How to Apply for Food Stamps In Wisconsin
If you are looking for help with how to apply for food stamps in Wisconsin, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we will review the step by step process in applying for food stamps in Wisconsin, including what is required for a successful application. We will cover the following:
Overview of the Food Stamps Program
How Much You Could Receive In Food Stamps
Wisconsin Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Wisconsin
What Happens After You Apply
About Food Stamps Program
The food stamps program also called SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low- and no-income individuals and families living in the United States.
The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Benefits are distributed by each U.S. state’s Division of Social Services or Children and Family Services.
The food stamps program is the largest economic assistance program offered by the federal government to fight hunger.
In 2016, the government spent $70.9 billion on the program, helping roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population).
Who Can Apply for Food Stamps
The food stamps program was created to help stop hunger and to improve nutrition and health of those on low income.
The program helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health. This includes individuals who:
- Have a job but have low income
- Are living on small or fixed income
- Have lost their job
- Are retired or disabled and not able to work
How Much In Food Stamps Will I Receive?
If you are approved for food stamps, how much you will receive depends on the number of people in your household and your income and resources.
The table below shows the maximum amount you could receive depending on the number of people in your household.
What Can I Buy with Food Stamps?
There are strict requirements about what you can and cannot purchase with food stamps. Generally, you are allowed to buy food you plan to take home to prepare.
Here are the allowed food items:
You can use your benefits to buy foods such as:
- Breads and cereals.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Meats, fish, and poultry.
- Dairy products.
- Seeds and plants to grow food for your family to eat.
You cannot use your benefits to buy:
- Non Food items (pet foods, paper products, soaps,
- household supplies, grooming items, toothpaste, cosmetics, etc.).
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco.
- Food that will be eaten in the store.
- Hot foods (food cooked and served hot at the store).
- Vitamins and medicines.
Wisconsin Food Stamps Program
The Wisconsin food stamps program, also called Foodshare Wisconsin is run by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (Wisconsin DHS).
We are going to describe in detail what you need to successfully apply for food stamps in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements
To apply for food stamps in Wisconsin, you have to meet the eligibility requirements listed below.
Of all the requirements, the income limit is the biggest factor that determines whether you are approved for benefits. Make sure you review the income limit to be sure you are eligible before applying.
If you determine that you are not eligible, there may be other nutrition assistance program you may be eligible for.
To apply for food stamps in Wisconsin, you must be a resident of the state of Wisconsin.
Only United States Citizens and certain categories of lawfully admitted non-citizens can apply for food stamps. If you are a non-citizen, see our detailed article on the topic here.
3. Income Limit
If your income (based on your family size) is less than or equal to the amounts in the charts below, you may be eligible for food stamps in Wisconsin.
Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made such as taxes or other withholdings.
Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.
- If your household’s gross income is below these amounts, it does not ensure that you will be eligible for a benefit.
- A SNAP budget must be calculated for your household in order to determine eligibility and benefit amount.
- The only way to determine if your household is eligible for SNAP benefits is to apply.
For a detailed post on how to calculate your gross and net income, and documents you will be required to present to support your food stamps application, click here.
What Counts As Income?
Cash income from all sources, including earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted) and unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support are all counted towards your income for food stamps purposes.
Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.
What Counts as Resources?
Resources that could be available to the household to purchase food, such as amounts in bank accounts.
Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Most automobiles do not count.
How to Apply for Food Stamps In Wisconsin
1. Apply Online
You can go to www.access.wi.gov and complete an online application as shown above.
2. Apply Over the Phone
Call the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and apply for food stamps over the phone.
You can call the East Central consortium Call Center at 1-888-256-4563 and complete an application over the phone.
3. Print Out the Application and Mail/Fax it In.
You can download the food stamps application here. You can also call the number above and have an application mailed to you.
Once completed, you can return it by faxing it to 1-855-293-1822.
You can also drop it off your completed application or mail it to your local Department of Health Services office. To find an office near you, click here.
4. Apply in Person
You can also apply in person at a local Department of Health Services office. To find an office, click here. In Waupaca County, the office is at 811 Harding St., Waupaca.
For additional questions about the application process, you can call for help below:
Call Center 1-888-256-4563
Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Get information about programs and eligibility
- Ask questions about your case
- Report changes to your case
Fax verification of information and changes to 1-855-293-1822
What Happens After You Apply
After you apply for FoodShare benefits, you must complete an interview with a worker from your agency in order to get benefits.
The interview will be done by phone unless you request your interview in-person at the agency. You will get details about your FoodShare interview from your agency.
Before the interview, you will be asked for documentation to support information you provided as part of your SNAP application.
Documents You Need to Apply
Here are the documents you will need:
Proof of Identity
Proof of State Residency
Proof of Income
Proof of Expenses
Proof of Disability (if Applicable).
How will I Receive Benefits?
If you are approved for Wisconsin food stamps, your monthly benefit will be deposited monthly on an electronic benefits card (EBT Card) called the Wisconsin Quest Card.
It is a plastic debit card with your name, card number, and the Wisconsin QUEST logo on it. Your QUEST card can be used to buy groceries at stores that accept food stamps.
How Long Can I Be on Food Stamps?
There are no limits to how long you can get food stamps if you have children/dependents living in your household or are under age 18 or over age 50.
However, If you are a single, able-bodied adult without dependents in your home, you can only receive food stamps for 3 months in a 36-month period.
To qualify for food stamps in Wisconsin, you have to meet the eligibility requirements, especially the income and resources limits. Households with an elderly or disabled person have special requirements.
If you have any questions about applying for food stamps in Wisconsin, ask us in the comments section below.
If you have complaints about your experience in applying for food stamps in Wisconsin, we would like to hear from you. Tell us in the comments section below.