Government Programs - Eligibility Guidelines

(Updated 01/04/2017
Most updates occur when the poverty level changes)

AABD
Assistance to Aged, Blind & Disabled
Affordable Care Act
ACA Basics
Benefits Access Application
License Plate Discount & Ride Free Passes
Community Action Agencies
Community Services Block Grants
Community Care Program Community Reinvestment Program
Earned Income Tax Credit
EITC
Employment Assistance
Energy Assistance
Utility Bill Assistance or LIHEAP
Extra Help
(LIS for Medicare Part D)
Farmers Market Coupons Family Health Insurance
including CHIP for Kids
Families Raising Children Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities
Homestead Exemptions Medicaid
Medicare Part A
Hospital Costs
Medicare Part B
Doctor & Medical Costs
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare supported private health insurance
Medicare Part D
Drug Costs
Medigap Plans - The Benefits Money Management Program
People with Disabilities Poverty Level
Prevention of Spousal Impoverishment QI
Qualifying Individual
QMB
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary
Qualified Disabled Working Individual
Senior Employment Assistance SLMB or SLIB
Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary
SNAP
Food Stamps
Social Security
Social Security Disability SSI
Supplemental Security Income
TANF
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Veteran Programs
Weatherization Return to the Home Page
Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, the Egyptian Area Agency on Aging, Inc and its agents are not responsible for the use of the information contained within this Website. The information in this Website is not intended as a guide for individual health, legal, or financial concerns. See our Legal Notice.

Social Security
(Updated Jan 2017)

logo for the social security administrationIn 2017, Social Security benefits will increase 0.03%.

Social Security is a retirement income benefit for individuals aged 62 and older and who have attained at least 40 credits of employment from the Social Security Administration while they were employed. Disability and survivor's income benefits may be available for people younger than age 62.

Partial retirement income benefits can begin as early as age 62, but the income benefit amount is reduced. The amount of the reduction is based on when someone was born and how early they start receiving Social Security benefits. Reduced benefits do not increase as a result of an early retiree reaching their full retirement age (see "Full Retirement Age" chart below).

Full retirement income benefits are obtained when someone waits until their full retirement age (see "Full Retirement Age" chart below) to begin receiving their benefits.

People who receive retirement income benefits and continue to work may have their benefits affected as described below.

Increased retirement income benefits are credited to people who continue to work past their full retirement age before they commence receiving their Social Security benefits.

Full retirement age is the age when someone can commence receiving Social Security retirement income benefits without a reduction in the amount credited. The age that someone reaches full retirement age increases in steps from age 65 to age 67 (note that the age for survivor's benefits is slightly different from this chart).

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age
1937 or earlier 65
1938 65 and 2 months
1939 65 and 4 months
1940 65 and 6 months
1941 65 and 8 months
1942 65 and 10 months
1943-1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 and later 67

Before choosing a retirement date, contact the Social Security Administration about 3 months prior to the date of retirement in order to understand what options are available to determine the best month to start collecting benefits. People can apply in person, online at Social Security, or by phone at 1.800.772.1213.

Have the following documents available in order to apply for retirement income benefits.

Other documents will be needed for non-citizens or to receive survivor's benefits.

Social Security Disability earned income threshold for the working, non-blind, disabled people in 2017 is $1,170 per month and for working blind disabled people is $1,950 per month. The trial work period earned income threshold is $840 per month (source: Social Security website).

Use this link for more information Social Security.


Medicare Part A
(Updated Jan 2017)

Medicare logoHospitalization insurance for people aged 65 and older and individuals of any age who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for two or more years. Coverage includes inpatient hospitalization, critical access hospitalization, skilled nursing facility care (but not long-term nursing home care), home health care, and hospice.

Most people should apply for Medicare at age 65 even if they decide to delay their retirement date (unless they are covered by their employer's group health insurance). Most people do not pay a monthly Part A premium (see "Part A premium buy-in" below for those who did not work enough to earn the required 40 credits of Medicare coverage).

Hospital deductible - in 2017 you pay:

Skilled nursing facility - in 2017 you pay: (This is not the same as long-term nursing home care. You must be hospitalized under Part A coverage for at least three consecutive days for the same illness prior to admission to the Medicare-approved SNF)

Home health care - no deductible or copayment if approved, limited to medically necessary part-time skilled care of a homebound individual.

