Information & Assistance FAQ

What is the Benefit Access Program (Formally known as Circuit Breaker)?

The Benefit Access Program, now known as Benefits Access Application, is a state program that provides a $75 discount on your license plate sticker for one of your vehicles (as long as the vehicle is registered in your name) and a ride free bus pass to use in the county in which you reside.

How often do I need to file for the Beneft Access Program (Formally known as Circuit Breaker)?

The Benefit Access application needs to be filed once every 2 years. The benefits are good for a full 2 years.

Who is eligible for the Benefit Access Program (Formally known as Circuit Breaker)?

There are a few ways you can be eligible—1) if you are age 65+, or 2)if you are under the age of 65 and receiving disability benefits from one of the following: Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, Civil Service, or Railroad Retirement.

Circuit Breaker does have an income guideline. Your total income in previous year must be less than a determined amount based on a yearly basis. 

*You must include your spouse’s income if married and living together on December 31 or 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.

How do I sign up for the Benefit Access Program (Formally known as Circuit Breaker)?

You can call our office at 618-465-3298 extension 115 or extension 110 to schedule an appointment. Please bring all required documentation.  

What is Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)?

LIHEAP is a Federal program that provides energy assistance for low income households. Illinois LIHEAP is designed to assist eligible low income households pay for winter energy services.  LIHEAP will provide a one-time benefit to eligible households to be used for energy bills.  The amount of payment is determined by income, household size, fuel type, and geographic location.

Who is eligible for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)?

We help file LIHEAP applications for seniors 60+ that reside in Madison County. *LIHEAP applications must be filed between September 1st and March; *Federal funding permitting.

To be eligible for LIHEAP, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts based on determined amount on a yearly basis. 

*For households with more than 8 people, add $6,090 per additional person.

A person who participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or certain needs-tested Veterans benefits may be automatically eligible.

How do I apply for Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)?

To apply LIHEAP application you must call us at (618) 465-3298 to schedule an appointment, or email [email protected]

Bring all of the following documentation:

  • Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day period prior to the application date.
  • A copy of current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if energy directly paid for).
  • A copy of rental agreement (if renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.
  • Proof that household received TANF or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or SNAP, if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Note: We cannot file LIHEAP applications if you are currently shut off or if you have received a disconnection notice.

What Medicare services do you provide?

Our Information & Assistance Department currently has three certified Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors. We educate clients on Medicare and assist them enroll to enroll in Medicare drug plans or Advantage plans as well as a variety of other Medicare Services. Medicare appointments must be scheduled in advance. These appointments will typically last one hour.  To schedule an appointment call (618) 465-3298 or Email: [email protected]

How much does it cost to use your Medicare services?

We do not represent any insurance agency.  The Medicare services we provide are offered at no cost.

What is Extra Help/Low Income Subsidy?

Extra Help is a Federal program administered by Social Security. Extra Help assists those with Medicare drug plans by helping pay the drug plan’s monthly premium as well as lowering co-pays on prescription medications.

Who is eligible for Extra Help/Low Income Subsidy?

To qualify for Extra Help, you must meet their income and asset guidelines. 

Do NOT count the house you live in as an asset. For married couples living together, your GROSS yearly income and assets must be considered.

Again, do NOT count the house you live in as an asset.

Who qualifies for emergency financial assistance?

We only provide emergency financial assistance to single women age 60 and older in Madison County. They must meet specific eligibility requirements (funding permitting). Funds are provided by a grant through the Alton Women’s Home Association.

For more information about our Information & Assistance program contact us at (618) 465-3298