How Health Benefits Work

Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD) Medicaid

Look at AABD Medicaid if you get SSI or if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant
  • You have a disability or are 65 or older
  • Have low income, and
  • Have low resources

Is It Right for You?

Medicaid is government-funded health coverage for people in certain situations. You may qualify if you:

Answer the questions on this page to see if you might qualify for AABD Medicaid. If so, it’s probably your best health coverage option because it doesn’t have a premium and Medicaid covers more services than most private plans. Also, if you qualify for Medicaid, you cannot get government help paying for an individual plan on Get Covered Illinois/

Medicaid Rules for Immigrants

For Medicaid, you must be a U.S. citizen or meet specific noncitizen requirements:

Note: Illinois has temporarily paused new enrollment in the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors programs.

Do You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

If you get SSI benefits, or qualify for SSI’s 1619(b) rule, which helps people who used to get SSI, you automatically qualify for Medicaid coverage:

  • If you get SSI benefits, you qualify for Medicaid, but still need to fill out a Medicaid application.
  • If you qualify for 1619(b), you automatically get Medicaid coverage and do not need to fill out a separate Medicaid application.

Note: For this, you must meet all other Illinois Medicaid program rules, such as living in Illinois.

If you get SSI or qualify for 1619(b), you qualify for AABD Medicaid coverage!

If not, keep reading this page to see if AABD Medicaid might still be right for you.

If You Don't Get SSI, Do You Have Very Low Income and Very Low Resources?

If you don't get SSI or qualify for 1619(b), you may still qualify for AABD Medicaid if you:

If you have a disability, have income and resources below the limits, and meet all other program rules, AABD Medicaid might be right for you.

Tip: If you have a disability, but you have higher income or resources, you may qualify for Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities (HBWD). Learn more about HBWD.

AABD Medicaid with a spenddown

People with countable income or resources over the limit for free AABD Medicaid may qualify for AABD Medicaid with a "spenddown." With Medicaid Spenddown, you pay for some of your medical expenses each month before Medicaid starts paying for the rest.

In this way, Medicaid Spenddown is like having a monthly insurance deductible. How much you pay depends on how much you have in income or resources. Some people choose the Pay-In Spenddown option, which works a bit differently. Learn more about these options.

Tip: The spenddown amount for a person with a disability who earns money at work is often higher than the premium they'd pay to get the same Medicaid benefits through the Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities (HBWD) program. Learn more about HBWD.

How to Sign Up

You can apply for Medicaid, All Kids, and other Illinois programs:

The ABE website answers frequently asked questions, including explaining what information you'll need to fill out an application.

Staying on Medicaid

Usually, once approved for Medicaid, you continue to qualify as long as your situation doesn’t change. If your income, immigration status, residency, or household size changes, let your DHS Family Community Resource Center know within 10 days of the change. You can do this in person, by phone, or by email. When you report your changes, the county tells you whether you continue to get Medicaid or if you have new health coverage options, like individual coverage with subsidies or HBWD.

Learn more