FoodShare, Wisconsin's version of SNAP, is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and helps boost the food budget of low-income households. Benefits are distributed to FoodShare accounts according to the same monthly schedule, including December 2022.
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The Wisconsin QUEST card looks like a plastic debit card and has your name, card number and the QUEST logo. The QUEST card can be used to pay for food at stores and some farmers' markets. It can also be used anywhere that accepts EBT payments online.
FoodShare benefits can be used to purchase the following food items:
Fruits and vegetables
Meat, poultry and fish
Breads and cereals
Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.
Among the items you can't buy with FoodShare are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. In Wisconsin, you also can't use your benefits to purchase hot meals.
To find out where you can use your FoodShare benefits, check the U.S. Department of Agriculture's SNAP Retailer Locator. Click "Enter the SNAP Retailer Locator" and enter your address. For a list of markets that accept FoodShare benefits, visit here.
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According to the Wisconsin DHS, your family may be able to get benefits if you don't earn enough money to pay for basic necessities. If your family's gross monthly income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, then your household passes the gross income test. However, there are different income limits for people who are at least 60 years old, disabled and not able to buy and prepare their own food.
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SNAP benefits also come with other perks that go beyond purchasing food. Here are a few additional bargains you can get with your Wisconsin QUEST card:
Amazon Prime discount: Recipients of SNAP and SNAP EBT Cash benefits (or Medicaid benefits) can qualify to save 50% off their Prime membership. To see if you qualify, visit amazon.com/prime/qualify.
Museum discounts: Those receiving SNAP benefits can get free or reduced admission to hundreds of museums and arts groups throughout the U.S., including through the Museums for All program.
Farmer's markets: You can also use your SNAP EBT at participating farmers' markets to purchase fresh produce. The USDA's Food Nutrition Service (FNS) provides a monthly list of the names and locations of markets across the country that are currently authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
Internet and phone: Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), eligible FoodShare recipients in Wisconsin could receive up to a $30 per month discount on internet service and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. SNAP households may also qualify for free or low-cost landline or cell phone service through the Federal Lifeline Program. Consult with your service provider for more information.
Home energy assistance: Anyone receiving FoodShare benefits may also qualify for home energy assistance. Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) - which is funded by the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Public Benefits (PB) program - assists eligible households with their heating and electric bills.
To apply for the FoodShare program, you can apply online through the ACCESS website, call your local agency, visit your agency or fill out a paper application.
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Wisconsin FoodShare benefits are sent out over the first 15 days of every month, based on the eighth digit of your Social Security number. Here is the deposit schedule for December 2022:
All SNAP recipients, including those receiving FoodShare benefits in Wisconsin, will get a financial boost thanks to a major cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for fiscal year 2023. The COLA kicked in starting Oct. 1, 2022, and will hike the maximum monthly benefit by 12.5%.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Food Stamps Schedule: Wisconsin FoodShare Benefits for December 2022 and How To Use SNAP for Discounts