Changes coming to FoodShare program: Adults with no children will be required to work for benefits

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MADISON (WITI) -- Major changes coming soon to Wisconsin's FoodShare program.

Starting April 1st, FoodShare recipients ages 18 to 49 (who do not have any minor children) will be required to work for their benefits.

The work requirement rules will affect members who have a renewal or apply for FoodShare benefits on and after April 1st, 2015.

If you are an adult age 18 through 49, there are four ways you can meet your work requirement:

  1. Work at least 80 hours each month.
  2. Take part in an allowable work program such as FSET, Wisconsin Works (W-2) or certain programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) at least 80 hours each month.
  3. Both work and take part in an allowable work program for a combined total of at least 80 hours each month.
  4. Take part in and meet the requirements of a workfare program.

Those who choose not to meet the work requirement will only get three months of FoodShare benefits in a 36-month (three-year) period until they meet the work requirement, become exempt, or the 36-month period has passed.

Able-bodied adults will be enrolled in FSET when their case comes up for annual review and will then be eligible to receive FoodShare for 90 days in any 36-month period. The 90 days do not need to be consecutive, but once reached, a FoodShare recipient’s case is automatically closed.

Opponents say cutting off benfits will increase visits to local food pantries and soup kitchens. Some are worried those resources will run dry.

"In April of 2016, we anticipate that our network of charities will begin to experience food shortage," Hunger Task Force Executive Director Sherrie Tussler said.

According to the Hunger Task Force, at least 66,000 people in Wisconsin will be affected by the changes.

83 comments

  • Brian Sleider

    If you are working full time and still need benefits, you meet the requirements of this program, so thats not really something to complain about.
    I am not sure how requiring some one to take work training or have a job in order to receive food stamps is a big deal.
    The rest of your rant is unrelated strawman nonsense.

  • Lisa

    Let the politicians do it on our wages, living check to check not knowing where it will all come from. NO state help!

    • Malinda Gonzalez

      Thank you….they wouldn’t be able to make it on our wages. Let walker ,that politician take a possible test he always looks stoned! Took all taxpayers $ to run for president just to drop out.

  • Lisa

    Don’t know your whole story Evelyn, but where I am I know you could get work, there are many programs out there available to help those with medical conditions establish and maintain a job. I know DVR is a wonderful program that helps many people. If a 62 year old lady on oxygen and in a wheel chair can get and maintain employment i am pretty sure most people can one way or another, even if it does require assistance to find and maintain that employment, be it a ride to work, some even get helpers at work which then makes 2 people employeed for one job, but they are working, trying. I will give the shirt off my back and my last morsel of food to any who honestly are putting forth the effort. Sadly I have seen to many who know how to work the system and make more not working than I do working, those are the folks that need to be cracked down on. Keep the honest man honest and boot the dishonest~

  • Alexis

    Actually not many people know this but they so offer daycare funds. I’m a full time nursing student and they go off my income for my child’s daycare. I don’t work so I barely pay anything. I got to chose from 8 daycares state ran which were daycare facilities or a in home daycare. It was a honest blessing Because of this I’ve been able to attend school and will be graduating in May with my RN!

  • Betty-Anne

    The answer to your question lies in non-traditional work. I am sure the program has an exception for the disabled. It also states that you could enroll in one of their work search programs. There are many people with severe disabilities that work because they choose to.

  • Betty-Anne

    They said you would be required to enroll in a state job search program. Then you would be qualified.

  • CS

    Reasonable clearly you have no idea the kind of hours and dedication a nursing student must put in. The spend countless hours in a classroom and then countless more working for free in a clinical rotation. The original poster stated they work part time and even full time at times. Nursing school is nothing like a regular degree in say management or teaching it requires a lot more hours and a lot more money for less credits. By the way I am not a nurse just happen to know several who put in way more work and hours for an associates nursing degree than I did for my bachelor’s total.

  • Lynne

    Why are we only finding out about this 2 weeks ahead of the changes, and from the media? The state should have been notifying people for months now.

