Immigrant and Refugee Seniors

Many older immigrants and refugees face barriers to accessing services and public benefits, as well as immigration law challenges. As new immigrants and refugees are arriving in the United States this month, aging services advocates and legal assistance providers can play a role in helping older immigrants navigate these barriers to critically needed services and explain their rights.

New Health Benefit Coverage for Seniors

Advancing its vision for healthcare equity, the State of Illinois in 2020 committed to providing medical coverage to seniors regardless of their immigration status. As part of its Mission, HFS developed the program to produce positive outcomes for our customers, address the social and structural determinants of health and foster the well-being of those who deserve quality healthcare.

You may be eligible for this program if you meet all 4 requirements:

  1. You are 65 years old or older
  2. You are one of the following:
  3. A legal permanent resident (LPR) for less than five years (also known as having a green card), or
  4. An undocumented immigrant (including individuals in a Temporary Protected Status)
  5. You are an individual with 2020 annual income at or below $12,756, or a couple with annual income at or below $17,240*
  6. An individual with assets below $2,000, or, a couple with assets under $3,000* CURRENTLY WAIVED FOR COVID-19**
    • We can also use your medical bills to reduce your countable income or assets. This may make you eligible.
    • We won't count assets until after the COVID-19 emergency. Also, we won't count certain assets like a home or a car.

Covered Benefits

The new medical program will offer a full benefit package with $0 premiums and $0 co-payments. Covered services include doctor and hospital care, lab tests, rehabilitative services such as physical and occupational therapte, home health, mental health and substance use disorder services, dental and vision services, and prescription drugs. Long Term Care Services will not be covered. This includes nursing facility services and home or community based services as an alternative to facility services. The program may cover prior health care up to 3 months before you apply.

Apply Today

You can apply for these new benefits by any of the following methods.

(1-800-843-6154) to request a paper application.

For More Information

Contact the Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services, DHS Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services, phone (312) 793-7120, or email

Additional Resources

Immigration status generally determines eligibility for benefits programs and services, such as cash assistance and health insurance. Some refugees may qualify for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and others may be seeking refugee status. Aging services and legal assistance providers might find it helpful to reach and assist older immigrants through partnerships with resettlement agencies and similar organizations aiding in the resettlement efforts.

Here are some resources for advocates to help deliver trauma-informed services and better understand eligibility issues, available services, and asserting language access rights: