For Iowa residents:

For SNAP application assistance or questions, contact the Iowa HelpLine:

Iowa HelpLine, in partnership with the Iowa Food Bank Association, Mon-Fri between 8:00 am-5:00 pm: (855) 944-3663

Contact by email: Lisa Spitler, Food Assistance Outreach Coordinator

The HelpLine and state assistance programs are free services. Your information will be kept private and will only be used to process your request and to provide application assistance.

*It is important to notify the Department of Human Services of any address, income, or asset changes.

SNAP FAQs/Additional Resources:

If I own a car, home, or cell phone am I still eligible?

Someone can still be eligible for SNAP if they have a home, car, cell phone, and/or bank account.

Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen?

A non-citizen who is a qualified alien might be eligible for SNAP benefits in Illinois. This includes but is not limited to refugees, victims of trafficking, Cuban and Haitian immigrants, Iraqi and Afghan immigrants with special status. More information can be found at USDA’s website: SNAP Policy on Non-Citizen Eligibility

What if I am homeless?

A fixed address is not needed to apply for food stamps. A person can be eligible if they are homeless or living in a shelter.

How do I use SNAP benefits?

If approved, you’ll get an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card in the mail. It looks like a debit card and you’ll create a 4-digit PIN to use at a checkout register or online at select retailers. You’ll use the card to pay for any food products; any non-food products will show as a remaining balance to pay with a different method during checkout. Calling an automated system with the toll-free number on the back of the EBT card will give you information on your monthly benefit amount, card balance, and answer other EBT card-related questions.

What can I purchase with SNAP benefits?

SNAP can be used on any food or food product; this includes seeds to grow a home garden. SNAP cannot be used on vitamins, medication, pet food, ready-to-eat hot meals, meals made at a store, alcohol, tobacco, hygiene products, or any other nonfood items.

Where can I use my SNAP benefits EBT card?

An Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT), called “Link” in Illinois, is sent out if you are approved for SNAP; it can be used like a debit card at thousands of retailers in your state of residence, including local farmer’s markets. A growing number of online grocery retailers (Walmart, Aldi, Amazon Pantry, etc.) also now accept SNAP.

Are there assistance programs that can help with other expenses?

SNAP recipients are sometimes eligible for other nongovernment programs through private companies such as reduced utility bills, free or reduced ticket prices at museums, discounted Amazon prime membership, and discounts on internet/ phone services. See our flyer with some of the benefits available and visit the Illinois or Iowa DHS website to learn more.

Can I figure out if I’m eligible on my own?

If you’re in Illinois, you can use the Illinois Department of Human Services SNAP Eligibility Calculator to estimate eligibility before filling out an application.

If you live in Iowa, you can visit the Iowa Department of Human Services Assistance Eligibility Portal or call the Iowa HelpLine at (855) 944-3663.

Learn more about Illinois SNAP

Get more details on the program, eligibility requirements, documentation needed, and programs and services SNAP recipients may also be eligible for at the Illinois Department of Human Services’ website. You may also call the IL HelpLine, in partnership with the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Mon-Fri between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm: (844) 600-7627.

Learn more about Iowa SNAP

Find more information about SNAP in Iowa, eligibility requirements, other programs available to Iowa residents in need, and apply for programs and assistance online at the Iowa Department of Human Services website. You may also call the IA HelpLine, in partnership with the Iowa Foodbank Association, Mon- Fri between 8:00 am-5:00 pm: (855) 944-3663.

Did SNAP used to be called Food Stamps?

The first Food Stamp program was established in 1933. The program transitioned to being more nutritionally friendly and was officially renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2008.

ALERT – Be aware of SNAP scams

Applicants for SNAP in Illinois and Iowa should be aware there is NEVER a fee to apply for benefits. Be on the lookout for ads on the internet falsely offering to help fill out applications in exchange for any kind of fee.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027), found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of AgricultureOffice of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


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