$90 Million Proposal to Hurt Vulnerable Families
2018 Wisconsin Welfare Reform: Impact on Hunger
The Governor’s welfare reform proposal dramatically changes the FoodShare program, gutting protections for families that truly need help. FoodShare benefits are 100% federal money. FoodShare helps the most vulnerable people in our state purchase groceries. Nearly half of FoodShare recipients are children and over 80% live in a working household. The fastest growing population utilizing FoodShare is senior citizens.
The best way to end hunger is with family-sustaining jobs. Wisconsin needs to fix the FoodShare Employment & Training (FSET) program before expanding it.
Taking away access to food dose not increase independence, it only increases hunger.
5 things to know about the Governor’s proposed changes to FoodShare:
- Requiring a Photo ID on the FoodShare card is expensive, ineffective and does not reduce fraud.
This proposal will cost taxpayers nearly $10 million and has failed miserably in other states. Every FoodShare household receives only 1 card, and any person in the household is allowed to use that card. Often seniors and people with disabilities designate a family member or friend to shop for them. Federal law states the person purchasing food is not required to be pictured on the card.
- Piles of paperwork = Piles of problems.
Asset testing adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy to a program that helps people who are struggling to buy food. The increase in paperwork will overwhelm stressed government systems to failure. Pennsylvania stopped their asset test after 111,000 households were denied benefits because they had trouble producing all of the required documentation.
- FSET fails to produce family-sustaining jobs.
The new proposals include “pay-for-performance” FSET contracts. Establishing outcomes for FSET is a step in the right direction. However, FSET should not incentivize temporary employment and part-time work. FSET should be transparent, provide training and contractor outcomes should be evaluated.
- Increasing the hours required to participate in FSET is doubling-down on a broken system.
Wisconsin needs to fix FSET before expanding it. These proposals increase the mandatory hours and add tens of thousands of parents to a broken FSET system. The Department of Health Services may not set the maximum hours required for FSET at a level that exceeds the minimum wage. The Wisconsin minimum wage in 2017 was $7.25. The average monthly FoodShare benefit for an individual in 2017 was $105.97. If an individual is receiving the average monthly benefit, they cannot be required to work more than 14.62 hours a month under this new proposal.
- Childhood hunger will increase.
While the changes to FoodShare are intended for adults, kids will be the ones left with an empty plate. When parents lose access to food aid, their children go hungry.
Want more information on the proposed bills? Find that here: Welfare Reform Position Paper
Want to take action? Contact your state legislator today!
Want to call your elected official? Check out this guide for calling your State Senator or Representative!