1. Apply for benefits
You can apply for AABD on the DHS website, or in person at your local DHS office, or by calling (866) 311-1119. DHS will ask you for proof of your income, assets and your expenses. DHS is required to process your application within 45 days. They must give you a written notice telling you if your application was accepted or denied.
2. Appeal a decision to deny, change, or stop AABD payments
- Email to DHS.BAH@illinois.gov
- Fax to 312-793-3387
- Calling (800) 435-0774
- In writing at your local DHS office or by calling
You must file an appeal within 60 days of the date of the written notice.
3. Continue your AABD payments during an appeal
To keep getting payments during an appeal, you must appeal within 10 days of the date of the notice of change or before the date of change becomes effective (the date the change becomes effective is included on the notice of change), whichever is later.
Be sure to get some kind of a record that you filed your appeal showing the date it was filed.
4. Get a fair hearing during an appeal of a DHS decision
After you file the appeal, DHS will hold a pre-appeal conference. You will meet with your case manager and their supervisor.
If your application was denied, or your AABD payments were changed or ended because of a mistake or a misunderstanding about the facts, DHS may agree to approve the case or restore your full benefits right away. If not, DHS will schedule a fair hearing.
An impartial, or fair, hearing officer will hold the hearing. At the hearing, you may bring anyone to represent you, including a lawyer. You may also represent yourself. You will have the following rights at the hearing:
- To present your testimony and other witnesses in support of your claim
- To present documents that support your case
- To examine the records relied on by DHS, and
- To cross-examine other witnesses
After the hearing, the hearing officer will give his decision in writing.
Filing a lawsuit if you are denied benefits after a DHS hearing
You may file a lawsuit in court if a hearing officer rules against you in a DHS hearing. You must file this lawsuit no later than 35 days from the date that the decision was sent to you.
You or your lawyer will have the opportunity to show evidence to support of your case. The judge will then decide whether DHS and the hearing officer fairly considered the facts and properly applied the law. The judge can approve your claim, deny your claim or send your case back to DHS to be reevaluated as the judge instructs.
Learn more about Starting a lawsuit.