Hospice - no deductible or copayment, but you pay $5 for outpatient drugs and 5% of the Medicare-approved amount for inpatient respite care.

Blood - obtained while hospitalized is free after you pay for the first 3 pints.

Inpatient Mental Health Care - in 2017 you pay:

Part A premium buy-in. Most retirees & their spouses (about 99 percent) do not pay a monthly Part A premium. However, for people who did not work enough to earn 40 credits of Medicare coverage, there is a Part A buy-in premium. In 2017 the amount is:

These figures change next year.

Source: HHS.gov Website.

Use this link for more information on Medicare.


Medicare Part B
(Updated Jan 2017)

Medicare logoMedical insurance for people aged 65 and older and individuals of any age who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for two or more years. Coverage includes physician care, outpatient hospital care, some services of home health care that Part A does not cover, physical & occupational therapy, preventative services, durable medical equipment, laboratory tests and x-rays, mental health services, ambulance services, and blood.

Most people should apply for Medicare at age 65 even if they decide to delay their retirement date (unless they are covered by their employer's group health insurance). If someone fails to apply for Medicare at age 65 (there is a 7-month window to apply for the first time), they can enroll in Part B only during the open enrollment period annually, from January 1 to March 31 and in some instances, the monthly Part B premium may be more than the amount shown below.

Part B monthly premium depends on the beneficiaries' income (see chart below).

Medicare Part B - Monthly Premiums in 2017
--- If Your Annual Income is ---
You Pay Single Married Couples Filing Joint Tax Return Married Couples Filing Separate Tax Return
$109.40 for people on Medicare prior to 2016.
$127.92 for people new to Medicare in 2016, lost MSP/Medicaid, or did not have the premium taken out of their Soc Sec check.
$134.00 for people new to Medicare in 2017, lose MSP/Medicaid, or do not have the premium taken out of their Soc Sec check.
$85,000 or less $170,000 or less You Pay either $109.40, $127.92, or $134.00 for Incomes of
$85,000 or less
$187.50 $85,000-$107,000 $170,000-$214,000 Not Applicable
$267.90 $107,000-$160,000 $214,000-$320,000 Not Applicable
$348.30 $160,000-$214,000 $320,000-$428,000 $85,000-$129,000
$428.60 Above $214,000 Above $428,000 Above $129,000

The Part B annual deductible - in 2017 you pay:

The Part B per visit coinsurance is 20% of approved charges after the deductible is met. You may pay more if your doctor or medical supplier does not accept assignment from Medicare or Medicare does not find the procedure to be medically necessary. Always ask first!

Durable Medical Equipment - There is a 20% coinsurance for the approved amount. You may pay more if the medical supplier does not accept assignment from Medicare or Medicare does not find the procedure to be medically necessary. Always ask first!

Laboratory services - are free for approved amounts.

Outpatient hospital services - You pay a set co-payment amount depending on the service.

Outpatient mental illness claims - you pay 20% for the initial visit / review of medications amount and 40% for treatment amount that Medicare approves.

Blood - you pay for the first 3 pints, then 20% of the approved amount for additional pints of blood after meeting the deductible.

These figures may change next year.

Use this link for more information on Medicare.

