Assists families in purchasing food For the first time, over 2 million people in Illinois received SNAP benefits in October 2012. SNAP (Food Stamps )
Who is in my Household? • People are in the same SNAP household if they purchase and prepare meals together. Certain people must be considered to be in the same household: • Parents and children (up until age 22) • Children living with a caretaker (up • until age 18) • Spouses • Individuals in the same SNAP household are on the same case and the entire household’s income and expenses will be considered. • Financially advantageous to have multiple SNAP “households”.
What is the income limit for SNAP? The maximum monthly income is 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), based on household size: For earned income, use the gross income from pay stubs, before taxes and other withholdings. Unless a household contains an elderly or disabled member, the household must meet the gross income test before household expenses are considered. There is NO gross income test for households with elderly or disabled members. There is no asset test.
How much will I get? • The amount depends on a number of factors, including • income and expenses. Eligible expenses include: • Rent/Mortgage • Utilities (paying for AC/Heat, or receiving LIHEAP) • Child Care • Medical Expenses (for elderly/disabled household member) • Expenses over $35/month count • Child support paid • The maximum amount is based on the number of eligible people in your household: Try the SNAP Calculator on the DHS website!
How do I access my SNAP benefits? SNAP benefits are issued on a “LINK” card. This functions like a debit card, and is reloaded each month you are eligible for food stamp assistance. LINK cards are now mailed to clients when a SNAP application is approved. To check the balance of your LINK card, or if it is lost or stolen, call 1-800-678-LINK (5465). You can also check your balance or order a new card on the DHS website. IMPORTANT! If the head of the household is ineligible for assistance, enter social security number and birth date of children in phone system to activate card or check balance.
Allowable Uses of SNAP funds YES • any food or food product for human consumption, • plus seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food. NO • Hot foods ready to eat, • Food intended to be heated in the store, • Foods to be eaten in the store, • Vitamins or medicines, • Pet foods, • Any nonfood items (except seeds and plants), • Alcoholic beverages, or • Tobacco.
Can apply in person, by fax or online • How long will it take? • Regular SNAP benefits • You must have access to benefits within 30 days from the date of application. • Expedited SNAP benefits • Your application must be processed in 5 days if your household: • Has rent/mortgage and utility expenses in excess of their income and assets, or • Has assets under $100 and monthly income under $150.