2024 Migrant Farmworkers

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Policy Memo



  • This policy memo, as required by the Zarate Consent Decree, provides a summary of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) policy that affects migrant farmworkers and serves as a reminder that migrant farmworkers will begin to arrive in Illinois for the season.
  • A migrant farmworker is a person who moves from area to area looking for or doing seasonal farm work or other seasonal crop related activities.
  • More information on migrant farmworkers policy can be found in PM 05-05-00 of the Cash, SNAP, and Medical manual in the OneNet.
  • SNAP policy does not require a migrant farmworker to be an Illinois resident to apply and be eligible for SNAP benefits.
  • Do not prorate SNAP benefits for REDEs that are received late.
  • Migrant farmworkers who are "out of funds" may be entitled to expedited SNAP benefits. PM 02-08-01-a
  • Migrants are not required to bring their own interpreters. If there is a need for interpreter services and all other FCRC sources are unavailable, contact the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OHLA): (312) 793-3613 or (312) 793-4306 (voice) or (866) 273-3686 (Nextalk).
  • Review a migrant farmworker's household for potential eligibility for other benefits such as medical and/or cash benefits.

Migrant Farmworkers

A migrant farmworker is an individual who moves from place to place seeking seasonal farm work, and other seasonal crop related activities and tasks. Special policy and guidance are provided for migrant farmworkers and can be found in PM 05-05-00. This policy memo, as required by the Zarate Consent Decree, provides a summary and guidance in regards to the migrant farmworkers.

Expedited Service

A SNAP household is entitled to expedited service when:

  • the SNAP unit's gross nonexempt income and liquid assets are less than their monthly rent, or their mortgage payment, and the appropriate utility standard; or
  • the SNAP unit has liquid assets of $100 or less, and gross monthly income for the month of application is less than $150; or
  • the SNAP unit's liquid assets of $100 or less, and at least one person applying is a migrant who is "out of funds." See definition of "out of funds" below.

For Expedited Migrant Households:

  1. Conduct an interview no later than the workday after the date the application was filed.
  2. Authorize benefits so that they are available to the SNAP unit no later than the 5th calendar day after:
    • the date of application; or
    • the date it is discovered that the SNAP unit is eligible for expedited service.
  3. If all eligibility factors are verified at the interview, issue expedited benefits right away, run eligibility, and certify ongoing benefits.
  4. If identity is verified but other verifications are postponed, issue benefits for:
    • 1 month if the applicant applied on or before the 15th of the month; or
    • 2 months benefits if the applicant applies after the 15th of the month. Do not require the waived verifications before approving the 2nd month's benefits.

After issuance of the 1 or 2 months of expedited SNAP benefits, do not issue any more benefits until the missing information is provided, even if they meet the definition of "out of funds," see PM 02-08-01-a, WAG 02-08-05-b and PM 02-08-01.

  • The applicant will be informed that additional SNAP benefits will not be approved until all verifications are received by the due by the due date. A new application is not required. Do not obtain an additional signature page. After issuance of the expedited SNAP benefits, do not issue any more until the missing information is provided. See Policy Memo, Expedited SNAP Changes, published on 10/01/2013. Make all requests for verifications/information for customers who apply for SNAP on the Verification Checklist (IL 444-267 VCL). Allow 10 days to return the needed verifications. Specify the last day verifications are due on the 267 VCL. The last day must always be a workday.

Definition of "Out of Funds"

A migrant or seasonal farmworker is "out of funds" if:

  1. The only income for the month of application was received prior to the date of application and was from a terminated source. This includes:
    • Income normally received on a monthly or more frequent basis which will not be received again from the same source during the balance of the month of application or the following month.
    • Income normally received in the month in which the next payment would have been received.
  2. The only income to be received in the month of application is from a new source and is:
    • More than $25; and
    • The income will not be received by the 10th calendar day after the date of application
  3. The household may have received both income from a terminated source prior to the date of application, and income from a new source after the date of application and be considered "out of funds" if:
    • They received no other income in the month of application; and
    • Income from the new source is no more than $25 and will not be received by the 10th day after the application date.

A migrant SNAP household that meets the definition of "out of funds" is eligible for expedited service if their liquid assets are $100 or less.

Note: Do not count a wage advance for travel costs to get to a new job when you decide if a migrant is "out of funds."