Preventive Service The amount you pay is listed beside each description below. Your cost may include an additional amount that your doctor charges for an office visit.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening One-time ultrasound if you get a referral for it as a result of your "Welcome to Medicare" preventive visit. You must get the preventive visit and the screening ultrasound referral (not the ultrasound exam itself) within the first 12-months you have Medicare Part B (no co-pay or deductible if referred during Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit).
Alcohol Misuse Screening & Counseling One screening annually. People who screen positive can get up to 4 brief face-to-face counseling sessions annually. A qualified primary care doctor or other primary care provider must provide the counseling in a primary care setting (no co-pay or deductible).
Annual Wellness Visit If you have had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get a annual "wellness" visit to develop or update a personalized plan to prevent disease based on your current health and risk factors. This visit is covered once every 12 months (no co-pay or deductible for exam only, not including cost for doctor visit).
Bone Mass Measurement Every 24-months, more often if medically necessary (no co-pay or deductible).
Cardiovascular Screening & Behavioral Therapy Every 5 years. Tests total cholesterol, high density lipoproteins, and triglycerides. Must be ordered by the physician or qualified non-physician practitioner treating the person for early detection of cardiovascular disease. The tests should be ordered as a lipid panel, but may be ordered separately. Coverage is not available for other cardiovascular screening blood tests (no co-pay or deductible).
Colon Cancer Screening Blood test every 12-months. Sigmoidoscopy every 48-months, colonoscopy every 5 years, or barium enema every 24-months (20% for barium enema, no co-pay for all other, no deductible).
Depression Screening One screening annually. The screening must be done in a primary care setting that can provide follow-up treatment and referrals (no co-pay or deductible).
Diabetes Screening Two fasting blood glucose tests annually (no co-pay or deductible).
Flu Shot Once per flu season (no co-pay or deductible).
Glaucoma Screening Every 12 months. Includes a dilated eye exam with an intraocular pressure measurement and a direct ophthalmoscope exam or a slit-lamp bio-microscope exam. An eye doctor who is legally allowed by the state must do the tests (20% co-pay after deductible).
Hepatitis B Vaccine Three shots are needed for complete protection. Check with your doctor about when to get these shots if you qualify for them (no co-pay or deductible for medium & high-risk of hepatitis, covered by Part D if low-risk).
HIV Screening Every 12-months, or up to 3 times during a pregnancy (no co-pay or deductible).
Mammogram Every 12-months if age 40 or older. One baseline mammogram if age 35 to 39 (no co-pay or deductible).
Medical Nutritional Therapy Services If prescribed by a doctor for people with diabetes or kidney disease. Includes an initial assessment, nutrition counseling, information regarding managing lifestyle factors that affect diet, and follow-up visits. Covers 3-hours of one-on-one counseling services the first year, and 2-hours annually thereafter. Services can be given by a registered dietitian or Medicare-approved nutrition professional (no co-pay or deductible).
Obesity Screening & Counseling If you have a body mass index of 30 or more, covers intensive counseling to help you lose weight. Must be in a primary care setting, where it can be coordinated with your comprehensive prevention plan (no co-pay or deductible).
PAP Smears, HPV Test, Pelvic Exam, & Clinical Breast Exam Pap smear once annually for women who are of childbearing age and who had an exam that indicated cervical or vaginal cancer or other abnormalities in the past 3 years. Pap smear once every 2-years for women who are at low risk for cervical cancer. The HPV test if it is included in conjunction with Pap smear once every 5 years for people age 30-65 and have no symptoms (no co-pay or deductible). A clinical breast exam is included as part of the pelvic exam (no co-pay or deductible).
Pneumonia Vaccine Most people need this shot only once in their lifetime. Some high risk people need a booster vaccine. Medicare will also cover a booster vaccine for high risk people if 5-years have passed since the last vaccination (no co-pay or deductible).
Prostate Cancer Screening A digital rectal exam and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test once every 12 months (no co-pay for PSA test, 20% co-pay for digital rectal exam, no deductible).
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), Screening, & Counseling One exam annually, more often during pregnancy. Up to two counseling sessions annually (no co-pay or deductible)
Smoking Cessation Up to 8 face-to-face visits during a 12-month period. These visits must be provided by a qualified doctor or other Medicare-recognized practitioner (no co-pay or deductible if no smoking-related disease, 20% co-pay if do).
Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit Covers all costs for a one-time, comprehensive "Welcome to Medicare" preventive visit during the first 12 months that you have Part B (no co-pay or deductible for exam only, not including cost for doctor visit).
Sources: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (cms.gov), Medicare.gov, & Medicare Interactive.org.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage Plans (MA Plans) are available for anyone with Medicare, regardless of income or age. There are many different MA Plans available in Illinois. MA Plans are approved by Medicare, but administered by private companies.

When you join an MA Plan, you are still in Medicare. MA Plans provide all of your Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) coverage and must cover medically-necessary services. They generally offer extra benefits, and many include Part D drug coverage.

