Illinois TANF

TANF is one of Illinois’ cash assistance programs that provides temporary financial assistance for pregnant women and families with children.

TANF gives monthly cash to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical to eligible families up to a total limit of 60 months.


Most TANF families are expected to register for work or participate in work activities as a condition of receiving cash benefits, unless otherwise exempt.

If you are a single parent with a child under age 6, you must work or participate in a work activity for at least 20 hours per week. Two-parent families are required to work no fewer than 35 hours per week.


Who is eligible for TANF in Illinois? #

In order to qualify for TANF, you must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or legal alien, or permanent resident.
  2. Be pregnant or have a child under age 19 who lives with them. A child who is 18 must be a full-time high school student.
  3. Live in Illinois. You may be homeless and still qualify.
  4. Be either under-employed, unemployed or about to become unemployed.
  5. Have a plan for becoming self-sufficient and follow it.

How much does welfare pay in Illinois? #


How much money you get from TANF in Illinois largely depends upon your family’s income and size. Illinois’ benefit, tied to 30 percent of poverty, increased from $520 to to $533 a month for a family of three.

In response to the pandemic, Illinois also issued a one-time payment of $500 to all TANF families to help reduce food insecurity. 1

How do I apply for TANF in Illinois? #


You may apply for TANF in person at a local DHS Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) that serves the area where you live. Use the DHS Office Locator to help find the nearest center.

Online application is now available through Illinois ABE — Illinois’ new web-based portal for Medicaid, SNAP and TANF.

If your application is approved, you will get your cash benefits on an Illinois LINK card that you can use at any authorized retailer or to get cash from an ATM.

For further information about Illinois TANF, call
Illinois DHS Help Line
1 800 843-6154

If your family is in immediate need of food, your SNAP application may be processed right away, whether or not you qualify for TANF.

  1. CBPP, TANF Benefits Still Too Low to Help Families.