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Written by Vanessa Wit


Guide to Apply for Food Stamps in Illinois

Are you in Chicago, Springfield, Peoria, Andersonville or elsewhere in Illinois and having problems putting food on the table on a monthly basis? Evanston, South Loop, Batavia, Naperville, Schaumburg low-income families need help with grocery bills? There is a food assistance program available for all Illinois residents who are eligible.

This article will provide you with a guide on how to apply for food assistance in the state of Illinois. You will also learn some important facts about the process and details on who is eligible. Understanding the food stamp process might sound cumbersome at first, but the steps are pretty simple once you get a grasp of what is needed and expected.

What is SNAP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was created to aid low income families in need of assistance in buying groceries. In the State of Illinois, benefits are provided via an Illinois Link Card, which acts just as a normal debit card might. The Department of Health Services manages the program.

The Rules of SNAP

Most low income families are eligible for SNAP benefits. When determining if you are eligible, there are only a few factors; income, expenses, and household count.

There are other ways in addition to SNAP that can help you cut grocery bills- Coupons. Taking advantage of the thousands of coupons available can reduce your spending substantially. Stacking, doubling, and buy one get one offers (BOGO) are just a few ways to save a ton. You can search and print local coupons on Grocery Coupon Network. Also, learn about common sale cycles.


How to Apply for SNAP

There are a few ways to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the State of Illinois.

  1. Apply Online- You can use an online application called the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE).
  2. Paper Application that you will need to turn in- You will need to download a copy of the application here. There is also a spanish version on the state website if needed. Once completed to the best of your ability, return the application to your local Department of Human Services office. You can mail, fax or hand the form in directly.
  3. Apply at Family Community Resource Center- Applications are available at your local DHS office.

Next Steps- Interview Process

After your application has been received and reviewed, you will be asked to partake in an interview. It is preferred that it be an in person interview, but if that is impossible, a phone interview is available. Here are a few items that will be discussed during the interview, so be sure to bring any paperwork that pertains to these items:

  • Identification verification
  • Proof of residence
  • Social Security numbers of all member of your household
  • Proof of income- pay stubs

Questions about the Process

You can always contact the many departments of the government for any questions about the process:

Call 1-800-843-6154 toll-free.

Other contacts you can reach out to are:

  • Department of Human Services
    EEO/AA Office
    401 S. Clinton Street, 7th floor
    Chicago, IL 60607
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Director, Office of Adjudication
    1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington D.C. 20250-9410
  • Toll Free (866) 632-9992
  • Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at
    (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 for spanish.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Director, Office for Civil Rights,
    Room 506-F
  • HHS Building
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    (202) 619-0403

  • More Ways to Save

    Have you seen shows or read stories about extreme couponers cutting their grocery bills in half and some even bringing home a cart full of products for free? You can do this too! Check out Grocery Coupon Network for tons of tips and even videos to show you how its done.

    The key is organization and preparation. Learn how to best categorize your coupons and plan out your shopping trips. Locate the stores that allow for biggest savings, especially stores that allow you to double and even triple the value of your coupons. You can stock up on products or even donate the excess that you get.

    Grocery Coupon Network is a couponing community. We work together to find the best deals in your local stores and post most relevant coupons. Join our community and share the promotions and savings you are seeing throughout your town. We are especially looking for Chicago, Springfield, Peoria and all other Illinois city couponers to help build up our Illinois content.


    Video: How to Use a Coupon Organizer to Save Time

    Use a Coupon Organizer to make couponing easier. Step up from envelopes and get serious about organizing to save time and headaches.


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