SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans will be able to purchase menstrual hygiene products with federal and state food assistance program benefits under a new law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago).
“Benefits programs aren’t living up to their full potential until they cover necessary menstrual hygiene products,” Villa said. “Increasing the accessibility of menstrual hygiene products for low-income Illinoisans is essential to combatting period poverty across our state.”
Villa’s measure will require the Department of Human Services to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service permitting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefit recipients to use their benefits to purchase diapers and menstrual hygiene products.
“Menstrual hygiene products are essential for millions of women in communities across Illinois and they should be widely-available at little to no cost,” said State Representative Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora), who sponsored the bill in the House. “Far too many working class women are being forced to put their health at risk to save money, and it’s past time we put an end to that. This legislation is a good first step to ensure that no woman will ever have to see menstrual hygiene as a financial burden again. For the health of women everywhere, we need to make this necessity accessible to all those who need it.”
House Bill 155 was signed into law Thursday and will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.