|Government Benefits for Immigrants||
Last updated: September 2012
There are many different kinds of federal and state government benefits. Some of these are:
Generally, you may be eligible for all of the benefits listed above if you have been a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), or other type of Qualified Immigrant, for at least 5 years.
According to federal law, Qualified Immigrants include:
Some programs in Illinois are available without checking on immigration status, including:
You may be eligible for other programs even if you have not been an LPR or other type of Qualified Immigrant for at least 5 years. Please see the information on each program below for further details about immigrant eligibility for particular benefits.
SNAP is the federal food stamp program which provides low-income families with the money to purchase groceries. In Illinois, food stamps are issued on a monthly basis through the LINK card.
You may be eligible for the SNAP program if you are a member of one of the following groups:
For additional information about immigrant eligibility for SNAP, please see SNAP Policy on Non-Citizen Eligibility.
Yes. Even if you do not qualify for food stamps because of your immigration status, you can apply for your children or other members of the household who do qualify.
No. Receiving food stamps through SNAP will not affect your immigration status.
To participate in the SNAP program and receive food stamps, you must still earn less than the income limits and meet the other requirements of the program.
For more information, please see Getting Food Stamps (SNAP) in Illinois.
WIC is a federal food assistance program for women, infants, and children. It helps pregnant women, new mothers and young children eat well and stay healthy by providing supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education.
For more information about WIC, including how to apply, please see Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Yes. Illinois does not check the immigration status of WIC applicants.
SSI provides monthly income for people who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled and who have very limited income and assets. SSI benefits are only paid to the eligible disabled person, not to dependents, unless they also qualify for SSI.
For more information about SSI, including how to apply, please see Disabilities Guidebook: Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
You may be eligible for SSI benefits if you are a member of one of the following groups:
For more information about immigrant eligibility for SSI, please see Supplemental Security Income (SSI) For Noncitizens.
AABD is an Illinois program that provides a cash grant to certain low income people with disabilities or who are blind, and to people age 65 and over. Its purpose is to provide for the basic income needs of people with disabilities and senior citizens.
For more information about AABD, including how to apply, please see Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD).
You may be eligible for AABD benefits if you are a member of one of the following groups:
TANF is one of the largest public benefit programs. It offers temporary financial help for families. TANF can help you pay for food, housing, electricity and other utility expenses, and other non-medical expenses. TANF can also help you get the skills needed to get steady jobs. TANF offers classes and programs to help improve your education and work-related skills.
For more information about TANF, including how to apply, please see Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
You may be eligible for TANF benefits if you are a member of one of the following groups:
GA provides money and medical assistance to those in need. The program is run by a local governmental unit called a township. In some cases, it is run by a county.
Some townships get state money to run the program. In those townships and counties, the programs are called Children and Family Assistance and Transitional Assistance.
For more information about GA, including how to apply, please see General Assistance.
The rules regarding eligibility may change from township to township.
Contact your local DHS Family Community Resource Center. To find the Family Community Resource Center near you, please see the Office Locator.
Social Security provides income to retired workers 62 years old or older.
For more information about Social Security, including how to apply for benefits, please see Senior Citizens Handbook - Financial Assistance: Social Security.
Members of the following groups may be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits:
Non-qualified immigrants may be eligible if they:
Medicaid is a state and federal program that pays for medical expenses for low-income people.
For more information about Medicaid, including how to apply, please see Disabilities Guidebook: Medicaid (for Adults).
You may be eligible for Medicaid benefits if you are a member of one of the following groups:
All immigrants are eligible for the following services, regardless of immigration status:
All Kids is a state program to provide affordable health insurance for children.
For more information about All Kids, including how to apply, please see What Is All Kids Healthcare?
Yes. As of July 1, 2006, all children under 18 years old are eligible for health insurance coverage, if they:
Head Start is a child development program that provides services to low-income preschool children and their families, with a focus on education, social and emotional development, physical and mental health, and nutrition.
For more information about Head Start, including how to enroll your child, please see Head Start Child Development Program.
Yes. All children may be eligible for Head Start, no matter what is their immigration status.
For a list of organizations in your area that may be able to help you, enter your zip code.
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