The Wisconsin Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to help low-income households afford their groceries each month. This program, which used to be known as food stamps, makes it easier for beneficiaries to buy fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, grains and other healthy foods.
In order to participate in the SNAP program, you must meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). If approved, you will receive an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that works like a debit card to buy food. You can continue to receive benefits as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. However, you must renew your benefits and recertify your information periodically in order to continue getting them. Below, lean more about SNAP food stamps and discover how you can get benefits.
Note: In this state, the food stamps program is officially known as “FoodShare Wisconsin.” The FoodShare program is the same as SNAP.
Learn About Wisconsin Food Stamps Requirements
Your food stamps eligibility may vary based on your income, resources, age, work status and disability status. No matter what, you must meet all of these criteria to be approved:
- Be a U.S. citizen or a legally-present alien.
- Be a resident of Wisconsin.
- Have a Social Security number (SSN) or prove that you have applied for one.
If you meet these basic food stamp qualifications in Wisconsin, your income and resources also need to fall within with the program requirements. The SNAP income guidelines specify that you must have a low income and a limited amount of resources. Income is anything you earn from doing work or other services. A resource includes things like cash, bank accounts, savings bonds, stocks and other assets. Your home, personal belongings and vehicles are not generally counted as resources.
Keep in mind that the food stamp income guidelines are relative to your household size and composition. Generally speaking, the larger your family, the more income you can have. Similarly, you can have a slightly higher level of income and resources if you have a disabled or elderly household.
Based on your age, your WI SNAP eligibility may depend on whether or not you are working. If you are an able-bodied adult between 18 and 59 years of age, you must register to work. This means that you agree to accept reasonable job offers, participate in employment training or maintain a certain number of work hours per week if you are already employed. The rules may differ if you have dependents or are pregnant.
Learn more about meeting all the necessary requirements by getting our free guide.
Your food stamps eligibility is subject to change over time. If you meet the food stamp qualifications now, you may lose your eligibility for various reasons, such as your income exceeding the program limits. You can also lose your ability to receive benefits if you commit certain program violations.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Wisconsin
It is easy to apply for food stamps online, by mail, over the phone or in person. If you wish to apply online, you must use the ACCESS website provided by the DHS. This portal is used to apply for many different types of benefits. Simply select the correct application, fill in your information and submit your form.
If you want to apply for food stamps using a paper form, you may download and print an application from the DHS website. You can also contact your local DHS income maintenance office to obtain a copy of the application. The paper form includes the same information as the online version. If you prefer to complete your entire application over the phone, you may do so by calling your local income maintenance office.
At a minimum, you must provide your name, address and signature for your food stamp application to be filed. If you do not have the other information, but need benefits in the near future, you can submit an application that only contains these basic details. Keep in mind that you will need to provide all of the required information at a later date in order to receive benefits.
The date that you submit your application is used to determine when your benefits start if you are approved. For this reason, it is recommended that you apply for benefits as soon as you know you need help.
Once your food stamp application is submitted, you need to undergo an interview in person or over the phone. Interviews are used to verify your information and obtain any missing details.
Learn About SNAP Benefits in Wisconsin
Your Wisconsin food stamp benefits will begin within one month if you are approved. In emergency situations, it is possible to get benefits in as little as one week. The DHS will determine whether you are qualified for emergency assistance based on the details in your application.
You will receive a notification about whether or not you are approved. If you are denied, you have the right to appeal the decision.
Approved applicants will receive an EBT card. In Wisconsin, this card is officially known as a QUEST card. These cards are accepted at stores displaying the QUEST logo. It is also possible to use SNAP benefits at certain farmers’ markets.
SNAP food benefits cannot be used to buy alcohol, tobacco, non-food items or hot foods. Furthermore, you cannot use food stamp benefits to withdraw cash from an ATM or get cash back with a purchase.
Learn everything else you need to know about using benefits in our free guide.
You can use SNAP to purchase a wide variety of foods that can be cooked and eaten at home. Examples of approved food items include:
- Meat, fish and eggs.
- Dairy products.
- Non-dairy alternatives.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Nuts, seeds, bread and grains.
It is also possible to use SNAP food benefits in Wisconsin to buy seeds and plants to grow at home. Furthermore, you are allowed to purchase most snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages. SNAP can also be used to buy ingredients such as flour, sugar or spices that you can cook or bake with.
Name: Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Phone Number: (608) 266-1865
Address: 1 West Wilson Street, Madison, WI 53703
Secretary: Karen Timberlake
Last Updated: February 27, 2023