 of resources

Currently, DuPage County is the only county that imposes work requirements for able-bodied SNAP recipients. This limits SNAP benefits to 3 months within a 3-year fixed time frame if the work requirement has not been met.

Income Limit For Food Stamps In Illinois

Illinois food stamps may be available to you if your household’s income is below 130% of federal poverty guidelines. For a single mother of two, that’s $2,380 per month.

Application For SNAP In Illinois

To apply online for SNAP, use the Application For Benefits Eligibility. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be notified. Use the SNAP eligibility calculator to get an estimate of what benefits you might receive. However, this is only an estimate.

How Long Does It Take To Get SNAP Benefits?

After your application has been received, you will be contacted by the Department of Human Services (DHS), either via phone or in writing, to schedule your interview for benefits. Interviews can be conducted in-person or by phone.

Getting Emergency Food Stamps

Sometimes, emergency SNAP may be available in as little as 5 days from the date you submit your application. Only those who have less than $100 cash or in their bank account can apply for emergency SNAP.

This list of Illinois Department of Human Services contains information about food pantries serving Illinois families in case you require emergency food assistance.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!