Eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program users in Illinois will automatically get additional benefits starting Tuesday for April and May to help amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced Monday.
“No Illinoisan should ever have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, especially during an ongoing public health emergency,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “Expanding the amount of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits people receive will help families stay safe and healthy in the coming months.”
States administer the federal SNAP program, formerly called food stamps.
The additional benefits will go to about 450,000 Illinois households beginning Tuesday. Those who are eligible for the additional benefits should get them by April 20, according to a news release. The maximum benefit amounts will be implemented for April and May.
The additional benefits will be automatically loaded onto Link cards. SNAP recipients don’t need to re-apply, visit an office or call. New applications approved in April will also get the maximum allotment for household size.
“We’re exploring every avenue we can to provide extra support for Illinoisans. IDHS has applied for several waivers to make it easier for people looking for food assistance,” IDHS Secretary Grace Hou said in a statement. “Less documentation is required, in-person requirements are waived, and now we’ll be able to increase the amounts loaded into Link cards by a significant amount for many families.”
The U.S. Congress recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which increased SNAP during the COVID-19 pandemic from $465 to $646 for a family of four.