Q:

How do citizens qualify for public aid in Illinois?

A:

To qualify for public aid in Illinois, a citizen must complete an Application for Benefits Eligibility. This form is located on the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) website and covers eligibility for cash, SNAP (food stamps) and medical assistance.

Citizens of Illinois can also qualify for public aid by submitting a paper application, which is also available on the DHS website, or by applying in person at the local Family Community Resource Center. After DHS receives the signed application, the applicant must go to the appropriate office for an interview, or to participate by phone if unable to visit the office in person. During the interview, the applicant must provide various types of documents, such as proof of identity and residence, and proof of Social Security numbers for all people on the application.

In considering eligibility for cash, food stamps or medical assistance, DHS will take into account various aspects of the applicant's financial circumstances, including the size of the household and all forms of income, such as salary, other forms of government assistance and income derived from retirement funds.

Applicants who have questions about the types of public aid that are available or who need help with the application can call DHS toll-free at 1-800-843-6154.

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