Wisconsin families have fewer FoodShare benefits than they did a year ago

Jan 5, 2024

During the pandemic, a family of four who qualified for minimum benefits was eligible for $380 per month. Wisconsin families have fewer FoodShare benefits than they did this time last year.

Last spring, the extra money agencies received during the pandemic went away, reducing how much families receive per month. As inflation grew this year, those FoodShare dollars stretched even less. During the pandemic, there was an increase in the federal budget under the CARES Act, giving individuals and families additional benefits. At the time, a family of four who qualified for minimum benefits was eligible for $380 per month. Today, that same family is eligible for $75 per month.

The extra money went away in February 2023. Time is running out for families to use any additional funds that rolled over. “During the time that they received the maximum allotment, they were able to keep the benefits in their card and use them as needed. And they still can do that,” said Imela Roman, the site developer at the Robles FoodShare Center on Mitchell Street in Milwaukee. “They have a 12-month period to use the benefits.”

Roman understands the cost of living is going up. She’s encouraging people who need help to come to the center and start the application process, free of charge. Individuals will need to bring proof of address, proof of number of individuals in your household, and proof of income. Roman tells WISN 12 News an individual can get a maximum of $281 per month.

“The state offices have become virtual for the most part and it is a long wait time,” Roman said. “We are here to alleviate that.”

According to the Hunger Task Force, in November 2023, more than 241,000 individuals received FoodShare benefits in Milwaukee County.

Undocumented families can receive benefits, too. Parents can apply for their children. It’s important to note, it will not be held against them if they’re applying for a permanent residence status.

Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. The organization provides healthy and nutritious food to hungry children, families and seniors in the community absolutely free of charge. Hunger Task Force was founded in 1974 by a local advocacy group who then formed Milwaukee’s first food bank. Today, Hunger Task Force is 100% supported by the community and provides a safety net of emergency food with dignity to a network of 75 food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Through legislative analysis, education and community organizing, Hunger Task Force continues to advocate for anti-hunger policy at the local, state and federal level.