In this post, we will outline how to apply for food stamps in Illinois online. Food stamps are a part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income individuals and families buy the food they need for good health. The program aims to help improve the health and well-being of low-income households by providing them a means to meet their nutritional needs. Food stamps benefits are a supplement and are not meant to meet all of the food needs of a household. SNAP benefits are administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
In order to be eligible for SNAP benefits in Illinois, you must first meet certain income requirements. Eligibility for SNAP benefits is also based on monthly expenses and the number of people living in your household. To find out whether you qualify to receive food assistance in Illinois, please refer to the monthly income limit chart below. This chart gives you the gross monthly income limit for households with and without disabled or elderly (age 60 and over) members.
If you’re eligible to receive food assistance in Illinois, your benefits will be distributed through the state’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. This system allows you to access your benefits by using an EBT card, also known as an Illinois Link card at the grocery store point-of-sale terminals. Your Illinois Link card is a debit-like card that is used to eligible food items at approved grocery stores. Your benefits are delivered to your Illinois Link card on the same day each month (including weekends and holidays). SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase:
- Hot foods ready to eat,
- Food intended to be heated in the store
- Lunch counter items or foods to be eaten in the store
- Vitamins or medicines
- Pet foods
- Any nonfood items (except seeds and plants)
- Alcoholic beverages
If you qualify to receive SNAP benefits, then follow our step-by-step guide on how to apply for food stamps in Illinois online. If you wish to apply for SNAP benefits but are unable do so online, you can visit your local Family Community Resource Center to apply. To locate the nearest Family Resource Center to you, please click here. If you wish to continue by applying for SNAP benefits online, please read the instructions below.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Illinois Online:
Step 1 – Do you qualify to receive SNAP Benefits?
Before going through the process of applying for benefits, it’s important that you determine whether you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits in Illinois. To see if you qualify, visit the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) website and complete their prescreening tool. When you access the website, click “Check If I Should Apply” on the homepage. This is an easy and free tool that will help determine whether you are eligible to receive benefits in Illinois and what benefits you qualify for. You will be asked to answer questions about your income, expenses and the people in your house. It’s important that you have that information ready. If you have any questions regarding eligibility contact the ABE by calling 800-843-6154.
Step 2 – Apply for Illinois SNAP Benefits
Once you’ve completed the pre-screening tool, the next step is to submit your SNAP application. You will also be able to apply for benefits online at the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) website. When you go to the website, please click on the button that says, “Apply for Benefits.” Proceed through the steps of setting up and account. Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll be directed to the online application. You will be asked to provide some personal information regarding yourself and the members of your household to complete the application.
Step 3 – Complete an Interview
Once your application has been received by your local DHS office, you will be asked to come to your local DHS office for an interview or participate by phone if you are unable to come to the office. This step is a required interview process that must be completed in order to receive SNAP benefits in Illinois. You will be asked to provide the following documents at the time of your interview:
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Residence
- Proof of Social Security numbers for all people on your application/household
Your DHS caseworker will inform you of any additional information they would like you to bring to the interview. Please be sure to have all documentation ready prior to your interview. All information is confidential.
Step 4 – Illinois EBT Card
If you’ve made it to step four then that means you’ve been approved to receive SNAP benefits in the state of Illinois! You’ll be receiving your debit-like Illinois Link card in the mail in a few days. Your card is to be used exactly like a debit card at point-of-sale terminals. Be sure to set up your 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) once your Illinois Link card is received in the mail. Do not share this number with anyone.
If you wish to know the current balance on your EBT card, please access that information here by logging into your EBT account.
We hope you found this guide useful when applying for SNAP benefits in Illinois. If you have any questions or problems during the application process, please be sure to leave your feedback below. We love to hear from you!