Help for Single Mothers in ILLINOIS

Illinois, IL

Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rate in the country, and one of the last states to recover. Statistically, single mothers are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as married women — thus twice more likely to experience financial stress.

Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit #

Illinois EITC piggybacks on the federal credit by using federal eligibility rules to determine whether a family is eligible for the state EITC. In most cases, all Illinois taxpayers who qualify for the federal credit are eligible automatically.

For tax years beginning on 2023, the state’s EITC is expanded to 20% and is extended to taxpayers, aged 18 – 25 and 65 and older, and ITIN filers.

How much is Illinois Earned Income Credit?

  • NO. OF CHILD Maximum EIC
  • 0 $120
  • 1 $799
  • 2 $1,320
  • 3 or more $1,486

Because it’s a refundable credit, families who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund when the credit amount exceeds their tax liability.

Illinois Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) #

Illinois TANF is one of Illinois’ cash assistance programs that provides temporary financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical.

There is a limit to how much money you can have and still qualify for TANF. For example, a family of three qualifies if their countable income is less than $576 a month.

In Illinois, cash benefits are issued on a monthly basis through the Illinois Link Card that works like a debit card, allowing you to use the card at authorized retailers or to get cash from an ATM that accepts EBT cards.

How do I apply for TANF in Illinois?

Applications for TANF can be done online through Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) — Illinois’ new web-based portal for Medicaid, SNAP and cash assistance.

Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #

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

Eligibility is determined by certain factors, mainly your income and the size of your household. In most cases, single mothers and elderly SSI recipients are more likely to receive SNAP benefits than others.

What is the income limit for SNAP benefits in Illinois?

In Illinois, you may qualify for SNAP benefits if your household’s gross monthly income is at or below 165% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Family Size 100% 165%
1 $1,215 $2,005
2 $1,643 $2,712
3 $2,072 $3,418
4 $2,500 $4,125
5 $2,928 $4,832
6 $3,357 $5,538
7 $3,785 $6,245
8 $4,213 $6,952

Gross income limit applies to most households, except those in which at least one person is 60 years of age or older, or receives disability income.

How do I apply for food stamps in Illinois?

Use the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) to apply for SNAP online or use the pre-screening tool to help you estimate what you may be eligible to receive before you apply.

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”.

Help Illinois Families #

Help Illinois Families is a new initiative to help eligible Illinoisans seeking emergency assistance to cover costs of utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food, and other household necessities.

This initiative remains available for all qualifying families with income up to 200% of poverty level, regardless of how they may be affected COVID-19.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,430
  • 2 $3,287
  • 3 $4,143
  • 4 $5,000
  • 5 $5,857
  • 6 $6,713
  • 7 $7,570
  • 8 $8,427

Filling out the online form is the first step in a process that will be completed by local agencies throughout the state. All applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis and subject to funding availability.

If you need assistance with completing and submitting your information, contact the call center at (833)-711-0374 for assistance in 30 languages.

Illinois Medicaid #

As Illinois is expanding Medicaid coverage, most uninsured Illinoisans age between 19-64 with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) are now eligible for Medicaid.

In Illinois, infants born to non-Medicaid covered mothers are covered up to 142% of poverty in Medicaid. Children under the age of 18 are covered up to 318% under All Kids (CHIP).

Most people who enroll are covered for comprehensive services, including but are not limited to:

  • doctor visits
  • dental care
  • well-child care
  • immunizations for children
  • mental health and substance abuse services
  • hospital care
  • emergency services
  • prescription drug

What is the income limit for Medicaid in Illinois?

Illinois Medicaid 142% 213% 138%
1 $20,700 $31,060 $20,120
2 $28,000 $42,000 $27,210
3 $35,300 $52,950 $34,310
4 $42,600 $63,900 $41,400
5 $49,900 $74,850 $48,490
6 $57,200 $85,800 $55,590
7 $64,500 $96,740 $62,680
8 $71,800 $107,690 $69,770

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

How do I apply for Medicaid in Illinois?

If you’re not already insured, visit — the state’s new health insurance marketplace and answer a few questions at “Explore Your Health Coverage Options” to find out whether you could qualify.

Should you need help with your health insurance application, enter your ZIP code here to find appointments with local application assisters.

Illinois All Kids (CHIP) #

Effective 7/1/2022, children enrolled in All Kids Share, Premium Level 1 and Premium Level 2 are now eligible under the All Kids Assist program.

Illinois’ All Kids offers health care coverage to Illinois children that includes doctors visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision & dental care and eyeglasses.

All Kids are available at no cost or at low cost. Depending on your income level, you may have to pay an affordable monthly premium for coverage, with most in the $15 to $40 range.

You may have to pay part of the cost of prescription drugs. These costs are called co-payments. But no family ever has to pay a co-payment for their children’s regular check-ups and immunizations.

What is the income limit for Illinois All Kids?

All Kids covers children under the age of 18 in families with income up to 318% of the federal poverty level. For a family of three, that's about $79,050.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $46,360
  • 2 $62,710
  • 3 $79,050
  • 4 $95,400
  • 5 $111,750
  • 6 $128,090
  • 7 $144,440
  • 8 $160,780

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

How do I apply for CHIP in Illinois?

The easiest way to apply for CHIP is using the Internet. You can fill in and submit an ABE Application online. There are also All Kids Application Agents all over Illinois that can help you apply.

All Kids Hotline
1-866-ALL-KIDS (255-5437)

Illinois FamilyCare #

Illinois’ FamilyCare offers healthcare coverage to parents living with their children 18 years old or younger as well as relatives who are caring for children in place of their parents.

Like All Kids, FamilyCare covers doctor visits, specialty medical services, hospital care, emergency services, prescription drugs and more.

