The Benefit Access Program is administered by the Illinois Department on Aging. To qualify for the Benefit Access Program, you must meet the following requirements:
- Age: You must be 65 years of age or older by December 31 of the current year or be 16 years of age and older and totally disabled before January 1 of the current year
- Residency: You must live in Illinois at the time you file your application.
- Income: Your income last year must be less than: $27,610 for a 1-person household; $36,635 for a 2-person household or $45,657 for a 3-person household
Note: You must include your spouse's income if married and living together on December 31 of last year
How to Apply
Eligible persons may receive assistance in filling from the Senior Service offices Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Applicants must be signed in by 3:15 p.m. Application assistance may not be available during certain days of the year.
Applicants must provide all income documentation at the time of application along with a photo ID with a current address. Applications with no documentation may not be assisted.
Applications are filed online. Applications may take 48 hours or up to 12 weeks should documentation be requested by the Illinois Department on Aging from the date of attachment.
Documents required for filing: (bring all that apply to you)
- All 1099s for pensions, annuities, dividends, IRAs, CDs
- Award Letter from Social Security with the date your were eligible; (for disabled persons)
- Capital Gains/Losses
- Cash Assistance Payments
- Drivers License and/or State ID
- Lump Sum Social Security Payments
- Rail Road Retirement Benefits Statement
- Social Security SSA 1099 required for all applicants
- SSI 1099 required for all applicants receiving SSI benefits. You must have total benefit statement for previous year
- U.S. 1040 Federal Tax Return - if you file a tax return, and apply for the Benefit Access Program before April 8 in the calendar year, you must bring the previous year's tax return even if you have filed a new tax return for the current year.
- Veterans Benefit Statement
- W-2 from Employment wages
Note: If you are a married and living together or in a civil union you must bring in all of the above documents for your spouse or civil partner.
Eligibility is valid for two years under the Benefit Access Program. The two-year period begins when your application is approved. You may renew again beginning 90 days before your eligibility expires.
Once your Benefit Access application is approved, you are eligible for the following benefits:
License Plate Fee Discount for One Vehicle
The Illinois Department on Aging will notify the Illinois Secretary of State that you have been approved. You must allow 10 business days for the Secretary of State to have your eligibility information on record. You must purchase your license plate sticker at a Secretary of State Office.
The discount may not be available at a currency exchange or bank. Refunds will only be available to approved Benefit Access participants who are in their eligibility period.
Ride Free Transit Card
Seniors and persons with disabilities who are approved by the Benefit Access Program may then apply to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). The Illinois Department on Aging will notify the RTA of your eligibility. The RTA will process your application for the Ride Free Transit Card and mail the card directly to the applicant in 6 to 8 weeks. Applicants should notify the RTA of any address changes directly at 312-913-3110.
The Senior Services office may assist you in completing this application along with photo service for $2. When applying, your drivers license or state ID must have your current address.