PM 02-04-02: Who May Apply

WAG 02-04-02

 A person must be allowed to complete an application. A person cannot be required to attend a meeting or orientation before they can sign an application.

How to Apply

An applicant with an Illinois address may file an application the following ways:

  • Submit an online application through the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) portal via the IDHS website at;
  • Drop off, mail or fax a paper application to a Family Community Resource Center (FCRC);
  • Apply as a walk in in which the worker will complete the application with the applicant; or
  • Apply over the phone by calling the ABE Customer Call Center at 1-800-843-6154 or 1-866-324-5553 TTY.

Who May Apply

A person who wants benefits can approve someone else to apply for them.

new manual materialAn Approved Representative is an individual or organization designated by a customer to act on their behalf in assisting with an application or redetermination of eligibility for benefits.

A Power of Attorney (POA) or Legal Guardian may also be designated as an Approved Representative. A verified POA or Legal Guardian has permission to act on the behalf of the customer in all matters related to the customer's benefits. Acceptable verification for a POA or Legal Guardian is a legal document or court order that confirms the designation. Both medical and financial POAs are acceptable. The POA document must be reviewed to confirm that it is valid; during the review confirm the designation is currently in effect and includes insurance transactions.

new manual materialHFS Application Agents (formerly known as All Kids Application Agents- AKAA) are application assisters. An Application Assister is an organization or community agency that may assist a customer with the application process or redetermination of eligibility for benefits. HFS Application Agents have contractual agreements with HFS to provide program information, work with the customer to provide required documentation, and interact (speak) with Department staff to discuss the status of an application or redetermination. An Application Assister does not sign the application and does not receive eligibility notices or requests for additional information, as a result of their assistance. An Application Assister is not an Approved Representative and should not be identified as such in IES. Acceptable verification of consent for a HFS Application Assister is a completed Application Agent Customer Authorization Form.

new manual materialInformal Assisters may be local social service agencies, community volunteers, neighbors, friends, or family members that assist the customer with submitting their application. Informal Assisters do not need to record their assistance on the application and do not receive any correspondence related to the application or redetermination.


  • A resident of a Drug/Alcohol Treatment Center who wants SNAP benefits must apply through an authorized representative appointed by the facility's administrator (see PM 05-01-01).
  • A resident of a Group Living Facility who wants SNAP benefits may have to apply through an authorized representative. The decision of whether or not to use an authorized representative is made by the facility, based on the resident's mental and physical ability to handle their own affairs (see PM 05-08-05).
  • new manual textAll other SNAP customers must provide a written statement authorizing a representative to act on their behalf or complete an Approved Representative Form. The approval must have a written signature by the person who wants the benefits and filed in the Electronic Case Record (ECR). If an application is submitted through ABE, the Approved Representative must download the Approved Representative Form to complete, sign and upload to Upload Documents in ABE.
  • new manual textA SNAP customer may allow an outside agency to inquire about their application or case status, including help with providing verifications by completing an Outreach Partner Consent Form, but this does not give the outside agency permission to act as an Approved Representative for the customer. See WAG 01-01-04.


For Cash or Medical, a person applying for someone who is incompetent, incapacitated, deceased, or too young to apply for themselves does not have to be an approved representative. They are acting responsibly for the person and do not need written permission. For SNAP benefits, the person must have the applicant's permission (either written or electronically signed) to act as their approved representative.

The adult responsible for a child must choose which program they want if the child qualifies for TANF and Foster Care/Adoption Care Assistance.

A request for benefits may be made for:

  • DCFS youth in care (formerly known as wards) returned to the home they were removed from; and
  • DCFS youth in care placed in the home of a caretaker relative.

Youth in care (Wards of the Court) can apply for themselves or have a probation officer, legal guardian, or other person apply for them.

A person convicted of a criminal violation of the Public Aid Code or a similar Federal/State law may apply for assistance. But a special review of their request must be made by an Administrative Review Board (see WAG 02-04-02-e).

A 2nd criminal violation of the Illinois Public Aid Code or of any Federal/State law results in that person being permanently ineligible for cash benefits.

For AABD cash fraud convictions prior to 01/01/97, apply the policy provided in PM 03-20-00. This policy does not apply to the receipt of medical or SNAP assistance.

A person who is detained or confined in a jail, juvenile detention center or Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facility may apply for medical benefits if they received inpatient hospital services, or as part of the discharge plan to be released to the community. For information on processing the application, see PM 03-23-01.