If you are trying to see if you are eligible to apply for Food stamps in Illinois (SNAP) or need more information about Illinois EBT, you’ve come to the right place. The Illinois food stamps and EBT program, also called the Food Assistance Program, is a federal nutrition program that helps low-income individuals and families buy food.
Food Stamps benefits can be used to purchase food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and some farmers’ markets.
The program is run at the state level by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS).
If you apply and are approved for benefits, your monthly food stamps allocation will be given to you each month on a plastic card called an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card, which works like a debit card.
We have provided below everything you need to know to successfully apply for food stamps. We have also explained how EBT Card works and what you can expect with your card if you are approved for food stamps.
Table of Contents:
- Should I apply for Illinois Food Stamps?
- Who is Eligible for Illinois Food Stamps?
- Illinois Food Stamps Income Limit
- How Much Will I Receive in Illinois Food Stamps?
- How to Apply for Illinois Food Stamps
- How long to get Approved for Illinois Food Stamps?
- What is the Illinois EBT Card?
- What can I buy with EBT in Illinois?
- Which Illinois Grocery Stores Accept EBT Online?
- What time are Food Stamps EBT deposited in Illinois?
- How to Check Illinois EBT Card Balance?
- How Do I Get an Illinois EBT Card Replacement?
- Illinois EBT Card Discounts, Perks, and Freebies
Should I apply for Illinois Food Stamps?
If you’ve hit tough times and are struggling to afford food for yourself or your family, you should consider applying for food stamps.
The food stamps program is a federal entitlement program. This means anyone who is eligible will receive benefits. You will not be taking away benefits from someone else if you apply.
In addition, the food stamps program is a nutrition program and not a welfare cash assistance program (which is called TANF). You do not have to be receiving TANF to get food stamps.
Who is Eligible for Illinois Food Stamps?
To be eligible for food stamps in Illinois, you have to meet the Gross Income, Net Income, and Asset tests.
Additionally, if your household has an elderly (over 60) or disabled member, you may be exempt from the Gross Income, Net Income, and/or Asset tests.
In Illinois, eligibility for SNAP is limited to people with gross incomes up to 130% of the federal poverty line.
Also, your net income (Gross income minus allowable deductions) cannot exceed 100% of the poverty level.
Furthermore, able-bodied adults without dependents can only receive three months of benefits during any three-year period if they’re not working a minimum of 20 hours per week or participating in a training program.
Illinois Food Stamps Income Limit
Below is the food stamps income limit for Illinois. It is based on the number of people in your household.
For example, if you are a family of 4, you cannot make more than a gross income of $3,816 a month to qualify for food stamps.
|Illinois SNAP Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2023|
|Effective October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023|
|Household Size||Monthly Net Income (100% of FPL)||Monthly Gross Income (165% of FPL) for households without Disabled or Elderly Persons||Monthly Gross Income (200% of FPL) for households with an Elderly or Disabled Member|
|Each Additional Household Member: Add||$394||$649||$787|
Illinois Food Stamps Asset Limit
Here’s what you need to know about SNAP Asset limits in Illinois:
The Asset Limits for SNAP have increased as follows:
- $3,750 for households with at least 1 qualifying member and gross monthly income of the household is above the 200% FPL
- $2,500 for all other SNAP households
- $3,750 for Lottery and Gambling winnings.
A qualifying member is someone who:
- Receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
- Receives Social Security disability or blindness benefits,
- Is age 60 or older,
- Receives Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (cash or medical),
- Receives a federal, state, or local government disability pension and is considered permanently with disabilities,
- Is a certain type of veteran or their surviving family members,
- Receives Railroad Retirement disability benefits, or
- Receives a yearly payment from Railroad Retirement and is eligible for Medicare.
How Much Will I Receive in Illinois Food Stamps?
The amount of food stamps benefits a household gets depends on how many people are in the household and how much monthly net income remains after taking allowable deductions.
A family of 4 can receive a maximum food stamps benefit of $939.
Because food stamps households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their own resources on food, the amount of food stamps you get is calculated by multiplying your household’s net monthly income by 0.3 and subtracting the result from the maximum monthly allotment for your household size.
|Maximum SNAP Benefit Amount by Household Size for Fiscal Year 2023|
|Effective October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023|
|Household Size||Maximum SNAP Benefit Allotment|
|Each Additional Household Member: Add||$211|
Illinois Food Stamps Work Requirement
In general, applicants for food stamps must meet work requirements to be eligible for benefits.
