Illinois SNAP

Updated June 26, 2019

Illinois SNAP (formerly Illinois Food Stamps) helps low-income people and families in Illinois with cash assistance to buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet.

Benefits are provided on the “Illinois Link Card” — an electronic card that is accepted at most grocery stores that have the “Illinois Link” sign. No SNAP benefits can be withdrawn from ATM.

Eligibility is determined by certain factors, mainly your income and household size. While anyone may apply for SNAP, single mothers and elderly SSI recipients are more likely to receive benefits than others.


In order to qualify for SNAP, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Live in Illinois
  • Be a US Citizen or a lawful permanent resident
  • Show proof of identity
  • Meet certain income guidelines
  • Have less than $2,250 in resources

Currently, only DuPage County imposes work requirements on able-bodied SNAP recipients without dependents, limiting SNAP benefits to just 3 months in a 3-year fixed period, if the work requirement is not met.


FAQ

  • How to apply for SNAP in Illinois?

    Use the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) to apply for SNAP online. If your eligibility is confirmed, you will receive a notice of your eligibility.

    To calculate an estimate of possible benefits you may receive, use the SNAP Eligibility Calculator. This is, however, only an estimate.

  • How long does it take to get SNAP benefits in Illinois?

    Once your application is received, you will receive a phone call or written notice from the Department of Human Services (DHS) within 1 to 14 days for your “benefits interview”. Interviews will either be in-person or over-the-phone.

    In some cases, emergency SNAP can be ready in 5 days or less from the date of your application. Emergency SNAP is only available for those with less than $100 in cash and/or in their bank account.

If you need emergency food assistance, here’s a list of food pantries that serve Illinois families.

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