Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit #
Illinois’s state EITC began at 5% of the federal credit when it was introduced in 2011 and was increased to 10% in 2013. As of July 2018, the state’s EITC was expanded to 18%.
The Illinois EITC piggybacks on the federal credit in that the state uses 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 automatically eligible.
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) #
The TANF program is one of Illinois’ cash assistance programs that provides temporary financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical.
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.
How do I apply for TANF in Illinois?
You may apply for TANF online through Illinois ABE — Illinois’ new web-based portal for Medicaid, SNAP and cash assistance.
If you have questions or need help with the application, call the DHS Help Line at 1-800-843-6154.
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 household size. Single mothers and elderly SSI recipients are more likely to receive SNAP benefits than others.
How do I apply for food stamps in Illinois?
Use the Illinois ABE to apply for SNAP online. 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”.
If you are planning to apply for SNAP, you may want to use the pre-screening tool to help you estimate what you may be eligible to receive.
Help for Illinois Families #
Help for 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 incomes up to 200% of poverty level, regardless of how they may be affected COVID-19.
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 1-833-711-0374 for live support.
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 147% 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 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
How do I apply for Medicaid in Illinois?
If you’re not already insured, visit GetCoveredIllinois.gov — 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) #
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.
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
Illinois FamilyCare #
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.
Illinois Special Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) #
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 nutrition risk.
For information on how to apply, contact
State WIC Office
Illinois Head Start #
The 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.
Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families 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, call
Illinois Child Care Assistance Program #
Administered by Illinois Department of Human Services, the Child Care Assistance Program helps pay for child care expenses for income-eligible working families in Illinois.
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 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.
Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) #
The Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to assist eligible households pay for their energy bills. Households may qualify if their income does not exceed 150% of federal poverty.
Under the new Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), Illinois households will have the option to pay a portion of their income and receive a monthly benefit towards their utility bill in lieu of the traditional plan of one-time benefit. 2
How do I apply for LIHEAP in Illinois?
Contact your local Community Action Agency to make an appointment to apply for LIHEAP. 3 Proof of income for the 30 days prior to application is required.
Illinois Unemployment Insurance #
Unemployment Insurance 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 + 13 extended weeks.
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.
Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant #
The 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.
Each academic year, the amount of your maximum annual award may vary. Use the available MAP Estimator to estimate the amount of your MAP award you may receive.
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.
- Find your local CCR&R or call 1-877-202-4453 (toll-free).
- SB 1918. Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP)
- Click here to find a Community Action Agency (CAA) serving your area and apply for assistance.