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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.
If you are unemployed we encourage you to apply for both Unemployment and FoodShare. You can apply 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.
NEW COVID Relief Package Passed by Congress!
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.
COVID Relief Package: December 2020
On December 28, 2020, President Trump signed the latest COVID relief package and appropriations bill into law. This law contains strong supports urgently needed by struggling Wisconsinites to get through the next few months. It includes several nutrition expansions and the benefits target some of the individuals and families who have experienced the sharpest rise in food insecurity.
Hunger has increased dramatically since the pandemic began. The number of adults that said their household didn’t get enough to eat sometimes or often in the last 7 days has increased by more than 300% since the pandemic began. Black and Latinx adults are more than twice as likely as white adults to report that their households did not get enough to eat.
FoodShare (or SNAP as it’s called nationally) is the largest and most effective anti-hunger program and has seen participation levels rise by more than 90,000 people since the pandemic began. FoodShare provides one of the best “bang for the buck” boosts to the economy during economic downturns. Every dollar in new benefits increases the Gross Domestic Product by about $1.50 during a weak economy. (USDA ERS – Quantifying the Impact of SNAP Benefits on the U.S. Economy and Jobs).
- The COVID Relief package provides a 15% increase to FoodShare benefits through June of 2021. This equates for about $31 more monthly food benefits per person.
- Extends FoodShare eligibility to college students by waiving requirements that apply only to students and gives them access to FoodShare similar to impacted workers with reduced work hours due to COVID.
- $5 million to expand FoodShare online purchasing program,meaining more people can shop for groceries online. This includes funding for farmers markets and for supporting mobile payment technologies and EBT system.
Pandemic-EBT provides food benefits to children that missed out on school meals during school closures. This program was established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed earlier this year and has provided a major boost to child nutrition for nearly 400,000 Wisconsin children.
- Expands access to the new Panedmic EBT program by expanding eligiblity to children under 6 years old. Children must reside in a FoodShare household and live in an area in which schools or child care facilities are closed or operating with reduced hours.
- Program eligibility is streamlined to accommodate for the rapidly changing school schedules between virtual, hybrid and in-person.
More Nutritional Supports:
- WIC will have a taskforce established to test new technology to help with online, deliveries, self-check-out and other measures.
- Provides emergency funding to schools that missed out on school meal funding due decreased participation after closures and hybrid schooling models took effect.
- Funding to incentivize purchases of fruits & vegetables by FoodShare participants which helps farmers, grocers and hungry families get the fresh, healthy food they are looking for.
Frequently Asked FoodShare Questions
With high unemployment, many people 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 $204/month, $374/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).
*Current program flexibilities have waived the interview portion of the application.
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.
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!