Do you qualify for SNAP Food Stamps?

In order to receive SNAP Food Stamps you need to apply, you can get started with how to apply on this website. You can also go to your local SNAP office to receive assistance with your application.

Determining your eligibility for this program will depend on many factors. These include your gross income, your resources and it will depend on the number of people in your household. Your residency and citizenship status will also determine qualification.

U.S. citizens are eligible, but many legal aliens qualify for SNAP Food Stamps too. Those members of a household that are eligible to receive benefits will not be affected by any members of your household that cannot receive benefits. If you would like additional information about immigrant SNAP eligibility please see this website.

Screening for SNAP Food Stamps

Some people would like to prescreen their eligibility prior to apply for SNAP benefits. There are a few ways to do this. Please note, pre-screening is NOT an application, you must separately apply to receive benefits. The USDA provides an online pre-screening tool to help determine if you are eligible for benefits. This tool will also give an estimate of the amount of benefit you may receive. You can access the USDA pre-screening tool here.

If you need assistance in using the USDA's pre-screening tool, a tutorial is available here.

Many states vary on food stamp eligibility criteria, and the only way to determine if you qualify is to find out your state's specific eligibility criteria. Please view the following 'Just the Facts' video about qualifying for SNAP Food Stamps.

Wisconsin Eligibility Requirements

While the Foodshare program is administered by the Department of Health Services, the criteria for eligibility still depends on your local social services agency or county/tribal government workers.

Basic eligibility requirements include:

  • Your household income is at or below the monthly program limit
  • You are a Wisconsin resident
  • You are a United States citizen or qualifying immigrant
  • You should not live in an institution that already serves food to its residents, such as a nursing home
  • You should be cooperative in providing the necessary information to determine your eligibility for the program

Household income and family size are very important factors in determining your eligibility for the Foodshare program. The table available by clicking here presents a list of monthly income limits and number of household members with which your income and household size is compared. You will get a certain amount of credits depending on how your local agency officer assesses your monthly income and family size compared to these limits.

Work Requirements

All of the people in your household who will receive benefits from the Foodshare program must be registered in the Foodshare Employment and Training (FSET) program except for the following:

  • Individuals younger than 16 years old or older than 60 years old
  • Individuals physically and mentally unfit for employment
  • Household members taking care of incapacitated persons or children under six years old
  • Persons receiving unemployment compensation
  • Persons enrolled in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
  • Persons working a minimum of 30 hours a week or receiving an income equivalent to 30 hours a week
  • Students enrolled at least half-time in a recognized learning institution

In addition, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) aged 18-50 years old are also required to work for 20 or more hours per week in order to be eligible for the Foodshares program. Failure to meet the minimum of 20 hours of work for three or more months disqualifies the applicant from receiving benefits. Foodshare eligibility can only be regained if the applicant works for 80 or more hours within a 30-day period.

ABAWDs are exempted from the above work requirement under the following conditions:

  • Medically unfit for employment
  • Pregnancy
  • Responsible for a dependent child
  • He/she resides in an area with a 10% unemployment rate or does not have enough jobs to provide employment to its residents

Student Eligibility

Students aged 18-49 years old currently enrolled at least half-time in a recognized institution of higher education (e.g. university, technical college, etc.) are generally disqualified from Foodshare benefits. In order to be eligible, at least one of the following criteria must be met:

  • Works a minimum of 20 hours a week
  • Responsible for the care of a child under 6 years old (or 6-11 years old if it is determined that no adequate child care is available)
  • Single parent enrolled full-time and is responsible for the care of a child under 12 years old
  • Enrolled in the Wisconsin Works (W2) program
  • Participates in a work-study program funded by the state or the federal government
  • Participated in an on-the-job training program
  • Physically or mentally fit for unemployment
  • Assigned to education as part of an authorized employment or training program

Natural Disasters

Residents affected by natural disasters (e.g. tornadoes, floods, etc.) are also eligible to apply for Foodshare benefits. In this case, a shorter and simpler application process through your local agency officer is used in order for you to get your benefits quickly. Similarly, food bought using the QUEST card that were destroyed during these disasters can also be replaced by Foodshare.