Wisconsin SNAP food benefits are distributed by the FoodShare program to low-income residents who need financial assistance to purchase food so they can maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle. Food stamps benefits that are issued to qualifying program applicants can only be used to purchase approved food items at authorized retailers in the state. Before attempting to spend SNAP benefits in WI, beneficiaries should be familiar with the items they can purchase and participating local retailers. The calculation of benefits for food stamps program may be different between program beneficiaries because the amount is determined by specific financial and household characteristics given on the application and in an interview with a Department of Health Services representative. The Wisconsin benefit card food stamp is the only way for program beneficiaries to spend their allotted benefits, so learning how to use the card and check the balance is important for approved applicants. To learn more about approved food items that can be purchased with food stamp benefits, using the EBT benefit card and how benefit amounts are determined, read the following information.
Note: Download our guide to SNAP for more information on how to get benefits.
Learn About Food items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin SNAP food stamp program offers a list of approved food items that can be purchased with the benefit EBT card. The approved food items can only be bought with SNAP food stamps at local retailers, farmer’s markets or meal delivery services that accept the EBT as payment. The following food categories contain approved food items that can be bought using the WI food stamp benefit card:
- Dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables
- Seeds and plants that produce food
Live seafood such as shrimp or lobster can also be purchased with SNAP benefits in Wisconsin. ‘Junk food’ like chips, cookies, candy and soft drinks are not off-limits for purchase with food stamps benefits, but beneficiaries are encouraged to use their monthly benefit allotment to purchase wholesome and nutritious foods that will contribute to the wellbeing and longevity of family members.
Items You Cannot Buy With Wisconsin SNAP Benefits
The WI food stamps benefits program offers a list of items that cannot be purchased using the benefit card because they do not contribute to a beneficiary’s nutrition and food purchasing power. Unapproved items that cannot be bought with food stamp SNAP benefits include:
- Alcohol or tobacco items
- Non-food items, including household products, pet supplies or toiletries
- Vitamins, medications or supplements
- Hot foods
- Foods pre-prepared
The benefit card food stamp cannot be used to pay deposit fees on cans or bottles. Food stamp benefits can only be used at group meal sites if the sites are authorized to accept the EBT benefit card. While authorized retailers may stock their shelves with unapproved items, they cannot be bought using the Wisconsin food stamp benefit card, so beneficiaries will need to come out of pocket to purchase the items, if desired.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Wisconsin SNAP Benefits After Enrollment?
A Department of Health Services representative must determine if a Wisconsin SNAP food benefits applicant is eligible before granting program enrollment. The representative will analyze the information provided on the application and during the interview to decide if the applicant qualifies for food stamp benefits. WI food stamp program applicants who are quick to thoroughly complete an application, attend an interview in person or by phone and present all requested documentation will generally receive notification of their program statuses quickly. However, applicants who must reschedule their food stamps benefit interviews or are slow to present requested documentation may not see notifications in the mail until up to 30 days after applying for program benefits.
A Wisconsin food stamps program benefits applicant who proves he or she is experiencing an extremely low income, has little to no assets and is urgently in need of financial assistance for food may be eligible for expedited benefits. Expedited SNAP food stamps are issued to a qualifying applicant within seven days of applying. All other application steps must be completed for the benefits to continue to be issued to the beneficiary after the first payment.
Wisconsin EBT Card Overview
The Wisconsin food stamp benefit card is also referred to as a Quest card and is the only way for beneficiaries to access their benefits. The benefit card food stamp works like a debit card and can be used at a credit card machine by choosing ‘EBT’ as the payment type and entering the personal identification number (PIN) associated with the card. WI food stamp benefits are automatically deducted from the beneficiary’s account with each transaction. No cash or change can be requested with the benefits for food stamps program Wisconsin EBT card. Monthly SNAP benefit amounts are deposited into the qualifying beneficiary’s account and no fees are associated with the card. To check the last three months of transactions or confirm the balance of the EBT food stamps card account, a beneficiary can keep his or her receipts from authorized retailers or create an online account on the customer portal.
Learn About Wisconsin SNAP Benefit Amounts
The amount of Wisconsin food stamps benefits an approved applicant receives monthly is determined by the information provided throughout the application process. A Department of Health Services representative uses information the applicant gave on the income, expenses and household members to calculate the monthly SNAP benefits amount. A higher amount of food stamps will be allotted to an approved applicant with low earned income, high monthly expenses and many household members. A lower amount of monthly SNAP food stamp benefits is awarded to a household with a higher income, fewer family member and less monthly expenses. If household finances change or the number of members living together fluctuates, the SNAP food benefits recipient will need to notify the Department of Health Services to ensure each monthly benefit payment is correctly issued. WI benefits for food stamps program payments should be accurate to avoid the responsibility of repaying an incorrect benefit payment.