Illinois Food Stamps (SNAP) Application Information

The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP in the state of Illinois. Eligible applicants receive food assistance benefits, which are automatically transferred to an electronic card, called the Illinois link card. The first step in applying for food assistance is submitting a SNAP application to your nearest DHS office. Expect an interview after the DHS office processes your completed application. The DHS office determines your eligibility based on your total household income, how many people live in your household and whether any household member is disabled or elderly.

Occasionally, individuals in Illinois who work hard to support their families don't have enough money left to buy enough healthy food. Therefore, the state steps in and provides supplemental income to those families to assist them in buying healthy food. Formerly called food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dispatches cash amounts through LINK cards that can be used to purchase groceries for needy families. In general, you can purchase any food or food product intended for human consumption besides alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and foods prepared for immediate consumption. Seeds and plants are also authorized to be purchased using the benefits card. You can also purchase meals prepared by organizations that are approved by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) or meals that are prepared and served to eligible residents for example by a shelter for battered woman and children, adult foster care homes and substance abuse treatment centers.

There are requirements individuals and families must fulfill before receiving SNAP benefits. Families who find themselves on the borderline of these qualifications are urged to submit an application as they may be accepted into the program

Eligibility Requirements

In order to receive benefits through Illinois SNAP program youwill have to meet the following eligibility criteria:

Financial Requirements

Qualifying for Illinois SNAP benefits is mainly determined by a family's combined gross monthly income, any resources in the home, the household's combined monthly expenses, and the number of people eating together in the home.

If any household member is over age 60 or disabled or you have a larger family, the higher the allowable monthly income. If unsure about your family's financial eligibility, check the SNAP eligibility calculator, available online at: www.michigan.gov/documents. It provides a quick and easy pre-screener for the program.

A family may meet all the income requirements but not qualify for food stamps in the state of Illinois. Individuals on strike or capable of working but not actively seeking employment are not be approved to receive SNAP benefits. In addition, some immigrants, boarders and residents of various institutions may not qualify for food stamps.

Families who receive money for groceries through Illinois's SNAP program have to meet certain income requirements.

Maximum income levels depends on household sizes as listed below:

Household Size Monthly Income
1 $1,174
2 $1,579
3 $1,984
4 $2,389
5 $2,794
6 $3,200
7 $3,605
8 $4,010
9 $4,416

In households with more than ten people, add $406 per person to calculate the maximum monthly income allowable.

Non-financial Requirements

Immigrants may receive SNAP benefits if they've been any of the following for five or more years: a legal permanent resident, on parole, a conditional entrant or a VAWA self petitioner.

Refugees, asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, United States veterans, service persons or one of their family members, or persons withheld from deportation qualify for Illinois SNAP benefits.

Food Stamps Application Instructions

SNAP benefit applications can be submitted online, or at the Social Services office near you. Once the application is completely filled out and submitted, the department will contact you to set up a one on one interview.

For Mail/ Walk in Applications - download and print SNAP application details by following this link: www.ides.state.il.us/individual/online_claim.asp.

  • Fill in all the requested information i.e. your full name, current contact information, citizenship, how many people live in your household, Indicate whether any member of your household is disabled, pregnant or has previously received benefits. Remember to sign and date the form.
  • Indicate your gross monthly income and whether you are available for an interview in person or by phone.
  • Mail the completed application to your nearest Illinois DHS office. Use the office location tool on DHS's website if you do not know the address.

For Online Application - visit www.ides.state.il.us/individual/online_claim.asp click on Illinois Web Benefits Online Application System and submit an electronic application for food assistance.

You will then receive a notice from the DHS office to attend your SNAP benefits interview and the appointment time. If you are unable to physically go to the interview, you may take a phone interview. The following documents must be availed at the time of your interview:

  • Social Security numbers for all household members
  • Government issued photo identity
  • Proof of your residence
  • Financial documentation of monthly income, resources and expenses, such as W-2 forms, pay stubs, bank statements and household bills

Additional documents may be required by the DHS representative depending on individual circumstances. You will not know for sure if you qualify to receive SNAP benefits until after the case worker has verified all of your information. You will then receive a letter in the mail 30 days after the date of the interview informing you of your eligibility.

In line with the Federal Law, U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) policy, the Department of Human Services is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, or political affiliation. A discrimination complaint can be filed at the Department of Human Services, USDA, or HHS using the following contact information:

Department of Human Services, EEO/AA Office
401 S. Clinton Street, 7th floor
Chicago, IL 60607

USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington D.C. 20250-9410
or call (866) 632-9992 (Voice)
or (800) 877-8339 (Hearing impaired/speech disabilities)
or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish)

HHS, Director, Office for Civil Rights, Room 506-F, HHS Building
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201
or call (202) 619-0403 (Voice)
or (202) 619-3257 (Hearing impaired/speech disabilities)

DHS, USDA, and HHS are equal opportunity providers and employers.