Work Pays - DHS 3496

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

In Illinois, WORK PAYS!

If you receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and get a job, you: 

  • keep your paycheck and
  • continue to receive medical assistance.

You may also be eligible to receive:

  • cash assistance,
  • SNAP benefits,
  • help paying for your child care and
  • cash for federal Earned Income Tax Credits.

Work Pays means more money for your family!

Work Pays lets you keep a portion of your grant while you work. Your grant will be reduced by only $1 for every $4 of gross income earned from your job.

With Work Pays, a job means that you receive more money to support your family.

Example: If you receive $432 monthly in TANF assistance and have a job that pays $800 a month, your monthly income could go up to $1,032.

Here's how it works.

The TANF grant is reduced $1 for every $4 of gross earnings. (Gross pay is the amount before payroll deductions.) In this example, your TANF grant would be reduced by $200 (1/4 of $800 = $200).

Your grant of $432 less $200 leaves a grant of $232.

You would then make $800 gross from the job and receive a $232 TANF grant, for a total of $1,032.

With Work Pays, it's easy to know what your monthly grant will be when you work.

Talk it over with your IDHS caseworker.

To get all of the financial benefits of Work Pays, you must report your employment to your caseworker within 10 days of getting a job. If you don't report your employment, you will not receive the benefits of Work Pays. Also, your future TANF grants will be greatly reduced. These reductions will occur even if you are no longer working and your only source of income is from your TANF grant.

You are still eligible for medical coverage, child care and SNAP benefits.

As long as you receive cash assistance, you are eligible for medical coverage and child care payments.

And, when your income becomes high enough that you no longer qualify for a TANF grant, you will still receive medical coverage for up to 12 more months. you may also still be eligible for SNAP and for help with your child care costs.

You may qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) cash payments.

Low-income, working families with children can get extra cash by applying for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. you can receive the EITC through your federal tax refund. 

your EITC benefit depends on your income and family size. Eligible families with one child who earn less than $39,296 (or $44,846 if married filing jointly) can qualify for a tax credit of up to $3,373. Eligible families with more children who earn less than $47,955 may qualify for a credit of up to $6,269.

Families who qualify for the federal EITC may also be eligible for the state EITC, which could save you up to $627 in state income taxes.


For the 2016 tax year, a single parent with three children earning between $12,750 and $16,700 a year could qualify for a total tax credit payment of $6,269.

you can receive tax credits even if you do not owe any federal income tax. If you do owe federal taxes, the tax credit reduces the amount you owe. If your tax credit is larger than the taxes owed, the IRS will send you a refund.

EITC payments do not count against your TANF grant, medical assistance, food stamps or any other public assistance benefits you may be receiving.

In many areas of Illinois, IDHS supports programs that help you complete and file your federal and state income taxes for free. Ask your IDHS caseworker for more information.

For more information:

Call or visit your Illinois Department of Human Services' Family Community Resource Center (FCRC).

If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) program, call or visit your FCRC. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline

24 hours a day at:


(866) 324-5553 TTY/Nextalk or 711 TTY Relay

You may speak to a representative between:

8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.  Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

For answers to your questions, you may also write:

Illinois Department of Human Services

Bureau of Customer Support and Services

600 E. Ash Building 500 - 5th Floor

Springfield, Illinois 62703

or email us:

Visit our web site at:

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 3496 (R-08-17) WORK PAYS Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois  PO#18-0016 2,000 copies