These work requirements include:
- Registering for work;
- Not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing hours;
- Taking a job if offered; and
- Participating in employment and training programs, if assigned by the DHHS.
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the SNAP program.
In addition, able-bodied adults without dependents are required to work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 36-month period.
Those who do not have to meet the food stamps work requirements include:
- Pregnant women; and
- People who are exempt for physical or mental health reasons.
Illinois Food Stamps Work Exemption
The SNAP Work Requirement Time-Limited Benefits policy above is NOT in effect for any county in the State of Illinois through 06/30/2023.
How to Apply for Illinois Food Stamps
There are 3 ways you can apply for food stamps in Illinois.
Option 1 – Apply online
You can apply online through the ABE Illinois account (as shown in the image below). If you have an account, you can log in or create your ABE Illinois Account. Click here to be taken to the website.
Option 2 – Apply at DHS Office Near You
You can apply in person at the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) office near you. Click here to locate a DHS office.
Option 3 – Download Illinois Food Stamps Application
You can download an application, complete it, and mail it to your county DHS office or submit it in person.
Call your county DHS office if one of these methods will not work for you. Click here to locate a DHS office.
How long to get Approved for Illinois Food Stamps?
Generally, a decision will be made on your Louisiana food stamps application within 30 days of the day you submitted a COMPLETE application.
Once you submit a complete application, your caseworker will schedule an interview with you to review your application information and ask any questions they may have about the information you submitted.
What is the Illinois EBT Card?
The Illinois EBT Card, also known as the Illinois Link card is used to administer your monthly food stamps and cash benefits.
If you are approved for food stamps, your monthly food stamps allocation will be given to you each month on an Illinois EBT Card, which works like a debit card.
You can access your SNAP and/or Cash benefits using your Illinois Link card and your 4-digit PIN.
What can I buy with EBT in Illinois?
You are allowed to use your food stamps benefits card to buy foods that your household will prepare to eat at home, including the following
- breads and cereals
- fruits and vegetables
- meats, fish and poultry; and
- dairy products
- Seeds and plants to produce food for the household to eat
- Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream
- Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes
- Energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label
- Energy drinks that have a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements and are therefore not eligible
What you CANNOT buy with EBT in Illinois
Now that you know what you can buy with your SNAP card, here is the list of things you CANNOT buy with the card:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
- Any nonfood items, such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, diapers, and household supplies
- Vitamins and medicines
- Food that will be eaten in the store
- Hot foods
- Live animals
NOTE: In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.
Which Illinois Grocery Stores Accept EBT Online?
The following grocery stores accept Illinois SNAP EBT cards online for pickup and/or delivery.
Metropolis Big John Grocery
Sam’s Club Scan and Go
Supermercados El Guero
Tony’s Fresh Market
What time are Food Stamps EBT deposited in Illinois?
Here’s the complete SNAP EBT Schedule for Illinois.
Illinois SNAP benefits are made available on the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 13th, 17th, and 20th of every month, based on a combination of the type of case and the case name.
SNAP recipients may obtain information about eligibility and benefit availability by calling the DHS Help Line at 1-800-843-6154.
How to Check Illinois EBT Card Balance?
There are three ways to check your Illinois EBT Card balance.
Call 1-800-678-LINK (5465) to check the balance on your Illinois EBT Card.
- You can check the balance online here.
- You can also check the balance by locating your Last Receipt.
How Do I Get an Illinois EBT Card Replacement?
To report your card lost, stolen, damaged, or not received in the mail call the Illinois EBT Customer Service number at – 1-800-678-LINK (5465).
If your EBT card is stolen and benefits are used these benefits cannot be replaced.
You can also call the number above for the following:
- To report your card lost, stolen, damaged, or not received in the mail.
- To know the date your benefits will be available in your account each month.
- To know if your benefits have been deposited into your account and get your account balance.
- To hear your last 10 transactions.
- To file a claim if you question a transaction in your account.
- If you want to select or change your PIN.
- If your card does not work.
- To find the nearest location where you can use your card.
- If you have other questions about or problems with your card.
Illinois EBT Card Discounts
Your Illinois EBT Card comes with some perks, discounts, and freebies. This includes:
- 50% Discount on Amazon Prime Membership
- Discounts on Home or Cell Phone Service
- Up to $30 credit toward home internet service
- A one-time discount of up to $100 towards the purchase of a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer
For details on the SNAP EBT discounts and perks described above, continue reading below.
Sign up for Amazon Prime Discount for EBT Holders
Amazon.com has announced that beneficiaries enrolled in some government assistance programs can now get Amazon Prime subscriptions for $6.99 a month. EBT Cardholders are included in this offer.
