WAG 03-25-01: Who Must Meet the Work Requirement

PM 03-25-01

Effective 07/01/2022,  Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) waiver approval allows the entire State to continue to be exempt from the SNAP Work Requirement Time-Limited Benefits policy in this section through 10/31/2024 based on Illinois' high unemployment rate.  For more information about the State's operation under COVID-19 see WAG 25-06-07-p.

The SNAP Work Requirement Time-Limited benefits policy below is NOT in effect for any county in the State through 10/31/2024.

Child Under age 18 in SNAP Household

Everyone who is age 18 through 52 in the SNAP household is exempt if there is a child under age 18 in the same SNAP household. A SNAP household is defined as a one-member household or a household of several members that purchase and prepare food together.

Example: The SNAP household consists of Mr. D, age 45, Mrs. D, age 35, and Ms. R, age 30 and her 3 children who are under age 18. Mr. D, Mrs. D, Ms. R and her children all purchase and prepare food together. This is one SNAP household. Because Mr. D and Mrs. D are members of the same SNAP household with children under the age of 18, they are both exempt from the Work Requirement.

Exemption Due to Medical Condition

A person who is temporarily or chronically ill is exempt from the SNAP Work Requirement. The Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) determines if a person qualifies for an exemption.

Note: Do not send a request to the Client Assessment Determination (CAU). A person's inability to work does not have to be for specific duration of time to meet the exemption.

Temporary Illness

The FCRC may exempt a person with a temporary illness if there is medical evidence provided by the customer or other evidence that the illness or injury is serious enough to temporarily exempt the customer. When an illness or medical condition is obvious through observation, the HSC can make the determination to exempt the individual without requiring verifications.

Evidence for temporarily exempting a customer includes, but is not limited to:

  • observing a cast on a broken leg; or
  • receipt of Workers' Compensation; or
  • knowledge of a scheduled surgery or recuperation from surgery.

revised manual textNote: Minor ailments and injuries such as colds or rashes are not normally serious enough to exempt a person.


If a person is pregnant at the time of application or later becomes pregnant answer (Yes) to Pregnancy on the "Household Individual - Questions" screen to trigger the "Pregnant -Details" screen. Complete each section of the "Pregnancy - Details" screen. If the customer is pregnant and the appropriate sections are completed the outcome of the Exemption will appear on the "SNAP EDG Summary" screen as the exemption reason.

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Chronic Illness

  • The FCRC exempts a person who is mentally or physically unable to work due to a chronic illness if a medical provider or service provider finds that a physical or mental impairment, either by itself or in conjunction with age or other factors, prevents the customer from working.
  • The receipt of disability benefits can also verify the exemption, regardless of the percentage of disability or level of payment.
  • Verify the claim of chronic illness as follows:
    • Receipt of disability benefits from SSI, SSA, Railroad Retirement, or AABD.
    • Receipt of government, or private temporary or permanent, disability benefits.
    • Statements from a physician, or licensed or certified psychologist, verifying the client's chronic illness.
  • If a person is aged and/or disabled, receiving disability benefits, or is claiming to be a caretaker of a disabled person, answer (Yes) to the appropriate questions on the "Household Individuals - Questions" screen. The results of the entries will display on the "Disability - Summary" screen or the "Caretaker Information -Summary" screen as appropriate. 
  • Identify and enter the person's income in IES and indicate how verified.
  • Document all actions taken to determine the individual's eligibility in Case Comments. If a temporary exemption is granted document when it will end. Scan and upload any verifications or applicable documents to the ECR.

