Anyone who meets the requirements of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get SNAP benefits. The most important rules in figuring out SNAP eligibility are monthly income, size of household, and expenses. You do not have to work to get SNAP benefits, but you are expected to try and find a job and work if you are able. Also, some people must participate in SNAP Employment and Training, or do the Earnfare Program if they are parents. You could lose your benefits if you are required to participate in a work or training program and you do not.
Go to the Illinois Department of Human Services' SNAP calculator to see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits and to get an idea of the how much you would receive.
If you are a legal immigrant you might qualify for benefits. To learn more, see Am I eligible for SNAP if I am not a US citizen?
Effective August 22, 2017, Illinois colleges must tell their students if they are eligible for SNAP benefits.
You cannot get SNAP benefits if:
- You are an undocumented immigrant
- You are not a resident of Illinois or are not living in Illinois
- You have been temporarily or permanently disqualified from receiving benefits because you broke the program’s rules
- You are living in a hospital, jail, or another place where meals are provided
- You are on strike and were not eligible on the day before the strike began
- In the last 10 years, you were convicted of lying about who you are or where you live so that you could get SNAP
- You are on the run from the law, or are in violation of your probation, or have escaped from jail or prison.
Household units with at least one “qualifying member” are treated differently than others in determining eligibility and the amount of assistance provided. You are a qualified member of SNAP if you:
- Are 60 years old or over, or
- Receive SSI, SSDI, Veteran's Benefits, or some other state and or federal disability payments
Some qualifying members may be considered 2 separate SNAP units even though they purchase and make their food with the people they live with. Check with your local DHS office if you think this could apply to you.
Updated: August 2017