"Groceries" by Flickr User eddie welker / (CC X 2.0)

Some 40,000 low-income students at community colleges around the state could have become eligible for federal food assistance, or SNAP benefits, from a measure approved by members of both parties in the Illinois legislature.

But late Friday, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a portion of the bill, saying that identifying and notifying those students wasn’t the "best use" of limited time and money. Rauner said he supports the underlying effort to help students. 

Federal authorities arrested four Rockford residents Thursday on charges of food stamp and wire fraud.  

The Register-Star reports the group consists of  Vansy Xayvandy and and Aung Gyaw of PB Discount, Som Xayvandy of Mr. Clark Groceries, and Feuy Khaikham of S&B Discount. Federal officials say they overcharged SNAP beneficiaries electronic cards, and then paid out a lesser amount in cash to these individuals.  

Illinois is accepting applications for EPIC, a program that helps those on food assistance find gainful employment. 

Meredith Krantz, a spokeswoman  says participants will receive one-on-one career training, connections to high-demand fields, and individualized plans.  

"We're hoping that this program can serve as a launching point for a broader engagement with SNAP participants as we support them in their movement towards independence," she said.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

About 260,000 low-income Illinois residents were in danger of losing food stamp privileges early next year.

But the administration of Governor Bruce Rauner has applied for a federal waiver to continue their access through 2017.

Diane Doherty, with the Illinois Hunger Coalition, says Illinois was one of 11 states eligible because it’s so hard to find a job.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Illinois is still without a budget after the last legislative session ended last week. Here's what that means for LINK card recipients shopping at farmer’s markets:

There are about 450,000 SNAP beneficiaries within the WNIJ listening area, according to Illinois Human Services data. That’s about a quarter of all recipients within the state.

Now, more and more farmers markets in the area are starting to allow those residents to pay with their LINK cards. That includes DeKalb’s market, which is in its fifth year of accepting LINK.