How To Apply For Illinois SNAP Benefits

View the information below if you are interested in applying for a EBT card in Illinois. It is important that you have all the documentation and information needed so the application process is not delayed. If you still have questions or issues about applying for food stamps, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), then you can call the Illinois SNAP hotline at 800-843-6154. The department that handles this program is called the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly Food Stamps) helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health. Benefits are provided on the Illinois Link Card - an electronic card that is accepted at most grocery stores. The program is managed by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Department of Human Services administers the program in Illinois.

Most households with low income can get Illinois SNAP benefits. The most important factors which determine the amount of, and eligibility for, SNAP benefits are income and expenses and the number of persons who live and eat together.

You can use the SNAP Eligibility Calculator to give an estimate of possible benefits. This is only an estimate and not an actual application. Your application must be reviewed by IDHS staff at the Family Community Resource Center. If you apply for benefits and are eligible, you will receive a notice of your eligibility.

A household might be eligible to receive SNAP benefits if their monthly gross income does not exceed the gross income limits shown below. For household with more than 10 persons, add $575 for each additional person.

Households without Disabled or Elderly Persons (age 60 or over) Maximum Monthly Income Allowable

Household Size Gross Monthly Income Limit (165% FPL)
1 $1,659
2 $2,233
3 $2,808
4 $3,383
5 $3,958
6 $4,532
7 $5,107
8 $5,682
9 $6,257
10 $6,837

Age 60 & Over or Disabled Households Maximum Monthly Income Allowable

Household Size Gross Monthly Income Limit (For those Age 60 or older OR Disabled) (200% FPL)
1 $2,010
2 $2,707
3 $3,403
4 $4,100
5 $4,797
6 $5,493
7 $6,190
8 $6,887
9 $7,584
10 $8,281

For each elderly and disabled household with more than 10 persons, add $697 for each additional person.

Federal rules say some people can't get SNAP benefits regardless of the amount of their income. For example, most boarders, certain non-citizens, most strikers, and people who live in certain institutions.

The monthly SNAP Benefit amount depends on the number of people in the "SNAP unit" and the monthly income available to meet needs after the caseworker subtracts the allowable deductions (such as rent and utilities) from gross income. The chart below shows the highest monthly benefit by household size. Depending on income, this amount could be less.

Maximum Monthly Income Allowable

The guidelines below show the highest gross income your household can have in a month and still receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Gross income is your total monthly income from all sources before any deductions. These amounts are only guidelines and do not apply to all households.

Number of People in Your Household Maximum Gross Monthly Income Maximum Gross Monthly Income (Age 60 and Over or Disabled)
1 $1,659 $2,010
2 $2,233 $2,707
3 $2,808 $3,403
4 $3,383 $4,100
5 $3,958 $4,797
6 $4,532 $5,493
7 $5,107 $6,190
8 $5,682 $6,887
9 $6,257 $7,584
10 $6,832 $8,281
Each additional person add $575 $697

Maximum Monthly SNAP Amounts
The chart below shows the maximum dollar amount of SNAP benefits your household can receive each month. This dollar amount is based on the number of people in your household, your income and your expenses. You could receive any amount up to or including these amounts.

Number of People in Your Household Maximum Gross Monthly Benefits
1 $192
2 $352
3 $504
4 $640
5 $760
6 $913
7 $1,009
8 $1,153
9 $1,297
10 $1,441

Apply for Illinois food stamps

If you want to apply for food stamps online, use the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) to apply for SNAP, cash or medical assistance. Please refer to the Guide to Completing an ABE Application. If you are an organization or agency that helps people access benefits, please refer to the Guide to ABE for Community Partners. If you prefer to print out an application and fill it out, then first download the application, English version - Spanish version. Follow the directions on the form. Type in as much information as you can. If you can't answer all the questions, that's ok. You must include your name and address. You may print out the application and write on it if you prefer. You must sign the form. Once you've completed the application, carry, mail or fax it to your local Family Community Resource Center. Use the DHS Office Locator to locate your local office.

The application process begins the day your DHS office receives your signed application. You will be asked to come to the office for an interview or participate by phone if you are unable to come to the office. You will be asked for various types of documents such as:

  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your residence
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all people on your application
  • Other types of documents depending on your circumstances.

The DHS caseworker will tell you what you need to bring. Please call our toll-free line at 800-843-6154 (Voice), Nextalk 800-324-5553, 711 TTY Relay, if you have questions or need help with the application.