HERRIN (WSIL) -- Nearly half a million households in Illinois are getting extra help putting food on the table.
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced Monday that it's maximizing benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
Starting Wednesday, the state will automatically deposit funds into SNAP recipients' Link Cards. All recipients who qualify will receive benefits by April 20.
The move will help people like Herrin resident Tammy Phelps, a diabetic living off disability checks. "It's a struggle for everybody right now."
Phelps has a household of three, meaning her family qualifies for a maximum of $509. She says the extra funds will help keep a healthy lifestyle. "I'm a diabetic and I eat a lot of fresh fruits."
Current SNAP recipients don't need to re-apply and all new applications authorized this month will be included. For those who don't qualify, a food pantry is the next best option.
"Ever since this started we have been working non-stop. The team has been working very hard," said John Steve, director of the Herrin House of Hope.
Steve says extra SNAP benefits could mean shorter lines at the food pantry, which could allow them to stock more food, something that got harder each day.
"I'm just afraid that as this continues... that just means less donations," Steve said.