This means that if you are currently receiving benefits on an EBT card, like Food Stamps, you can sign up for Amazon Prime discount for EBT holders. To sign up, click here to be taken to their sign-up page.
The regular Amazon Prime membership is $14.99 a month. However, if you have an EBT Card, you can get Prime Membership for $6.99. That’s over 50% off the regular price.
Discounts on Home and Cell Phone Services
If you are currently on Food Stamps, and your income is below a certain level, you may qualify for FREE or low-cost cell phone or home phone service for you or a member of your family through the Federal Lifeline Program, which serves nearly 13 million Americans.
The Lifeline Program program provides discounts on cell phone service or home phone service for qualifying low-income consumers, including those on Food Stamps.
Here are the companies that participate in the program in the state of Illinois.
There are different companies providing cell phone (Mobile Service) and home phone service (Home Service). Be sure to view the “Type of Service” column to make sure you are selecting the right company.
- Home Service means that the provider offers Lifeline home phone or Internet service.
- Mobile Service means the provider offers Lifeline mobile phone or Internet service.
|Company Name||Phone||Type of Service|
|Grafton Telephone Company*||618-786-3311||Home Service|
|Hamilton County Telephone Co-op*||618-736-2211||Home Service|
|Wabash Telephone Cooperative||800-228-9824||Home Service|
|Cass Telephone Company*||800-508-5405||Home Service|
|Egyptian Telephone Cooperative Association*||618-965-3481||Home Service|
|Alhambra-Grantfork Telephone Company||618-488-2165||Home Service|
|Access Wireless*||866-594-3644||Mobile Service|
|Marseilles Telephone Company||800-227-5161||Home Service|
|Oneida Telephone Exchange*||309-483-3111||Home Service|
|Consolidated Communications||844-968-7224||Home Service|
|Adams Telephone Cooperative*||877-696-4611||Home Service|
|Data Net Systems||888-771-1010||Home Service|
|Moultrie Independent Telephone Company||217-873-4636||Home Service|
|Metamora Telephone Company*||800-227-5161||Home Service|
|Glasford Telephone Company||309-389-2111||Home Service|
|Shawnee Telephone Company*||800-461-3956||Home Service|
|Illinois Valley Cellular RSA 2-II Part||800-434-4824||Mobile Service|
|Tonica Telephone Company||815-442-9915||Home Service|
|Home Telephone Company*||888-746-4482||Home Service|
|Gridley Telephone Company*||309-747-2221||Home Service|
|Life Wireless*||888-543-3620||Mobile Service|
|Crossville Telephone Company*||618-966-2196||Home Service|
|Madison Telephone Company*||800-422-4848||Home Service|
|Wisper ISP*||800-765-7772||Home Service|
|Frontier Communications||800-921-8101||Home Service|
|Leaf River Telephone Company||815-738-2211||Home Service|
|Geneseo Telephone Company*||309-944-2103||Home Service|
|Montrose Mutual Telephone Company*||217-925-5242||Home Service|
|Cambridge Telephone Company*||309-944-2103||Home Service|
|New Windsor Telephone Company||309-667-2712||Home Service|
|Mid Century Telephone Cooperative*||877-643-2368||Home Service|
|Diverse Communications||309-334-2150||Home Service|
|Harrisonville Telephone Company*||888-482-8353||Home Service|
|Safelink Wireless*||800-723-3546||Mobile Service|
|McDonough Telephone Cooperative*||888-640-4334||Home Service|
|Yourtel America*||855-299-9990||Mobile Service|
|Consolidated Communications of Illinois Company||844-968-7224||Home Service|
An asterisk (*) after the company name means that this service provider offers both ACP and Lifeline.
Discounts on Internet Service and Laptop/Tablet
If you are currently on Food Stamps, and your income is below a certain level, you may qualify for FREE or low-cost internet service and a one-time credit towards the purchase of a laptop or tablet. for you or a member of your family through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
How much of a discount will I receive on my Internet Service?
If your household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you can receive:
- Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
- Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 towards the purchase of an eligible laptop, tablet, or desktop computer
For the companies that participate in the program in the state of Illinois, see the Illinois Low Income Free Internet Program guide.
Illinois Food Stamps and EBT Summary
We hope this post on Illinois Food Stamps and EBT was helpful.
If you have further questions about SNAP Benefits & EBT, or Personal Finance topics affecting low-income households, please let us know in the comments section below.
Be sure to check out our other articles on low-income personal finance.