Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps you pay for food. SNAP used to be known as Food Stamps. Learn more about SNAP.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is for people who can’t afford all their food. Most households have to meet income limits to qualify for the program.

Learn more about SNAP income limits.

For people with disabilities, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) resource limit is $4,250. This does not include your primary car or the home you live in.

If you have a disability that began before you turned 26, you can open an ABLE account where you can save up to $18,000 each year (or more if you work). The money you have in this account will not count for the SNAP resource limit. Learn more about ABLE accounts.

To find out if you might get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Illinois, use the online SNAP Eligibility Calculator. After you answer questions about your situation, the calculator tells you if you are likely to qualify for SNAP. Even if the calculator says you might not qualify, go ahead and apply for SNAP benefits just to see if giving more details means you qualify after all.

The amount you get depends on your household income, what deductions you have, and the number of people in your household.

Learn more about how SNAP decides how much you get in benefits.

You can apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):

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

No matter which way you apply, you can use this same application to also apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, cash assistance, and other benefits programs.

When you get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you get an Illinois Link Card, a plastic card that looks and works like a debit card. Illinois puts your SNAP benefits money on the Link card each month and you use the card to pay for food. You can use your Link card at grocery stores and farmers markets.

You cannot use your Link card at most restaurants. However, the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program lets you use your Link card at some restaurants in selected ZIP codes if you are:

  • Blind or have a disability (or the spouse of someone who is blind or has a disability)
  • 60 or older (or the spouse of someone 60 or older), or
  • Experiencing homelessness.

You must tell SNAP when your income, resources, or living situation changes. Always report these changes within 10 days after the change happens, so that you don’t run into problems with your SNAP benefits. If your income changes, report it within 10 days of getting your first check at the new income amount.

You can report changes:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the same program as what you knew as Food Stamps. It got its name from giving paper “stamps” to buy food. Now, in Illinois SNAP gives you your benefits on the Illinois Link Card, a plastic card that looks and works like a debit card.

Learn more