For most families with income below 138%, FamilyCare will be free but there may be small co-pays, from $2 to $3.90, for doctor visits and prescriptions.

FamilyCare Hotline
1-866-ALL-KIDS (255-5437)

Illinois Special Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) #

Illinois WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5.

In order to qualify, you must be a resident of the state of Illinois who meet the WIC income eligibility guidelines and be individually determined by a health professional to be “at nutritional risk”.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,248
  • 2 $3,040
  • 3 $3,833
  • 4 $4,625
  • 5 $5,418
  • 6 $6,210
  • 7 $7,003
  • 8 $7,795

How do I apply for WIC in Illinois?

WIC services are provided in communities throughout the state. Use the DHS Office Locator to find your local WIC office near you.

For information on how to apply, contact
State WIC Office
(217) 782-2166

Illinois Head Start #

Illinois Head Start promotes school readiness for children in low-income families between the ages of 3 and 5.

It does this by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services. Families are required to meet the income guidelines.

What is the income limit for Head Start in Illinois?

Your family qualifies for the Head Start program if your household income is at or below the poverty level. Check the chart below to see if your family qualifies.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $1,215
  • 2 $1,643
  • 3 $2,072
  • 4 $2,500
  • 5 $2,928
  • 6 $3,357
  • 7 $3,785
  • 8 $4,213

Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families already receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) are automatically eligible for Head Start regardless of income.

If you need help to find a Head Start program near your home, use the Head Start Center Locator or call 1-866-763-6481.

Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) #

Administered by Department of Human Services, Illinois' Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps pay for child care expenses for income-eligible families in Illinois.

A family is considered “income eligible” when the total gross monthly income is at or below 225% of the federal poverty level at the time of initial application. For a family of three, that's about $4,662.

What is the income limit for child care assistance in Illinois?

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 2 $3,698
  • 3 $4,662
  • 4 $5,625
  • 5 $6,589
  • 6 $7,553
  • 7 $8,517
  • 8 $9,480

Families are required to cost-share on a sliding scale based on family size, income, and number of children in care. You may use the Eligibility Calculator to see if you qualify and to determine your co-pay.

How do I apply for child care assistance in Illinois?

To apply for CCAP, you must complete and submit a Child Care Application (form 3455) to your local CCR&R or child care agency along with other documentation. 1

Illinois Summer Food Service #

The aim of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is to serve nutritious meals to children in low-income areas during the months of June, July, and August when school is out.

There is no application necessary to receive a meal and you do not have to show proof of income. Kids and teens ages 18 and younger can just show up at a summer meal site for a free breakfast or lunch — no questions asked.

To find a Summer Meals Site near you, call (800) 359-2163, or text FOODIL to 877877. If you are in need of emergency or supplemental food, please visit Feeding Illinois.

Does Illinois have free lunch program? #

Illinois have passed a new law that will allow K-12 students to get free school lunches. Students across Illinois will soon get free breakfast and lunches at school, no matter their family's income.

Illinois joins a list of other states working to fill the gaps left when the waivers that provided free meals to all kids during the COVID-19 pandemic expired.

Illinois Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) #

LIHEAP will begin accepting applications on October 2, 2023, through August 15, 2024, or until funds are exhausted.

Illinois' Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to assist eligible households pay for their energy bills.

There are two kinds of LIHEAP assistance available:

  1. Direct Vendor Payment (DVP) is a one-time payment applicable to all income eligible households.
  2. Crisis Assistance offers Reconnection Assistance within 48 hours, or 18 hours if the temperature is below 32°F.

What is the monthly income limit for LIHEAP in Illinois?

Households may qualify if their income does not exceed 200% of federal poverty. For a family of three, the current income limit in a 30-day period is $4,143.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,430
  • 2 $3,287
  • 3 $4,143
  • 4 $5,000
  • 5 $5,857
  • 6 $6,713
  • 7 $7,570
  • 8 $8,427

How do I apply for LIHEAP in Illinois?

Contact your local Community Action Agency to make an appointment to apply for LIHEAP. 2 Proof of income for the 30 days prior to application is required.

Illinois Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) #

Illinois LIHWAP provides low-income households in Illinois with up to $1,500 for water and wastewater services based on poverty level.

Households facing the threat of disconnection, or those that have already been disconnected, may be eligible for LIHWAP.

Application for LIHWAP is open through September 30, 2023, pending funding availability. The application process and requirements are the same as for LIHEAP.

How do I get help paying my water bill in Illinois?

If you need help with the application, please call (833) 711-0374 or visit any one of 34 Community Action Agencies located statewide.

Illinois Unemployment Insurance #

Illinois Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a state-operated insurance program designed to partially replace lost wages when you are out of work through no fault of your own.

If you meet the eligibility requirements of the law, you’re entitled to UI benefits while you are looking for a new job, up to a maximum of 26 weeks in a one-year period, depending on when the claim was​ established.

How much do I get for unemployment in Illinois?

The current maximum weekly unemployment benefit in Illinois is $578 with no dependents. If you have dependents, the maximum increases to $790.

How do I file for unemployment in Illinois?

Claims for UI benefits may be filed online or if you wish to file in person, find an IDES office nearest you. If you have questions, call (800) 244-5631 for assistance.

As a condition of eligibility, you are required to register with (IJL) to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant #

Illinois MAP Grant is available from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need, based on the information provided on the FAFSA.

The maximum annual award for Illinois MAP is up to $7,200 and may vary on each academic year. Use the MAP Estimator to estimate your potential MAP award amount.

Unlike the Federal Pell Grant, there is only a limited amount of MAP funds available so students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as early as possible after October 1.


  1. Find your local CCR&R or call 1-877-202-4453 (toll-free).
  2. Click here to find a Community Action Agency (CAA) serving your area and apply for assistance.

If this is not your state, please select yours here.
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