Benefits Systems Change in Cook County, IL
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Benefits Systems Change in Cook County, IL

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Read more about the background on this initiative and discover what other states are doing to help seniors enroll in benefits in:

NCOA is working with community partners in Cook County, IL as part of a broader initiative supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies that aims to improve benefits access systems for low-income older adults. Similar initiatives are also taking place in Alabama and Colorado. Our lead partners in Cook County are AgeOptions and the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.

State activities

What’s happening at the Cook County Benefits Access (CCBA)?

The workgroups that were established at our June Kick-off Meeting have been very busy. They have each met a couple of times and are setting their priorities for the fall season.  We want to take advantage of all of the activity in the field surrounding the Open Enrollment Period and start of the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.  This is an ideal opportunity to spread the word about our three key benefit programs, SNAP, Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help.  We are working on outreach materials, partner engagement and trying to reduce some of the barriers to successful processing of applications. Please visit the section below titled “See What Our Workgroups Have Been Up To” to see the exciting things that are taking place. Speaking of workgroups, we still need participants for our Partnership and Trainings workgroup.  If this or any other group interests you, please contact for more information.

Highlights from the Kick-off Meeting for Cook County

The kick-off meeting for the Cook County Benefits Access project took place on June 13 and was attended by a dynamic group of advocates. We have always been told that to get something done we need to get all of the stakeholders in the same room to discuss the issues and watch the magic happen. No truer words were ever spoken! Everyone brought incredible energy and experience to the table and as a result of their insights and creativity we now have a comprehensive hit list of things to work on to make the SNAP, Extra Help (LIS) and Medicare Savings Program (MSP) benefits more accessible to older adults and people with disabilities.   

Click here for a list of attendees.

What are the issues?

The main issue is that older adults and people with disabilities, living in Cook County, are eligible for but not enrolled into key benefit programs. As a group, the Cook County Benefits Access stakeholders presented these issues and posed the following solutions.

See What Our Workgroups Have Been Up To!

For all calls, the call in number is 1-559-726-1000, passcode #997058.

We are still seeking membership for these workgroups.  If you are interested in participating in this project please contact for more information.

Contact Us

To become a member of the Cook County Benefits Access Project please email Maribeth Stein at AgeOptions at or Jaime Palomino at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Senior Services Division at



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