You still must pay your Medicare Part B monthly premium plus any additional amount required by the MA Plan you choose.

MA Plans often have networks, this means that you may have to see doctors who accept the MA Plan you have chosen or go to certain hospitals to get covered services at the plan's lowest cost.

MA Plans include Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS), and Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans.

Use this link to view more detailed information on Medicare Part C - Medicare Advantage Plans.


Medicare Part D
Prescription Drug Assistance for People with Medicare

Medicare prescription drug plans are available for anyone with Medicare, regardless of income or age. There are many different drug plans available in Illinois. These drug plans are approved by Medicare, but administered by private companies.

When you join a Medicare prescription drug plan, you are still in Medicare. Prescription drug plans provide assistance with some or all of your medication needs, depending on the plan that you choose.

Use this link to view more detailed information on Medicare Part D - Medicare prescription drug coverage.


Qualified Medicare Beneficiary
or QMB
(Updated Apr 2016)

QMB pays for Medicare Part A (not everyone pays a premium) & Part B premium, annual deductible, and per visit coinsurance charge for all Medicare covered services. The applicant must be enrolled in at least Medicare Part A. If a Medicare beneficiary is approved for QMB, their Social Security check will not have the Part B premium amount deducted. There is no estate recovery in Illinois. Apply in Illinois through the ABE website online or a paper MSP application.

Some states exempt these income sources:

In all states, these assets are never counted:

The monthly income limits are 100% of the poverty level, although many states disregard some income. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Sources: Medicare Savings Programs and in IL: WAG 25-03-02-(2)


Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary
or SLMB or SLIB
(Updated Apr 2016)

SLMB or SLIB pays the Medicare Part B premium for people with income higher than the QMB program. There is no estate recovery in Illinois. Apply in Illinois through the ABE website online or a paper MSP application.

Some states exempt these income sources:

In all states, these assets are never counted:

The monthly income limits are between 100% and 120% of the poverty level, although many states disregard some income. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Sources: Medicare Savings Programs and in IL: WAG 25-03-02-(2)


Qualifying Individual
or QI program
(Updated Apr 2016)

The QI program pays for the Medicare Part B premium for people with income higher than the SLMB / SLIB program. There is no estate recovery in Illinois. Apply in Illinois through the ABE website online or a paper MSP application.

Some states exempt these income sources:

In all states, these assets are never counted:

The monthly income limits are between 120% and 135% of the poverty level, although many states disregard some income. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Sources: Medicare Savings Programs and in IL: WAG 25-03-02-(2)


Poverty Level
(Updated Feb 2016)

Many programs use these figures, or a percentage of these figures, in determining eligibility. Some of these programs are SNAP (formerly called food stamps), QMB, SLMB, QI, QDWI, Medicaid, energy assistance or LIHEAP, and Weatherization programs. The income guidelines for the programs will be changed when each program publishes its own income guidelines. However, some programs, such as TANF or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, SSI or Supplemental Security Income, and the Earned Income Tax Credit program, do NOT use these figures in determining eligibility.

These figures are for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. These figures may change each year.

Source: HHS Poverty Guidelines


Medicaid
(Updated Feb 2016)

Medical assistance for people age 65+, blind, or disabled. This program is often used to finance nursing home care after an individual's life savings have been exhausted. Use the following link to view eligibility information for immigrants and foreign nationals. All SSI income is disregarded. Any non-SSI income over the limits will be counted as a spend down amount. Apply at a county office of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services or through the ABE website online.

The monthly income limits are 100% of the poverty level.

These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Source in IL: WAG 25-03-02-(2)


Aid to the Aged, Blind, & Disabled
or AABD

Cash assistance for people age 65+, blind or disabled, are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants, and live in Illinois. The income guidelines and benefit amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis (generally based on poverty guidelines, but family costs for certain items are considered). Countable asset limits are $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. People eligible for AABD can also obtain Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps). Apply at a county office of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services or through the ABE website online.

Source in IL: AABD Program


Prevention of Spousal Impoverishment
or Community Spouse Maintenance Needs Allowance

The amount of monthly income and assets that a person can keep when their spouse enters a long-term care nursing home or requests the services of the Illinois Community Care Program (CCP) and state financial assistance (Medicaid) is used to help pay for these services. Illinois uses liens and estate claims to recover medical and cash assistance provided on behalf of Medicaid recipients. Apply at a county office of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services.

