Managing Agency Illinois

Program Description

The 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 Requirements

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).

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $15,678
2 $21,112
3 $26,546
4 $31,980
5 $37,414
6 $42,848
7 $48,282
8 $53,716

*For households with more than eight people, add $5,434 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

For detailed application information, visit the Illinois Food Stamp Program Application page. 

Program Contact Information

To find out more about Illinois TANF, please visit the Illinois Food Stamp Program Application page. 

You can also call the Illinois Department of Human Service (DHS) toll-free to make inquiries about TANF:


1-800-843-6154

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