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Learn About Wisconsin Food Stamps Requirements

You may meet food stamps eligibility in Wisconsin if you have a low income and meet other basic requirements. Overall, these food stamp qualifications are determined by the state Department of Health Services (DHS). This benefit, which is known at the federal level as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is officially called FoodShare in Wisconsin.

If you are unsure about your WI SNAP eligibility but need help affording groceries, it is still recommended that you follow the application steps for benefits. The DHS will make an official determination about whether or not you qualify. A SNAP calculator can be a useful tool for figuring out your basic eligibility as well. Read below to learn how to qualify for food stamps and discover how to keep your eligibility in the future.

Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Wisconsin

In order to qualify for food stamps in Wisconsin, you must be in the U.S. legally. This program is only open to U.S. citizens and qualified legal residents. You can typically qualify for a lower amount of assistance if you live in a household with a mix of legal and non-legal residents. In such cases, the amount of benefits you receive is based on the number of people in a household who are in the U.S. legally.

When determining your SNAP eligibility, keep in mind that a household is defined as any group of people who live together and share meals. Household members do not need to be related to one another.

If there are people in your household who do not have food stamps eligibility based on their citizenship status, it is important to be aware that you still need to count their income and resources. This is because ineligible people can contribute to your household income even if they cannot qualify for assistance themselves. This may affect your overall eligibility.

Regardless of your citizenship, you must be a resident of Wisconsin in order to get benefits from the DHS. Wisconsin SNAP eligibility is reserved for residents of the state. If you meet the other basic requirements but are not a resident, you may consider applying for assistance in your home state. Each state runs a similar food assistance program.

What are the SNAP income guidelines in Wisconsin?

Under the food stamp income guidelines, you usually need to meet a test for gross and net income. Gross income is what you earn before any taxes or deductions are taken out. Net income, on the other hand, is what you have left over after accounting for deductions and taxes.

The SNAP guidelines state that your gross income must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level to pass the gross income test. Furthermore, your net income must be at or below 100 percent of the poverty level.

The income guidelines vary slightly if you live in an elderly or disabled household. In such cases, the income requirements for food stamps usually allow you to qualify just by passing the net income test.

When considering the SNAP income guidelines 2019, it helps to be aware that nearly all sources of income are counted. It is necessary to include earned and unearned income from sources such as the following:

  • Wages from your job.
  • Pension payments.
  • Unemployment compensation.
  • Other government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Money you receive from other sources.

Your Wisconsin SNAP eligibility also depends on the amount of resources you have. A resource is something with value such as a bank account balance, cash on hand, investments, stocks, bonds and other similar things.

You do not generally need to count things such as your house, car, personal possessions or household goods. Learn everything else you need to know about the income and resource requirements by downloading our free guide.

Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Wisconsin

In order to qualify for food stamps, you may also need to meet a few other requirements. First, you must have a Social Security Number (SSN) before you can get benefits. You may temporarily have SNAP eligibility if you have applied for an SSN but are waiting for it to be assigned. If someone in your household does not have an SSN and does not qualify for one, you can still get benefits for everyone else who is eligible.

Second, you may need to register for work before you can get benefits. You can only qualify for food stamps for a short period of time if you do not meet the work requirements that apply to you. Under the FoodShare program, you must register for work if you are between 18 and 59 years of age and wish to receive benefits for an extended period of time. The requirements may not apply if you are disabled, pregnant or raising dependent children.

Registering for work means that you agree to meet certain employment expectations. This can include doing any of the following:

  • Participating in employment training.
  • Taking reasonable job offers that you receive.
  • Maintaining the required number of work hours per week.
  • Not quitting or reducing your hours without good cause.

You might already have food stamps eligibility if you are currently employed and work enough hours. If you are currently unemployed, you can still get benefits as long as you agree to meet the work requirements. Learn more about these requirements by downloading our free guide.

How do you maintain your food stamps in Wisconsin?

The process of meeting SNAP eligibility in Wisconsin may not always be the same. Changes to your income, household size or other qualifications may affect the amount of benefits you can get. In some cases, you can also lose your eligibility altogether if you no longer meet the requirements.

The most important part of maintaining your food stamps qualifications is to follow the program rules. For example, certain changes must be reported to the DHS, regardless of whether it changes your eligibility. You can also put your eligibility at risk if you commit any of the following program violations:

  • Buying, selling or trading benefits.
  • Intentionally misusing your benefits.
  • Altering information on your FoodShare materials or cards.
  • Providing false details on any application materials.