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Cunningham announces expanded benefit opportunities for seniors

seniors 010820SPRINGFIELD – More seniors will be eligible for certain state benefits under new changes implemented by the Illinois Department on Aging, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced Tuesday.

“Many seniors live on a fixed income, and we need to ensure that all of them have access to the benefits they need,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This program provides valuable assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in our state. Expanding its availability is simply the right thing to do.”

The new rules increase annual income limits to participate in the Benefits Access Program, which includes the Secretary of State license plate discount, seniors ride free transit benefit and persons with disabilities ride free transit benefit. Eligibility for the program is now determined by income as follows:

  • For households containing one person, an annual income of less than $33,562
  • For households containing two persons, an annual income of less than $44,533
  • For households containing three or more persons, an annual income of less than $55,500

For applications submitted between January 1 and April 15, income amounts from 2018 will be used to determine eligibility. For applications submitted after April 15, income amounts from 2019 will be used.

The changes come as part of the bipartisan budget implementation bill passed by the General Assembly last spring. This is the first time the annual income limits for the program have been increased since 2010.

Applications may be submitted online at www.illinois.gov/aging under the “Benefit Access” tab. For assistance, call the Illinois Department on Aging Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 1-888-206-1327).

Senator Bill Cunningham

 Cunningham2014

Assistant Majority Leader
President Pro Tempore
18th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Higher Education; Insurance; Assignments (Vice-Chairperson); Executive (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born July 21, 1967. Full-time state legislator and lifelong resident of the 18th Senate District. Graduate of Mt. Carmel High School; B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Former Chief of Staff and Director of Communications for the Cook County Sheriff's Office. Previously served as a State Representative (2011-13) and as an elected member of the Sutherland Local School Council. Resides in Chicago's Beverly community with wife, Juliana, and two daughters, Madeline and Olivia.

Associated Representatives:
Kelly M. Burke
Frances Ann Hurley