These figures remain fixed in Illinois until the poverty level rises to a level that eclipses these amounts.

Source in IL: WAG 15-04-04-a

Use this link for more information about Spousal Impoverishment.


Supplemental Security Income
or SSI
(Updated Dec 2016)

Supplemental income for older adults (aged 65 or older), the blind, and people with disabilities. The benefit is the amount that brings these individual's total income up to the amounts below when their income is less than the amounts below. Apply at a local Social Security office.

Income exclusions: All recipients - the first $20-85 (depends on the state and type of income) per month of any income, except income received from a spouse or other person.

These figures change if the poverty level changes.

Source in IL: WAG 25-03-02-(2)


Senior Employment Assistance
(Updated Feb 2016)

Helps adults, aged 55 and over, find employment. Use this link for more information finding employment.

The monthly income limits are 125% of the poverty level. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Source in IL: Senior Employment Assistance


Benefits Access Application
or BAA, formerly Circuit Breaker

Benefits include:

Apply online at Illinois Department on Aging or local senior center.

Eligibility includes people who are aged 65 & older, widow or widower who turned 63 before their spouse's death who was eligible, and people with disabilities aged 16 or older. Applicants can apply in the calendar year they turn age 65 or become disabled.

Income limits are:

The applicant's income from the previous year is used to determine eligibility.

These amounts are not expected to change.


Community Care Program (CCP)

All Day Club Services, Choices for Care (alternatives to nursing home placement), Community Care for Residential Services, and Homemaker services for people aged 60 or older who are Medicaid eligible (use this link for Division of Rehab if under age 60 and have a disability). Apply with the Illinois Dept. on Aging by calling the Illinois Senior HelpLine at 1.800.252.8966.

Eligible persons may have up to $17,500 ($35,000 for couples if both eligible) in countable assets, unless Prevention of Spousal Impoverishment applies.

The amounts above are not expected to change.

Many agencies offer private pay homemaker services to anyone regardless of their income or assets.


Community Reinvestment Program (CRP)

Expected to begin in April 2017, CRP are flexible services provided in the home and community for people aged 60 or older who are not on Medicaid (use this link for Division of Rehab if under age 60 and have a disability). Apply with the Illinois Dept. on Aging by calling the Illinois Senior HelpLine at 1.800.252.8966.

Eligible persons may have up to $17,500 ($35,000 for couples if both eligible) in countable assets and are not an active Medicaid client.

The amounts above are not expected to change.

Many agencies offer private pay homemaker services to anyone regardless of their income or assets.


Homestead Exemptions & Real Estate Tax Payment Deferral

The property tax relief - Homestead Exemptions for Illinois can be found on the website for the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Apply for the Homestead Exemptions at your county clerk or local tax assessor's office.

Use this link to see the IL state statues


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
or SNAP, also known as food stamps
(Updated Feb 2016)

Financial assistance with food purchases. Use the following link to view eligibility information for immigrants and foreign nationals. Apply at a county office of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services or through the ABE website online.

The monthly income limit is and 200% of the poverty level when there is at least one person in the household who is age 60+ or is disabled and 165% of the poverty level when no one in the household is age 60+ or disabled.

These figures change if the poverty level changes.

Household income may be higher for certain elderly people and people with disabilities who may be subject to specified "net" income guidelines.

Source in IL: SNAP Program


Illinois Volunteer Money Management Program

For senior adults who need help managing their finances and paying their bills. Tasks include opening and organizing mail, setting up a household budget, balancing a checkbook, paying bills, and/or serving as a Social Security representative payee. Volunteers are bonded and supervised. Call 1.800.642.7773 in Southern Illinois or 1.800.252.8966 elsewhere in Illinois.

For victims of documented abuse (adults age 60+ and people 19+ with disabilities), eligibility limits are listed below.

Many areas of the state, including Southern Illinois, offer this service for a small fee to individuals who have incomes or assets above these limits.

These amounts may change later in the year if the poverty level changes.

