Program DescriptionThe Food Stamp Program was designed to help end hunger and improve nutrition and health. It helps low-income households buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. The Department of Human Services administers the program in Illinois. Food stamp benefits can be used to buy any food or food product for human consumption, plus seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food. Benefits are provided through The Illinois Link System, an electronic system that allows someone to use a plastic card, similar to a bank card, at grocery store terminals.
Most households with low income can get food stamp benefits. The rules are complex, so all of the details are not listed here. If you are planning to apply for Food Stamps, you may want to use the pre-screening tool, provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, to help you estimate what you may be eligible to receive. However, just like Benefits.gov, the USDA screening tool cannot determine your eligibility. Only your local office can tell you whether you are eligible and how much you will receive.
The application process begins the day your local Department of Human Services office receives your signed application. You will be asked to come into the office for an interview, or you may be interviewed over the phone if you are unable to go to the office.
General Program RequirementsIn order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Illinois and fall into one of two groups: (1) those with a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or (2) those with a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 who share their household with a person or persons age 60 and over, or with a person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself). For either group, you must also have an annual household income of less than $14,079 if one person lives in the household; $18,941 if two people live in the household; $23,803 if three people live in the household; $28,665 if four people live in the household; $33,527 if five people live in the household; $38,389 if six people live in the household; $43,251 if seven people live in the household; or $48,113 if eight people live in the household. For larger households, add $4,862 for each additional person in the home.
Your Next StepsThe following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.
Application ProcessFor detailed application information, visit: