Updated: Jun 3
Author: Marc Raifman, Staff Attorney, Public Benefits Practice Group, Legal Aid Chicago
Health Forward MLP at Legal Aid Chicago has created this reference guide organized by goal for your patients and members. Some important points to remember:
(1) This is NOT everything as there are always more programs and changes happening; it does
contain most Public Benefits offered.
(2) Many of these programs have income- demographic- and other limitations that do not
appear on this page. Click the links for more information about any particular program; you
can also reach out us if you have question.
Please direct all complaints, grievances and appeals of this guide to MRaifman@legalaidchicago.org
ILLINOIS PUBLIC BENEFITS PROGRAMS
1. For Cash
TANF (for expecting mothers and families with dependent children and very low income)
AABD Cash (generally for those whose only income is SSI)
WIC (cash but with limits to food purchases for expecting mothers and those with young children)
VTTC (cash and food-purchase limited cash for non-citizens victims of trafficking, torture and other serious crimes in U.S. or abroad; ongoing program in 2022)
General Assistance (available only outside of Chicago depending on municipality policy)
2. For Food
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, i.e. cash with limits on what you can buy)
PEBT (SNAP substituting for in-school lunch assistance during the pandemic; inactive as of February 2022; may return)
3. For Utilities
4. For Other Assistance
Mutual Aid (*non-governmental programs, could be helpful but applicants should be careful with sharing sensitive information*)
STATE/FEDERAL FUNDED HEALTHCARE COVERAGE
Low-Income Adult (standard Medicaid)
AABD Medicaid for people with a disability (already approved by Social Security) or 65+
Family Health Plans & AllKids Medicaid (premiums reduced or eliminated for non-parent guardians and lower-income families)
Medicaid for children under DCFS care or supervision and former foster care children through age 26
Coverage for immigrant senior
Long Term Care Medicaid (*Subject to Public Charge*)
VTTC (non-citizen) Medicaid
Emergency (non-citizen) Medicaid
Moms and Babies (expecting mothers and those with young children)
2. Veterans Care
4. Medicare Savings Program
(Medicaid that covers Medicare premiums & co-pays)
5. "Extra Help"
(Medicare/Prescription Drug Plan)
9. State Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Program
HEALTHCARE COVERAGE FOR THOSE INELIGIBLE FOR STATE/FEDERAL PLANS LISTED ABOVE?
Shop for plans not tied to employment; best to warn shoppers that when they list their phone
numbers they should expect numerous phone calls from aggressive brokers that week
NEED INCOME WHILE UNEMPLOYED AND LOOKING FOR WORK?
NEED INCOME WHILE HURT AND NOT LOOKING FOR WORK?
(not provided by the State, must be purchased by the worker)
3. Social Security disability (Both SSI and SSDI)
4. Student Loan Forgiveness (IBR; PSLF)
NEED HELP TO ACCESS RETIREMENT BENEFITS?
(Pension Action Center in Boston available to help Illinois residents)
2. Social Security Retirement (or SSI if over 65)
HELP WITH PERSONAL HEALTH CARE OR CHILD CARE?
2. Personal Assistant/Home Health Aide
PERMANENT HOUSING SUPPORT?
(See also Legal Aid Chicago’s “Housing Navigation” Guide below with additional resources for Veterans, Seniors, individuals living with HIV and others)
1. Emergency Housing Transfer/ Victims Assistance Transfer/ SAFE Homes
2. Chicago or Cook County Housing Authority Programs
TEMPORARY RENTAL ASSISTANCE [LONG-TERM & SHORT-TERM]?
3. 311 (Chicago only, 1-2 months assistance for those who can otherwise
afford ongoing rent)
HELP AS VICTIM OF A CRIME?
WANT TO KNOW WHAT INCOME YOU CAN GET AS A TAX CREDIT?
The credits listed below are all federal, but there are state tax credits too!
LadderUp helps people file their taxes.
1. Stimulus Checks (not too late to claim them!)
HELP FINDING, TRAINING FOR OR MAINTAINING A JOB?
HELP PURSUING EDUCATION?
For people who would like student loan guidance from a financial counselor
(for those adults who did not complete high school, some research shows that employers look
more favorably on a vocational training program than a GED)
NEED MONEY MANAGEMENT HELP?
LadderUp can help people who want money management/guidance from a
HELP PURCHASING IN-HOME TECHNOLOGY?
HELP WHILE HOMELESS?
(see also Legal Aid Chicago’s “Housing Navigation” Guide)
1. Emergency Shelter
311 (Chicago only) or Pacific Garden Mission at 1458 S Canal Street (312-492-9410)
2. Coordinated Entry for Supportive Housing (not immediate shelter)
OTHER HELP FOR NON-CITIZENS?
Download PDF version of the Guide to Public Benefits & Other Benefits (last updated on 3.15.22)