Source in IL: IL VMMP


Illinois Farmers Market Coupons
(Updated Jun 2016)

Senior adults with low or moderate income can obtain coupons that can be redeemed for fresh fruit and vegetables at local farmers markets in southern Illinois from July through October. The coupons can be obtained starting in late June or early July at various area senior adult centers for use at participating farmers markets. Use this link for more information about Farmers Market coupons and where the coupons can be obtained and used.

The monthly income limits are 185% of the poverty level. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.


Veteran Programs

Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs

Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs works with over one million veterans living in the state. Many people are not aware of benefits available to those who have served in our nation's military. Benefits include educational opportunities, employment preference, camping & admission waivers to state parks and other state sites, disabled veterans license plates, and burial benefits.

Illinois Veterans Homes

Illinois veterans of wars are eligible for admittance into an Illinois Veterans Home located in Quincy, Manteno, LaSalle, and Anna. The cost is based on ones ability to pay but the maximum charge for residency that covers room, food (including special diets and supplements), medication, all levels of medical care, recreation and activities, and any special therapy or treatment prescribed by the attending physician. Some costs of care are not covered and must be paid directly by the resident or responsible surrogate. Currently, there are about 1,000 veteran beds in the state and a waiting list for occupancy.

Veteran-Directed Home Care (a VIP service)

Helps veterans find in-home care services (personal care, housekeeping, meal preparation) needed for them to stay in their own home. Allows eligible veterans to hire their own workers, including family members, and decide for themselves what services they want provided for them.  Helps with veterans who are isolated and their caregiver who is experiencing burnout. The veteran must be enrolled at a VA Medical Center.

For more information, or to make a referral, contact your social worker at a VA Outpatient Clinic. In Southern Illinois, contact the Veteran Program Coordinator at the Egyptian Area Agency on Aging at 1.888.895.3306.

Veterans Aid & Attendance Program

A grant for veterans to help them pay for in-home care. The veteran must be enrolled at a VA Medical Center. Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to the VA pension.

Since Aid & Attendance and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A veteran or surviving spouse may not receive Aid & Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time. Click here for more information from the VA.

The Aid & Attendance benefit is considered to be the third tier of the VA's improved pension. The other two tiers are known as "Basic" and "Housebound." Each tier has its own level of benefits and qualifications. While the objective of this site is to disseminate information on the Aid & Attendance level of the pension, often referred to as A&A, we encourage you to view the other two levels in the event you or your loved one does not qualify for A&A. Click here for more information about the basic and housebound tiers. Apply with your social worker at the VA's outpatient clinic or at a VA Medical Centers in Illinois.

Veterans Care

Provides comprehensive healthcare to veterans without health insurance, are under age 65, were not dishonorably discharged from the military, are income eligible, and are not eligible for federal healthcare through the U.S Veterans Administration. Eligible individuals pay a monthly premium of either $40 or $70 depending on their income. Veterans may apply for Veterans Care by either downloading an application from the website, or by going to their local Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Office. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services determines eligibility, notifies the Veteran and handles the premium payments. Individuals may learn more about this program on the Illinois Veterans Care website. Eligibility guidelines vary by county of residence.

Veterans Pension

Veterans Pension may be available from for wartime veterans who are permanently and totally disabled from disabilities not related with service in the military if they have limited income. Veterans Pension may be also available for the spouse of an veteran. Wartime service bonus payments and POW and survivors compensation are available for certain Illinois residents.

If a veterans death is non-service connected, and he or she served in wartime, spouses may be eligible for pension benefits if he or she has limited income. While veterans often receive benefits based upon their status, older veterans are also very much a part of the general senior community. Everyone aged 60 and older may participate in one or more of the available senior programs, such as in-home services, transportation, elderly meals program, and more.

Website Links


Families Raising Children

Earned Income Tax Credit

The EITC program helps reduce the income tax burden on low-income workers. It can reduce an eligible worker's income liability, even below zero resulting in a "refund" to the worker. Illinois also adds a state EITC credit based on the federal EITC amount. There are special income rules for disabled veterans and the clergy (see source below).

To get EITC credits, the worker must file a Schedule EIC with their annual federal & state income tax returns.

