More Illinois seniors eligible for state benefits in 2020

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More Illinois seniors will qualify for state benefits such as discounted license plates and free transit under new income guidelines that took effect for 2020.

The Illinois Department of Aging announced new, higher income limits will be used eligibility for the state's Benefit Access Program. The program includes discounts on license plates, the Seniors Ride Free Benefit and the Persons with Disability Free Transit Ride Benefit.

Under the new guidelines, single-person households will qualify if they earn less than $33,562 in annual income. That's up from $27,610 last year.

State officials say the changes reflect annual cost of living increases for Social Security and supplemental security income benefits.

Aging Department director Paula Basta says the benefits support “some of our state's must vulnerable residents.” The state says it received over 126,180 applications for the benefits in the most recent fiscal year.