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Food Aid for Families
FoodShare is Wisconsin’s first line of defense against hunger. Called the Supplemental Nutrition Program or SNAP nationally, this federal program provides food buying power at the grocery store through an EBT card called Quest. Eligibility is based upon your household income and size. The program requires proof of income, expenses and household members.
During the Safer at Home Executive Order, unemployment has risen. If you are recently unemployed we encourage you to apply for both Unemployment and FoodShare. You can remain compliant with Safer at Home by applying online; having your eligibility interview over the phone and use your smart phone to upload required proof called “verification.”
Take a look below the find out more about the program, a step by step tutorial that shows you the application process, and watch videos about how valuable FoodShare can be for you.
State approval for Pandemic-EBT, providing benefits for missed school meals.
All your questions about FoodShare answered in an easy-to-read format.
From the interview process to common hang-ups, we’ll take you through it all.
FoodShare provides a crucial set of benefits to families who need it most.
Pandemic-EBT Approved in Wisconsin
School closures have caused school children to miss a significant amount of meals. Now, families with children who qualify for free or reduced price meals will receive a food benefit that is equal to the value of missed meals. Find out who will receive Pandemic-EBT, how much they will receive and how the benefits will be distributed. If you qualify and HAVEN’T received benefits, you can APPLY HERE.
Who is eligible to receive Pandemic-EBT?
Families with children eligible for free or reduced-price meals who attend schools that have closed due to the pandemic are eligible for the Pandemic-EBT benefit. The family will receive a benefit card for each child that attends schools with closures. If the school participates in the Community Eligibility Program, where ALL children receive free breakfast and lunch, then all students will qualify for the benefit.
How will families receive Pandemic-EBT?
If the family is already enrolled in FoodShare (see our guide on this webpage for more information), benefits will be loaded directly onto the household’s existing EBT card. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services will confirm which households are eligible for the benefit.
If the family is NOT enrolled in FoodShare, but the children receive Free or Reduced price meals at school, they still qualify for the benefits. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services will attempt to verify a family’s eligibility by searching through enrollment records for other benefit programs like Medicaid or W-2 (TANF). Verified families will be mailed a new EBT card with their Pandemic-EBT benefits.
If households cannot be matched up, there will be an application that families may fill out. An online version of the application can be found here. Eligible families will then be mailed an EBT card with their Pandemic-EBT benefits.
How much will families receive and when?
Families will receive a benefit no less than the value of a breakfast and lunch for each day that school has been closed. What is that value? Wisconsin is using the maximum allowable benefit for free breakfast ($2.20) and free lunch ($3.50). So, the benefit $5.70 for each child and each day school has closed. The state will begin issuing benefits for both March and April together beginning Monday, April 27. Benefit amounts will include March 19 through March 31 (9 days) and all of April (22 days). At $5.70 per day, the total benefit issued for these two months will be $176.70 per child who receives free or reduced-price meals. For May and June combined, the benefit amount is $148.20 per child.
Frequently Asked FoodShare Questions
With businesses closing and cutting hours, many people may need emergency food.
Federal nutrition programs can help meet the need during times like these. Our federal and state governments have improved food programs and made it easier to help you keep putting food on the table.
Lost your job or work hours recently?
You could qualify for a program called FoodShare (formerly known as food stamps). FoodShare provides you with an EBT card that is preloaded with money for groceries every month! You can use it most places you buy food, and it’s protected with a secure PIN unique to you. (Your card works for groceries but cannot be used at restaurants or to buy hot food items in-store.)
How do I know if I qualify?
The best way to find out is to apply. Visit www.ACCESS.wisconsin.gov to apply. FoodShare is available for most low-income families. So if you’re a family of 3 with a gross monthly income of $3,620 or less, you will probably qualify!
How much can I get in FoodShare each month?
The most that 1 person will get is $194/month, $355/month for a two-person household, and increases for larger size households.
How long does it take to complete this process?
What else should I know about the application?
If you make a mistake, don’t worry! But don’t hit the back button. Just keep going until you get to the section summary and you can make edits then. Before you exit the application, write down your tracking number. It will be needed during your interview.
I finished the application. What’s next?
The FoodShare program requires an interview that can be done over the phone. You can call your agency after you’ve completed the application. If you live in Milwaukee County call 888-947-6583 or 711 (TTY).
My phone interview is done. Now what?
If you’ve received FoodShare before and have your old EBT card, your benefits will load to that card. If you’ve never had FoodShare, everything should come in the mail, which will be within 30 days of completing the interview.
If you HAVE had a case in the past and don’t have your card anymore, call to get your Quest EBT card mailed out! Dial 877-415-5164 to request one – it only takes a minute!
Can I get FoodShare faster?
If you have little or no income, your case could be expedited and you’ll receive benefits sooner, within 7 days.
How do I submit paperwork?
At this time, you should probably download the MyACCESS mobile app. It makes it really easy to upload documents or check your status. You can download it from the Apple App Store or get it on Google Play. You can also fax or mail in paperwork.
What else should I know?
You have rights! Disagree with a decision? Other questions or concerns? Check out a full list of your rights here. If you want to file a fair hearing, you have a right to do so and can contact Legal Action for help at www.legalaction.org.
You can apply in a language that you understand! The website is only available in Spanish and English, but you can call your local agency and complete the process in your preferred language.
We have a more in-depth guide available to walk you through the process. Check it out here.
Click here to view this step-by-step guide to applying for FoodShare benefits through Wisconsin’s ACCESS website.
SNAP (the federal term for FoodShare) is hands-down, the best anti-hunger program in the nation. For more than 40 years, it has proven over and over to respond to economic crises, so if families lose work, they’ll still have some help putting food on the table. Hunger Task Force Executive Director, Sherrie Tussler provides an overview of the program, how it works and why it’s necessary in times like these.
These flyers provide the helpful information on the website in an easy-to-read, printable format to share. Learn more about Emergency FoodShare benefits, how to apply and information about the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program with the flyers below, available in English, Spanish, Hmong and Burmese.
The HEROES Act will support and improve FoodShare benefits. As more families lose work, they should still be able to put food on the table. Add your name and send Congress a message today!