Illinois residents have a number of benefits available to them from a mix of federal and state grant funding. The state administers this aid through local programs that help low-income residents of Illinois. Support includes food, health care and financial payments for basic needs. Applying for help is usually accomplished online or at a local office. Here you will find a brief description of what each program does and how to apply for assistance.
All Kids Health Insurance
Illinois All Kids provides health insurance through federal and state funding, offering health care plans to cover the state’s children under the age of 19. Low-income earners can receive free coverage while others pay low-cost premiums. You can apply for All Kids online or in person at your local DHS office. You can also speak to an All Kids Application Agent who can help you apply for the program and explain its services. Use this online search to find an agent in your area. For any other questions about how the All Kids program can insure your children, call toll-free 1-866-255-5437.
Food Stamp Program
The Department of Human Services provides the Food Stamp Program also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP to low-income state residents. Benefits are distributed through an electronic payment card called the Illinois Link Card that can be used at grocery stores to purchase food for your family. Application can be accomplished online or by visiting your local DHS office. Then an interview will be scheduled with DHS that you must attend before you can start to receive benefits. For additional information about SNAP, call 1-800-843-6154.
Head Start Program
This program works with children of low-income families from birth to age 5 to better prepare them for the start of elementary school. Head Start highly involves parents, who serve as their children’s first teachers. Head Start enrollment is for kids 3 to 5 years old. Early Head Start is for expecting mothers and children under age 3. To find the closest program to your area, use the online Head Start locator. Call the Illinois Head Start Collaboration Office at 618-583-2083 if you have any questions.
Energy and Weatherization Assistance
The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs provides two types of assistance to low-income Illinois residents that deal with home energy costs. Services are provided in both cases by local Community Action Agencies. To apply for either, contact the agency listed for your county.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance provides funding for winter heating costs especially in situations where having power cut off can be dangerous for the home’s occupants. The program helps seniors, those with disabilities, households with small children and others.
- Home Weatherization Assistance will pay up to $7,500 to fix up each eligible home to improve overall energy efficiency and lower yearly heating and cooling costs. Weatherization includes insulation, equipment repair and replacement and work to doors and windows.
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services provides the State of Illinois Medicaid Program. Coverage is offered to pregnant women, children under 19, people with disabilities, the blind, veterans and seniors age 65 or older. Medicaid provides basic health care services such as physician, hospital and long-term care. You can apply online or by visiting your local DHS office. For additional information on Illinois Medicaid, call the Health Benefits Hotline at 1-800-843-6154.
School Nutrition Programs
Programs that feed Illinois school children are provided by the State Board of Education. The School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs provide hearty nutritious meals to kids during the school day in public schools at free or reduced prices based on income. The Special Milk Program provides milk for children enrolled in half-day classes, camps and day cares. During the summer months, children fed throughout the school year can still receive meals through coverage by the Summer Food Service. To apply for any of these school nutrition programs, simply contact your child’s school.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
TANF or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a safety net for pregnant women and parents with children under 19. It is available to those with low-income that either make very low wages, are already unemployed or are about to lose their job. Funding through the program will provide for food, housing, utility bills and other expenses besides medical care. You can apply online or by visiting your Family Community Resource Center. For additional information about Temporary Assistance, call DHS toll-free at 1-800-843-6154.
If you lose your job in Illinois, you can receive temporary unemployment payments as long as you were not responsible for becoming unemployed. To be eligible, you must have worked in the past 12 to 18 months. You must be seeking work and available to start a job while receiving unemployment. Unemployment Insurance is handled in Illinois by the Department of Employment Security. Visit their website to file a claim online or find your local IDES office to apply in person. For questions about Unemployment Insurance, call Claimant Services at 1-800-244-5631 to speak to a customer service representative.
Women, Infants and Children
WIC is provided by the Department of Human Services in Illinois to supply supplemental food to expecting mothers and new moms with children up to age 5 who are nutritionally at-risk. It issues WIC checks that provide basic healthy foods such as milk, eggs and juice. The program also supports mothers with education about nutrition and breast-feeding and helps locate health care and other services in their local area. Help is provided in communities across Illinois through local DHS offices. To find the office in your county use the online office locator and select Women, Infants and Children under office type. For any additional information about WIC in Illinois, call the DHS toll-free at 1-800-843-6154.
Category: Grants By States