Calculating Income for "Out of Funds" Households

  1. If the SNAP unit meets the definition of "out of funds", follow the special income calculation procedures below to determine eligibility and the benefit amount for only the month in which the application is filed.

    • Consider only income which has been received from the first day of the month through the date the application is filed.
    • Disregard income from a new source that is expected to be received after the day of application.
  2. At the SNAP REDE, disregard income from a new source in the first month of the new SNAP approval period if it is more than $25 and will not be received by the 11th day of the month. See PM 02-08-01-a SNAP REDE Applications.
  3. At the SNAP REDE, determine if the SNAP unit still meets the definition of a migrant. If a migrant SNAP unit files an application for a SNAP REDE during the month after the end of the approval period, issue a full month's benefit for the month of application. Do not prorate benefits. See PM 05-05-04, WAG 05-05-04 and Policy Memo, Expedited SNAP Changes, dated 10/01/2013.

Note: For migrant households who remain living in Illinois and are still currently active for SNAP, the Integrated Eligibility System (IES) will systematically generate Medical, Cash and SNAP Redetermination Notice (IL444-1893) 45 days prior to the end of the certification period.

Citizen/Noncitizen Requirements

To receive SNAP benefits, each person must be a citizen or must be a legally admitted noncitizen who meets certain other SNAP eligibility requirements. To determine if a person meets these requirements, see PM 03-01-03, WAG 03-01-03. If a Quarters of Coverage Inquiry is needed, see WAG 22-14-03-d for WTPY instructions, and WAG 25-03-13 to figure the qualifying quarters.

Eligibility and Budgeting

  • Persons who move to Illinois from another state and received SNAP from the other state cannot receive duplicate benefits in Illinois for the same period, see PM 03-02-03-b. Verify the last day the applicant received or will receive SNAP benefits from the other state. Migrants are not required to be a permanent resident to qualify for SNAP while in Illinois doing seasonal work.
  • Take special care to determine if a migrant SNAP household has out-of-state resources or income from real property in the home-base area. If out-of-state real property is being rented or is producing income, count the income when determining eligibility and benefit level. See, PM 05-01-01.
  • Allow shelter costs for the out-of-state home if the SNAP household's absence is due to employment and the home is not leased or rented during the absence of the SNAP household. See, PM 13-01-08-c
  • Employable members of migrant SNAP households must comply with the work provisions unless they are under contract to begin work within 30 days of application. See, PM 05-05-02 and PM 03-15-02
  • In some migrant SNAP households, children may earn a portion of the income even though the SNAP household receives only one payment for all work performed. The child's portion of the income is exempt if they are age 17 or under, attend elementary or secondary school, and are living with a natural, adoptive, or stepparent or under the parental control of another SNAP household member. Determine the child's portion of the income by prorating the total earnings equally among all working SNAP unit members. The child's portion of the income is not counted. See, PM 05-05-03.
  • If a migrant SNAP household was entitled to more benefits than were authorized, issue the past month's benefits immediately upon the discovery of the error. If there is a current recoupable claim that has been sent to the case in IES, and a past month supplement is found, IES will automatically offset the supplement by applying the amount toward the overpayment or paying off the overpayment. See PM 23-01-02 and WAG 23-01-02-b

Approval Periods

For migrant SNAP households including those receiving medical assistance, assign an approval period of up to 12 months, based on the likelihood of a change in circumstances. See PM 17-05-02-b PM 17-05-02-g

Change Circumstances Details Page

If the migrant reports that they will be moving out of state when their local seasonal work has ended, record the date they plan to leave the state in the Changing Circumstances - Details page.

  1. The Changing Circumstances - Details page displays
  2. In the Changing Circumstances Dates section (toward the top of the page):
    • Enter the Application date in the Circumstances Start/Change Date field (required),
    • Enter an End Date to discontinue the unstable circumstances designation, only if appropriate.,
    • Select an Approval Period (required).
  3. In the Changing Circumstances Information section:
    • Answer "Yes or No" next to "SNAP approval changed due to expected changes in the household?" (required),
  4. Click [Save + Continue],
    • The Wrap-up - Run Eligibility page displays.

