A Complete Guide For SNAP In Illinois

1,052,040 people in Illinois face food insecurity. That’s 1 in 12 people. Government programs like SNAP—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—exist to help solve this issue. Not everyone is eligible to receive assistance. If you need SNAP assistance, you’re taking the right first step by learning more about the program.

What Is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

SNAP provides eligible people with financial assistance to buy groceries. You may also know SNAP by its former name, ‘food stamps.’ Those who qualify will receive monthly funds through a benefits card. You can use these funds at various stores or farmer’s markets to buy groceries.

SNAP food stamps

What Are SNAP Benefits?

Before receiving benefits, you would need to send in your application to the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). They should reach out to you within a month. After conducting an interview and going through the eligibility process, SNAP will determine your benefits. Your exact benefits will depend on your income and the number of people in your family. A one-person household could expect anywhere between $120-$250 monthly.

What Can SNAP Buy?

The SNAP program allows you to buy groceries based on your nutritional needs and preferences. However, not all food or grocery items can be bought with SNAP program benefits. Click here to see a list of ineligible items.

Bread and Cereals
Fruits and Vegetables
Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Meat, Fish, and Poultry
Edible Plants and Seeds

SNAP Eligibility in Illlinois

While SNAP is accessible to those who need it, not everyone who applies is accepted into the program. In Illinois, SNAP has income limits. For example, a three-person household must make less than $29,939 before taxes to qualify. Want to know if you’re eligible for SNAP in Illinois? Click here.

Groceries on table

What Is The Difference Between Food Stamps And Food Banks?

Food stamps and food banks share a common goal—feeding those with food insecurity. However, there are differences in how they each accomplish it. One of the main differences is that food banks provide groceries, but food stamps provide funds (to buy groceries).

How To Apply For SNAP Online

There are multiple ways for those in need to apply for food stamps. One way is to locate your local public aid office to apply in person. You can also apply online at the State of Illinois’s website. If you need any assistance applying for food stamps, please contact the Northern Illinois Food Bank’s SNAP Outreach team. They can help you apply in person, over the phone, or they can mail you an application.

Call toll-free at 844-600-SNAP (7627). You can also email SNAP@northernilfoodbank.org to learn more. They are committed to serving people with dignity and helping them avoid long wait times and confusing rules.

Find A Food Pantry Near You In Northern IL

Low-income families who qualify for SNAP benefits still may not get their food needs filled. In those cases, it’s helpful to know where your local food pantries are. If you live in a Northern Illinois community, there’s likely a food pantry near you.


Even if you don’t qualify for SNAP benefits but are facing food insecurity, you are welcome to access food pantries. Organizations like My Pantry Express have helped thousands of people meet their needs. The best part is, you can shop and order free groceries online. Learn more about My Pantry Express today.

MPX neighbor with fruit graphics