The EITC requirements are:

Children may be natural children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, or nephews; including adopted, foster, half, and step relatives. In addition, children must be:

Source: IRS

Family Health Plans (including All Kids & CHIP)
(Updated Feb 2016)

These programs are comprised of six health insurance plans that provide a full range of health benefits to eligible children 18 years of age and younger, and their parents or relative caregivers. To be eligible, individuals must:

Children covered under All Kids Assist have no co-payments or premiums. For more information visit the All Kids and Family Care websites. Apply at a county office of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services or through the ABE website online.

SNAP (formerly called food stamps) use this link to view SNAP information.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (or TANF)

TANF helps with cash and other benefits for pregnant women and caregiver relatives raising one or more children. TANF can help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical. Apply at a county office of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services or through the ABE website online.

To qualify for TANF, a person must:

What services are offered under TANF?

Source in IL: TANF - DHS 586

More services at Resources for Families Raising Children, Southern Illinois Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and SI Families.org.

Legal issues at Families Raising Children Legal Issues.


People with Disabilities

Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities (or HBWD)
(Updated Feb 2016)

Health insurance for individuals with disabilities in Illinois who return to work. Enrollees in HBWD pay a monthly premium depending on income and family size. In order to qualify for HBWD, an individual must be at least 16 years of age and under 65, meet the Social Security definition of disability (except that the ability to work and earn more than the Substantial Gainful activity amount is not part of the disability determination process), and be employed, which is defined as proof of payment of FICA, IMRF, or the equivalent. Apply by calling the hotline at 1.800.226.0768 or online.

The monthly income limits are 350% of the poverty level. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Source in IL: WAG 06-21-01

Qualified Disabled Working Individual or QDWI
(Updated Feb 2016)

Pays Medicare Part A monthly premium (but not coinsurance or deductible) for working people with disabilities under age 65 who have lost premium-free Medicare Part A benefits due to returning to work and not otherwise eligible for Medicaid benefits. No estate recovery in Illinois. Apply at a county office of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services or through the ABE website online.

The monthly income limits are between 200%-400% of the poverty level plus disregarded income. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Sources: Medicare Savings Programs and in IL: WAG 06-06-03

Other Services for People with Disabilities


Community Action Agencies

These agencies often provide Anti-Drug Abuse, Economic Development, Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), Foster Grandparents, Head Start, Homeless Assistance, Housing, Job Counseling & Training, Literacy Training & Basic Education, Outreach & Referral, Surplus Food Distribution, Transportation, Home Weatherization, and Women, Infants & Children (WIC).

Community Services Block Grant (or CSBG)
(Updated Feb 2016)

Assist low-income people with Job Training & Education, Employment Assistance, Food Pantry, Food Vouchers, Health-Related Activities, Housing Assistance, Family Budget Counseling, Outreach, Information, Referral, federal Surplus Food Distribution, Family Case Management, and coordination of services with local governments, community based organizations and the private sector.

To locate the CAA agency funded for CSBG serving your county, click here.

The monthly income limits are 125% of the poverty level. These figures may change if the poverty level changes.

Source for IL: Community Services Block Grant

Home Weatherization Program
(Updated Aug 2016)

Helps to weatherize or insulate a home. There may possibly be help with a heating system. Rental homes are eligible with restrictions.

Use this link to locate an agency serving your county.

The income limit is 150% of the 2016 poverty level. These figures do not always change when the poverty level changes.

Utility Bill Assistance, Energy Assistance, or LIHEAP
(Updated Aug 2016)

Helps pay for heating bills. The first two months of program (Sept. 1 through Oct. 30) are set aside for eligible people aged 60 or older and people with disabilities. Need proof of household gross income for last 30 days, current energy bill, Social Security number for everyone in household, TANF medical card for anyone receiving benefits, and either proof of home ownership and insurance or rental agreement or receipt that shows the amount of rent. The benefit amount is based on the eligible household's last 30-days income, amount of utility bills, and type of heating source. The average benefit amount is approximately $400-$500 per household.

Use this link to locate an agency serving your county.

The income limit is 150% of the 2016 poverty level. These figures do not always change when the poverty level changes.

Sources: HHS - Office of Community Services, Benefits.gov, LIHEAP, and Home Weatherization


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