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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Illinois Benefit Access Program (formerly Circuit Breaker): apply online for benefits

Effective July 1, 2012, Illinois Cares Rx was terminated and the Circuit Breaker Property Tax Relief Grant was eliminated due to the lack of funding.
(this post links updated; verified January 2020 )

The benefits now available are:
  • Seniors Free Transit Ride
  • The Persons with Disabilities Free Transit Ride
  • Secretary of State License Plate Discount
To be determined eligible for these benefits, you must submit a Benefit Access Application on the Internet. Paper applications are not available.
Please note that current processing times to determine eligibility of your Benefits Access Application is 4-6 weeks. 
Once your application is approved you may print a certificate of eligibility to take to your local transit authority or Secretary of State Office. Please wait 10 business days from the date of your approval for your license plate discount to be available. If you requested the ride free benefit, please contact your local public transit system for further information. Your local transit system may have additional requirements in order to obtain the free ride. You can check the website at anytime to determine your application status.
If you have questions or would like to locate a Senior Health Assistance Program (SHAP) site near you for assistance, contact the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY).

To file your application on the Internet, link to the Benefit Access Application to apply online.

For information or help applying, visit a local office of the following:

Illinois Department of Aging,
Area Agency on Aging in your part of the state.
Call toll-free:
1-800-252-8966 or 1-888-206-1327 (TTY)
Note: Have your Social Security number ready when you call.
Write to:Illinois Department on Aging
1 Natural Resources Way, Suite 100
Springfield, IL 62702

To Apply Online - Click: HERE
# As posted at the Illinois Department on Aging website :

UPDATED Q & A:  January 2020

Do I qualify for the Benefit Access Program?

Note: Use of the word spouse also includes a civil union partner.
Apply on the Benefit Access Application if you meet the following requirements:
  1. Age
    • you must be 65 years of age or older by December 31 of the current year; or
    • you must be 16 years of age or older and totally disabled before January 1 of this year.

      NOTE: "Person with a disability" means a person unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. [320 ILCS 25/3.14]
  2. Residency
    • you must live in Illinois at the time you file your application.
  3. Income Limit Eligibility for the License Plate discount and/or Ride Free Transit Card: (Income limit increase effective 1/1/2020.)
    Your total income last year must be less than
    • $33,562 for a 1 person household (yourself only); or
    • $44,533 for a 2 person household (yourself and your spouse, or yourself and one Qualified Additional Resident); or
    • $55,500 for a 3 person household (yourself, your spouse and one Qualified Additional Resident, or yourself and two Qualified Additional Residents).

      NOTE: You must include your spouse's income if married and living together on December 31 of last year. If your spouse died last year, you would file as single and claim only your income. Do NOT include the income of a Qualified Additional Resident.

      *Click here for a list of what is considered income.
      *Get Your Social Security Benefit Verification Online with mySocialSecurity.
  4. ExpirationEligibility is good for two years under the Benefit Access Program. The two-year period starts at the time your application is approved. You may file again beginning 90 days before your eligibility expires.