See IES TIP Determining Migrant Farm Worker/Seasonal Eligibility

Spanish Language Units

A SNAP household is a Spanish Language Unit (SLU) if the adult members speak only Spanish, or the unit does not contain a person age 18 or over who can speak or read English. See PM 22-11-00 . Use only Spanish SNAP materials to communicate with SLUs. The standardized messages are printed in the Spanish language on all centrally generated notices.

The SLU designated counties are: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Rock Island, Will, and Winnebago.

Special procedures apply to SLUs in designated and migrant counties

When a SLU applies for SNAP and/or cash or medical assistance in designated and migrant counties:

  1. Ask the SNAP unit in Spanish to complete Request for Financial Assistance-Medical Assistance-SNAP (IL444-2378BS),
  2. Ask the applicant to sign the rights and responsibilities page of IL444-2378BS,
  3. Scan and upload IL444-2378BS into the Electronic Case Record (ECR).

A SLU is not required to sign the printed CAF. Application for SNAP - Spanish (IL444-683S) may also be used when a SLU applies for only SNAP.

Translators and Interpreter Services

  • When an English-speaking employee in a designated or migrant county is contacted by a SLU, the employee must follow the FCRC's written procedures for talking in Spanish with a SLU. The use of persons other than Department employees or qualified interpreter services to translate for a SLU is not allowed. Minors (persons under age 18) and persons in the waiting room cannot be used to interpret for a SLU. See PM 22-11-02. Within an hour of deciding that a client needs interpreter services, determine whether the service can be provided within a reasonable time that day. Reasonable time means that a person will not have to wait longer than other persons applying for benefits.
  • If bilingual services cannot be provided within a reasonable time that day, give the person an appointment when the services will be available.
  • The application date, appeal date, and the beginning of all other timeframes is the first day of contact. A SLU is not penalized because the FCRC has to reschedule an appointment for a later date when an interpreter is available.
  • Note: All migrants must be allowed to file an application for benefits and are not required to have their own interpreters. For interpreter services, if all other FCRC sources are unavailable, contact the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OHLA): (312) 793-3613 or (312) 793-4306 (voice) or (866) 273-3686 (Nextalk). The fax number (312) 793-7835 is not available to use.
  • A migrant SLU who is in a migrant county during the migrant season receives the same bilingual services provided by the Department to a SLU in a designated county. Bilingual services are provided by the Illinois Migrant Council (IMC) during the migrant season for migrant SLUs. Bilingual services include the use of English/Spanish SNAP forms, notices, and pamphlets at all times, as well as the use of bilingual staff or interpreters for all oral discussions during the migrant season.
  • FCRCs in migrant counties supply the IMC with IL444-2378BS for completion by applicants. The date the local office receives the application from the IMC is the application date.

[signed copy on file]

Dulce M. Quintero

Secretary-Designate, Illinois Department of Human Services

Forms referenced:

Migrant Desk Aid

(See above link for a printable migrant desk aid)

Where to Find It

Expedited Policy PM 02-08-01
Migrants qualify for expedited service if:
  • they meet the normal expedited qualifications, or
  • liquid assets are $100 or less and they are "out of funds."

See Policy Memo, Expedited SNAP Changes, dated 10/01/2013.

Follow the procedures in the policy memo until the manual is updated with these policy changes.

  • Use special income calculations
PM 02-08-01-a
  • CITIZENSHIP/IMMIGRATION STATUS: Apply rules for noncitizen migrants
PM 03-01-03
  • Policy
  • WTPY Inquiry
  • Figuring Qualifying Quarters

WAG 22-14-03-d

WAG 03-01-03-f

WAG 25-03-13

  • Cannot receive duplicate benefits in Illinois
PM 03-02-03-b
  • Contact Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs for interpreter services if all other local office sources are unavailable: 312-793-3613 (VOICE)
    • 312-793-2670 (TTY)
    • Note: FAX number 312-793-7852 is not available to use.
PM 22-11-02
  • Use 2378BS; household does not have to sign printed CAF.

PM 22-11-03

WAG 22-11-03

  • Exempt a child's portion of the household income.
  • Allow shelter costs for out-of-state homes.

PM 05-05-03

PM 13-01-08-c

WAG 13-01-08


See IES Tip: Determining Migrant Farmworker/Seasonal Eligibility

PM 02-08-01
  • Don't prorate late REDEs for migrants.

PM 05-05-04

WAG 05-05-04