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 New Manual Material10/31/2024 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 revised manual text10/31/2024.

Child Under age 18 in SNAP Household

Everyone who is age 18 through 49 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.


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.

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

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.

Chronic Homelessness

  • A person who is homeless (PM 06-04-02)  does not automatically qualify for an exemption.
  • During the interview discuss all aspects of the customer's situation to decide if the individual meets the definition of homeless (PM 06-04-02).
  • Determine if the individual may be struggling with a condition that may have been caused or worsened by their homeless circumstances and is a barrier to being employable. The individual may have a history of living on the street or in shelters with a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental or physical barrier that makes it obvious to the HSC that the individual is not work ready in appearance or behavior. These conditions may prevent an individual from being job ready, such as obvious mental or physical issues, substance abuse issues, or living in an unsuitable environment for an extended period that may lead to medically untreated health issues with personal hygiene (skin, foot or dental) issues.
  • The determination of chronic homelessness may be made by the HSC based on their observation of the individual and their personal circumstances, or by a homeless shelter provider, or other qualified individual.
  • SNAP Work Requirement Request Medical/Service Provider Unfit to Work Determination (Form 2340) may be used to help a person verify their inability to work. This form is optional. A customer is not required to use this form to verify their inability to work. A written statement from the Medical/Service Provider of the person's condition and their inability to work is acceptable. When completing the Verification Checklist (Form 267) be sure to specify what the customer is expected to provide as documentation of their inability to work and explain what is needed to the customer. 
  • Document all actions taken to determine the individual's eligibility in Case Comments. Document what observations were made or documents received that qualified the individual for a homeless exemption. If not allowed, indicate the reason. Scan and upload any verifications or applicable documents to the ECR.

Verify the Exemption

  • If an individual's disability is not obvious to the HSC or the individual is not receiving a disability benefit, the HSC should request that the customer provide proof 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, or documents 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.