Health & Disability Advocates

The Illinois State Public Benefits Manual is a comprehensive summary of federal and state public benefits available to persons with disabilities. The Manual provides an overview of the eligibility requirements for the many different programs as well as advocacy tips for assisting individuals in obtaining these benefits. The Manual is written in an easy to read format for service providers, advocates, and individuals with disabilities. This Manual is used by various service providers in Illinois, including vocational rehabilitation counselors, Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach staff, and the PABSS Project of Equip for Equality, Inc.

Chapter 1: Social Security Disability Programs

This chapter provides an overview of the two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration for people with disabilities: SSDI and SSI. Also included in this chapter is information on how to apply for these benefits, the continuing disability review process and dealing with overpayment notices.

Chapter 2: Effect of Earned Income on SSI and SSDI Programs

The calculation of the amount of an SSI or SSDI check when the individual receives other income is very complicated. This chapter explains how an individual’s SSI or SSDI benefits are impacted by employment or other income. In addition, an overview of all of the Social Security work incentive rules, including rules regarding impairment related work expenses and subsidies, are included in this chapter.

Chapter 3: State Administered Benefits

Some individuals with disabilities may qualify for state administered cash benefits, including, Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD), Transitional Assistance (TA), and Temporary Assistance to Needed Families (TANF). This chapter provides an overview of these and other state or locally administrated benefits. In addition, this chapter contains information on the different insurance programs under Medicaid.

Chapter 4: How the Medical Assistance Programs Work

Building off of the information contained in Chapter 3, this chapter explains how the state administered medical assistance programs operate in Illinois and what types of medical services are covered by the medical assistance programs.

Chapter 5: Medicare

Medicare is a federally administered health insurance program available to many individuals with disabilities. This Chapter covers the eligibility requirements for this Program, as well as information on how it is administered. In addition, information on state programs that may assist a person in paying their Medicare premium are discussed.

Chapter 6: Other State and Local Programs that Provide Cash or Medical Assistance

This Chapter provides information on Pharmaceutical Assistance, Senior Care, Township and Other Local Government Assistance, and the State of Illinois CHIP Program.

Chapter 7: Food Stamps

This Chapter provides an overview of the Food Stamp Program, including eligibility requirements, work requirements, and how apply for emergency food assistance.

Chapter 8: Office of Rehabilitation Services

The Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS) provides many important programs for people with disabilities, including home services and vocational rehabilitation assistance. This Chapter reviews each of the ORS programs available to people with disabilities.

Chapter 9: Other Benefits and/or Protections

This Chapter explains other government benefits and/or protections available to people with disabilities, including unemployment benefits, veterans benefits, worker’s compensation, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and bankruptcy.


The Manual contains an extensive appendix with fact sheets and other forms on the SSI/SSDI Programs, the Illinois Department of Human Services Programs, employment and public benefits, and several directories of government and advocacy organizations. These pages can be copied and distributed to any interested persons, and are particularly geared for use by persons with disabilities.

A full version of this manual may be purchased by contacting
Health & Disability Advocates at 312-223-9600.

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