If you want to apply for food stamps in Illinois, you must understand how the submission process works and what types of forms you will need to complete the application. This will help you avoid making mistakes that may prolong the process. You must also decide how you want to submit your application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as there are advantages and disadvantages to each method.
You may complete the IL food stamp application online or submit it by mail, fax or in person. The Illinois Department of Human Resources (IDHS) recommends that you submit it online, as it usually takes the least amount of time. Of these submission methods, mailing in your form may take the longest. Continue reading below to learn more about the different application methods.
What do you need to apply for food stamps in Illinois?
In order to apply for SNAP in IL after meeting the program’s eligibility criteria, you must gather certain relevant documents. These will make it much easier to fill out the application and provide the most accurate information. For instance, you must submit exact amounts for your monthly income, so it is important to have a paycheck, a letter from your employer or other proof of employment readily available.
Other documents that will help you fill out the Illinois food stamp application form include:
- Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or state ID
- Social Security cards or proof of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for each household member who wants to receive benefits
- Documents that prove alien registration numbers for non-citizen applicants, if applicable
- Utility bills
- Bank account statements
- Proof of expenses for child care or a person with a disability, if applicable
If you are a student, a senior or a person who has a disability, you will need to submit documents that prove your circumstances. As a student, you must have documents that prove you are between 18 and 49 years of age, enrolled in a qualifying program and working a minimum of 20 hours per week. If you are elderly or have a disability, you must submit records of your out-of-pocket medical expenses.
If you want to sign up for food stamps, make sure that the information you submit is as accurate as possible. Otherwise, you may incur penalties for providing false information and your application may be withdrawn.
How to Apply for Food Stamps Online in Illinois
To apply for food stamps online in IL, visit the application for benefits eligibility (ABE) web portal. This portal allows you to apply for various forms of assistance and can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you do not have an account, you will be prompted to register by creating a username and password.
The IDHS states that the food stamp application online usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes to be completed. Generally, your session will time out if the site remains inactive for 30 minutes. Therefore, it is important to save your work as you go along. If you cannot complete the application in one sitting, you may click the “save & exit” button and finish it at a later time.
Keep in mind that you must still complete an interview with a caseworker after applying online. For more information on applying for SNAP, download our free guide.
How to Submit an Illinois Food Stamp Application by Mail
If you do not want to navigate the online system, you may choose to print out a SNAP benefits application and submit it by fax or mail. To do so, make sure you download the correct form from the IDHS in either English or Spanish.
Then, follow the directions on the form and fill it out as accurately as possible. Once the application is complete, mail or fax it to the nearest family community resource center.
How to Apply for SNAP In-Person in Illinois
In order to apply for SNAP benefits in person, print out the appropriate application form from the state portal and fill it out. Then, bring it to your local family community resource center. Be sure to visit the correct office, as DHS offices outside your county may be unable to accept your application.
You may prefer to bring your application directly to your local office (as opposed to mailing it in) if the location is nearby. Moreover, when filing this application in person, you have the chance to ask a caseworker for assistance if you are struggling to fill out a portion of the application.
How to Check Your SNAP Application Status in Illinois
The easiest way to check your SNAP application status is to visit the ABE website and log in. The online portal will tell you when your application was submitted and whether a decision was made on your application.
Otherwise, you may check your food stamp application status by calling your family community resource center. Remember that you will receive a formal notice as soon as your application is approved or denied.
Illinois Food Stamps Interview Process
You must complete an IL food stamp interview after your local DHS office receives your application. It may take several weeks for your office to request an interview. Generally, interviews are completed in person. On the other hand, if you cannot complete an interview in person, you may be allowed to complete it over the phone.
During your food stamp phone interview or in-person interview, you will be asked to provide the following documents:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of residence
- Proof of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for each household member
Note: If you are completing the interview over the phone, you are still required to present these documents to your caseworker at some point.
About SNAP Recertification in Illinois
You must complete a SNAP recertification in IL if you wish to receive benefits past your eligibility period. You may complete important renewal activities through the ABE online portal or by first contacting your family community resource center. Be sure to submit your renewal forms before your eligibility period ends, or you may not qualify for additional benefits.
How to Appeal a Food Stamps Denial in Illinois
An applicant may have his or her application for IL food stamps denied for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason, applicants have a right to appeal the decision and take part in a fair hearing.
If you want to start the appeals process, you may file an appeal online or write a letter requesting a hearing to your IDHS office or the DHS email address. For an in-depth explanation of the SNAP appeals process, download our free guide.