Illinois has the 6th-highest number of residents buying their meals with nutrition benefits, and the number grew almost 11% from a year earlier.
Illinoisans are more likely to give thanks that their Thanksgiving meal was purchased with food stamps than in any surrounding state. As the national participation declines, SNAP in Illinois has grown.
Just Cook County food stamp recipients were facing work requirements Jan. 1 if they were under age 50, able-bodied and had no dependents. Now the rules will apply throughout Illinois starting April 1.
This Thanksgiving, about 17,500 more Illinoisans will be using food stamps. By New Year’s, about 50,000 Cook County recipients must find jobs or lose benefits.
Illinois has a higher percentage of its residents on food stamps than its neighboring states, and has seen a much slower decline in food stamp recipients following the recession.
Homeless, disabled and elderly Illinoisans who can’t easily cook a meal could get help by using food stamps at fast-food restaurants.
Food stamp participation has seen an encouraging decrease, but lagging economic growth leaves Illinois ranked highest among neighboring states in SNAP enrollment.
Some SNAP-dependent households saw their benefits disappear this holiday season.
The failure of lawmakers to enact policies that spark growth will render millions of Illinoisans dependent on assistance for meals this holiday season.
Retailers will now have to either program cash registers not to tax purchases made with food stamps, or implement a “manual override.”