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Guide to Public Benefits & Other Resources

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

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



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

  • LIHEAP (heating bill assistance) & LIHWAP (water bill assistance)

4. For Other Assistance