Eligibility for Food Stamps in Illinois

The United States Department of Agriculture funds the Illinois food stamps program. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program to residents. This program provides low income residents with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (ETB) card, or LINK, to purchase groceries.


Illinois SNAP applicants may not earn more than 130 percent of federal poverty levels (FPL) in gross income or 100 percent of the FPL in net income as of 2010. Allowable deductions from this calculation include utility bills, rent, mortgage payments, child support and out of pocket medical expenses. According to the Illinois DHS, the monthly gross income limit for a single healthy person is $1,174 or less, while a disabled person may not earn more than $1,805 a month as of 2010. A family of four may not earn more than $2,389 in monthly gross income.


According to Illinois Legal Advocate, all Illinois food stamp applicants must be legal state residents. Illegal aliens do not qualify for the SNAP. The state does not require residents to have a fixed address, but applicants must have a Social Security Number (SSN). Residents may also have to provide proof of their income and their expenses before a DHS worker will approve their food stamp application.


According to the Illinois DHS, residents are eligible for Illinois food stamp benefits if they have less than $2,000 in liquid assets in a savings or checking account, an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), stocks and bonds. For residents with a disabled or elderly member of the household, the asset limit increases to $3,000. Non-liquid assets, such as cars, real estate and personal property, do not count towards income calculations.

Time Frame

Illinois food stamp applicants will receive a reply from the DHS within 30 days of an application submission. Applicants must respond promptly to any DHS requests for information. According to Illinois Legal Advocate, residents may receive expedited food stamps processing within five days if they have less than $100 in assets and under $150 in monthly income.


After applying for Illinois food stamps, residents must go to an interview at their local Illinois DHS branch to discuss their financial need. To keep their food stamps, non-disabled recipients must actively seek job opportunities and try to obtain job interviews with employers. The DHS may try to find work for food stamp recipients through opportunity referrals, which link benefit recipients with employers.