Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Getting SNAP Benefits

The Benefit Amount

If you qualify for benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) calculates how much you get in benefits each month by looking at the maximum benefit for a household of your size, your household’s net income, and other factors. Read Who Can Get SNAP to understand how SNAP looks at your household, and who is included.

If your household has no monthly net income, SNAP may give you the maximum benefit amount for a household of your size. The Illinois Department of Human Services lists the Maximum Monthly SNAP Amounts (also available in Spanish).

If you do have net income, SNAP expects you to spend 30% of it on food. This means that for every $100 in net income, SNAP expects you to spend $30 on food.

For your monthly benefit, SNAP gives you the maximum monthly benefit for your size of household minus the amount that they expect you to spend on food (30% of your net income).

Formula for Monthly Benefit Amount:

Tim lives alone and gets income from Social Security benefits and work. His net income is $500. After he deducts his medical expenses and shelter allowance, his benefits amount is calculated like this:

Tim's SNAP benefit calculation:

Getting Your Benefits

When you get SNAP, you get an Illinois Link Card, which is a plastic card that looks and works like a debit card. Illinois puts money on the Link Card each month and you use the card to pay for food. Learn more about how to use your SNAP benefits on your Link Card.

Reporting Changes

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 paycheck at the new income amount.

You can report changes:

Learn more