HSC Unable to Determine Disability

  • If a customer's disability is not obvious or they are not receiving a disability benefit, the HSC should request that verification be provided from a medical professional or service provider.
  • Verification can be obtained via written statement or by using SNAP Work Requirement Request Medical/Service Provider Unfit to Work Determination (Form 2340). This is an optional form. Verification may be accepted from a physician, physician's assistant, nurse, nurse practitioner, designated representative of the physician's office, a licensed or certified psychologist, a social worker, a counselor or staff person at a drug and alcohol program, or a social worker or staff person at a homeless or domestic violence services provider or shelter; or any other medical personnel determined appropriate.
  • Establish an exemption review date based on the information obtained and the customer's condition. When a person with a temporary illness exemption becomes physically and/or mentally fit, change their work exemption status to nonexempt, unless another exemption reason applies.
  • Document all actions taken to determine the individual's eligibility in Case Comments. Document what observations were made, and/or the documents that were received that qualified the customer for the exemption. If not allowed, indicate the reason. Scan and upload any verifications or applicable documents to the ECR.


  • A person who meets the definition of homeless as defined in PM 06-04-02 qualifies for a Work Requirement exemption. Being homeless does not exempt a person from the Work Provisions in PM 03-15-02.  During the interview, discuss all aspects of the customer's situation to decide if the customer meets the definition of homeless.
  • revised manual textIES systematically applies the homeless exemption when the worker selects homeless, or homeless shelter or temporarily living with a relative or friend in the Living Arrangement Type drop down on the Living Arrangement Domicile-Details Page. The systematic exemption will be applied for people ages 18 - 52 years old who do not meet a Work Provision exemption and would be otherwise subject to the Work Requirement. Only require verification if questionable. Examples of verification that may be used to verify include but are not limited to:
    • Collateral contact with a homeless shelter,
    • written statement from a person the individual is staying with,
    • Any other individual aware of the customer's circumstances.


  • A customer, age 18 - 52 years old, who served in the United States Armed Forces (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard), including a person who served in a reserve component of the Armed Forces, and who was discharged or released from there, regardless of the conditions of such discharge or release, whether honorably or dishonorably is exempt from the Work Requirement. Being a veteran does not exempt a customer from the Work Provisions in  PM 03-15-02.  The customer may provide verification such as:
    • Service department records, such as a DD Form 214,
    • Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,
    • Original Certificate of Discharge,
    • Report of Transfer or Discharge,
    • Military ID card indicating service in the armed forces
    • Correspondence or contact from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)  including benefit payment or award letter or VA ID Card
    • Correspondence or contact from the Department of Veterans Affairs indicating service in the armed forces, or driver's license indicating veteran status.
  • IES systematically applies this exemption to a person in the 18-52 year old age group who does not meet a  Work Provision exemption and would be subject to the Work Requirement when the HSC selects (Yes) in the Individual is a Veteran drop down on the Individual Demographics - SSN Application/Armed /Veteran/Survivor Information Screen.

Foster Care Individual

  • revised manual textAn individual who is age 24 or younger and was in a foster care program on their 18th birthday, such as the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS), a District, Territory, or Indian Tribal Organization and later left the custody of the State agency or organization is exempt from the SNAP Work Requirement. There is not an IES screen for the worker to complete for this exemption. Do not select Foster Care in the Living Arrangement type for these individuals.

In State Foster Care

  • The exemption for individuals who were in foster care in Illinois is systematically done by comparing the individual's information to an IDCFS data match to determine if the individual was in foster care at the time of their 18th birthday.

Out of State Foster Care

  • Individuals who were in foster care at the age of 18 in another state cannot be coded correctly in IES until additional implementation is made in IES. Since the state continues to be under a waiver through 10/31/2024, workers should make a case comment that the correct exemption could not be indicated at this time.
  • Beginning 11/01/2024, the individual would be shown as nonexempt and sent notification of the Work Requirements time-limited benefits explaining what the exemptions are and what to do if they have an exemption. Collateral contact from other social service workers or agencies, such as the agency administering the foster care program or Medicaid may be used as a source of verification or any documents the individual may have of being in foster care.
  • Note: This exemption does not apply to individuals who are still in foster care (PM 04-05-05). new manual textThe foster care policy in PM 06-28-00 is unrelated to the SNAP Work Requirement exemption allowed for individuals age 24 and younger and were in foster care at the time of their 18th birthday and should not be used for work requirement policy.  

Help Getting Verifications

If needed, help the household in obtaining verification, provided the household is cooperating, and accept any reasonable documentary evidence provided by the household.