What’s Available to Help Disabled Young Adults in Illinois: Funding, Services, and Supports

government benefits life skills teaching experience transition planning Feb 10, 2024

Whether the young adult needs funding (i.e. money), services (like therapy), or support (such as help with daily tasks like showering and cooking meals), there are programs available to help pay for these needs.  

While I dream about the day that young adults and their families in Illinois can submit all their personal information and backstory one time and the profile be automatically sent to programs that they qualify for, this isn’t the current reality.  

Sadly, a young adult with a disability and their loved ones/family need to take the steps to both understand AND initiate the application process to be considered for funding, services, and support (like I mentioned above).  

Before diving into the ‘How’ let’s review the ‘What.’  


What Benefits are Available




  • Medicaid 
  • Medicare
  • Dept of Rehabilitation Services (aka DRS)



  • ABLE Account & Special Needs Trust
  • Letter of Intent
  • Supported Decision Making
  • Power of Attorney
  • Guardianship
  • Respite
  • Housing
  • State ID
  • College Supports & Experience Programs
  • Transportation*


Now onto the ‘How’...

Speaking in very general terms, in order to take advantage of the funding (like PUNS), services, and support options listed above, a young adult would need to do the following:

  • Gather and provide proof their disability meets eligibility criteria (more on this below)
  • Complete and submit paperwork/application
  • Wait for approval and appeal if initially denied OR
  • Submit forms to enroll/give consent (such as signing forms to transfer rights for Power of Attorney)
  • Periodic follow-up to remain eligible and/or in good standing


Since eligibility criteria is the first step in determining if the funding/service/support can be accessed, let’s review common eligibility criteria.  

Common Eligibility Criteria

  • Social Security Number
  • Intellectual Disability (IQ score of 70 or lower) or Developmental Disability or Qualifying Disability (found HERE or HERE) according to the Social Security Administration)
  • $$$ in the individual’s name (less than $2,000 is best)

While not all funding, services, and supports require the three common criteria mentioned above, there are usually similar standards an individual must meet to qualify and apply. 

Beyond meeting eligibility criteria, there are potential steps the young adult may need to take before applying (such as moving $$$ into a safe zone), followed by an application process, submitting forms, and possible updates to remain eligible to access these benefits.  

Don’t let those steps stop you and/or the disabled young adult from getting what they need and deserve!  

Understanding and applying for these benefits (funding, services, and supports) DOES NOT need to be confusing or overwhelming.  

That’s worth repeating!

Understanding and applying for these benefits (funding, services, and supports) DOES NOT need to be confusing or overwhelming!!!  


No matter if the young adult is just starting to access benefits or is already a few steps into their journey, the Take Advantage Illinois benefit guides are designed to empower young adults, their family and loved ones, and educators by making sense of each benefit process.  

Take Advantage Illinois confidently guides educators and families through understanding and accessing the crucial (albeit sometimes confusing and time-consuming) services, support, and funding that individuals depend on to achieve their long-term dreams and goals. 


Through PDFs sent directly to your email inbox, each funding/service/support guide includes:

  • Overview of each benefit in easy to understand language
  • Detailed step-by-step instructions for applying
  • Common mistakes and frustrations
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Contact information
  • Checklist for each step of the process  


A guide for getting started with understanding and accessing benefits is available for FREE, complete with a little sneak peek into the Take Advantage benefit guide!   The FREE ‘Start Here’ guide shares how to get in the right mindset, what testing and scores matter and how to find them amongst the piles of paperwork, and MORE! 



No waiting for a webinar to begin or moving around schedules to attend an in-person speaker, the Take Advantage Illinois benefit guide allows you to start learning immediately!  

If you have specific questions about Take Advantage IL or are a school/non-profit administrator interested in offering a virtual or in-person training about understanding and accessing benefits, scroll down to the bottom of the Take Advantage IL page and complete the Contact form! 



*Due to the highly limited and specific nature of public transportation options in Illinois, this benefit is not included in the benefit guide.  When a broader, more inclusive, less restrictive, and user-friendly transportation option becomes available, it will be added to the guide.




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