SNAP is a U.S. Department of Agriculture anti-hunger program that boosts the food budget of low-income households. The Department of Human Services administers SNAP in Illinois, and participants can expect their benefit payments to be deposited monthly on the Illinois Link Card, the state's version of the EBT card.
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According to the Illinois DHS, most low-income households qualify for SNAP. Eligibility is based on income, expenses and the number of people in the household. Link Cards are sent to your address once you're approved for benefits from the DHS.
Illinois residents can apply for SNAP online through the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) portal. Paper applications can be downloaded here and carried, mailed or faxed to your local Family Community Resource Center.
SNAP benefits come with added perks, like discounts on certain products and services. Illinois SNAP recipients can sign up for an Amazon Prime EBT discounted subscription for over 50% off. Your EBT card can be used for free or discounted admission to hundreds of museums, aquariums and zoos nationwide, as well. The federal Lifeline program provides free or low-cost landline or cell phone service to EBT cardholders.
Illinois participates in the Restaurant Meals Program, which allows participants to use their Link Card to purchase hot meals at some restaurants. Not every restaurant is part of RMP, so make sure to call and ask before attempting to make a purchase with your Link Card.
Your monthly SNAP schedule depends on the last number of your case number. If you had a SNAP case that was converted from a legacy case, you will keep your legacy availability date of either the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 13th, 17th or 20th.
Benefits for new cases go out between the 1st and 10th of every month. The date you receive benefits depends on the last digit of the head of household's individual ID number. Regular roll benefits are available by 3:00 a.m. on the same date every month, including holidays and weekends.
Here is the Illinois Link Card February 2023 deposit schedule for new cases on the Illinois Link system:
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The Illinois Link Card is accepted at over 9,000 retailers, including most grocery stores, in Illinois. If you're unsure whether or not SNAP is accepted, look for a display of the Illinois Link card or a sign that says "Illinois Link accepted here." Link Cards may be used at certified farmers markets for additional savings. The Link Up Illinois program matches benefits dollar for dollar, up to $25, if you use your Link Card to purchase fresh fruits and veggies at participating markets.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Illinois Food Stamps Schedule: When Payments Hit Link Cards in February 2023