  • Mr. Bob

    You know Evelyn there are no easy answers but it all starts with having some type of education, specialized training, or getting into the skilled trades. Without at least a high school diploma, a person is not going to be able to attain the type of job where they can support their family. And even in the case of obtaining a high school diploma, they may well be destined to work jobs that require less skills which in turn pay less money. I agree with Lisa who stated that there are many programs out there available to help those with medical conditions establish and maintain a job. Employers cannot discriminate against people who are handicapped and must make reasonable accommodations in the workplace for them. The first step, and it’s a big one, is to convince yourself that you are going to try to work instead of sitting at home and contemplating all the reasons why you think you can’t work.

  • Chad

    Robin, I hate to sound cold but why are you creating a family when you make minimum wage? Who did you think were going to pay for the kids? Why should I work hard, and have to pay for my family as well as yours? What are you doing for me? If you made better decisions you would not need food share. These programs were designed to give you a hand up to your feet, so you can help yourself. Not be your primary food source. The government should not have to support your family. If you choose to bare children then you should be prepared to fend for them. Minimum wage jobs are not designed to raise families on. Forcing businesses to pay you $15 an hour won’t change your life either. The cost of goods and services will raise right along with that wage leaving you in the same spot.

  • wow

    Cs..I am a RN.I got my degree by working three jobs. 32 hours a week on night shift as a can..so I could have benefits..and two waitress..jobs.I have four children.and went to school fulltime.graduated. with a 3.4 GPA. .no welfare no food stamps..loan free I worked really hard. My kids are now grown and all is well.and I am.working. a job i love. .I did it on my own a divorced mom of four. By the way I paid my ex child support…because I worked he didn’t so dont cry a river to me anyone !!!

  • Mr. Bob

    Robin, it’s not all about being born into a wealthy family. It is about picking yourself up by the bootstraps and doing something to improve your lot in life. Don’t just sit back and complain about the government restricting these programs. Go out and change your life by getting an education or other marketable job skills so you can obtain a better paying job. Stop making excuses and take action instead.

    • east sider

      But that sounds like hard work!!! I shouldn’t have to work hard in Obama’s America!!! I should get some of what other people have so I don’t have to work hard!!!

  • Sierra

    It’s very possible to work full time and go to school full time, it’s called time management. I did it and paid for school as I went and I just graduated last December completely debt/loan free. My last three semesters I took 18 credits and worked 40 hours a week and I made it out just fine. All I had to do was cut partying/drinking out of my life.

    • Christian W (@Towerr)

      80 hours a month isnt even close to full time. Thats what, 20 hours a week, 5 hours for 4 days. Totally doable. Just give up the partying/drinking . Hell when I was in High School I did that full time, and held down 2 part time jobs (both restaurant industry) to help pay for my own lunches and clothing and partial tuition since my parents were divorced.

  • Sabrina

    I completely agree w you Chaze. Being a full time nursing student in a BSN program is extremely time consuming. Don’t let anyone bring you down. If they haven’t received a BSN then they have no idea what us nursing students are talking about! Keep it up girl!

  • Margy

    In a way I think it’s good, and in another way not so good. It’s not always so black and white. I hear people’s stories all the time at the Food Pantry :/ I’m guessing this will definitely increase the number of people who need food.

    • Mr. Bob

      Yeah margy you hear their stories and do you believe everything you hear??? Those who tell their stories to you would never embellish their stories right?? These people will continue to hit the food pantries to take as much as they can and will then selectively use the food vouchers to buy the high end items at the store…..

  • just an old person

    Re: as a sr that has recently qualified for this program I plan to donate some soc serv time to repay the community that has offered. Responsibility requires!

  • Mike

    How many of us are a check away of being homeless. All the breaks the big time banks and financial institutions got after the crash of 2008 DID NOT trickle down to their customers. Anyhow that being said I would rather work for something I received no matter how small then to just sit back and take everything for free. God Bless those who REALLY need the help and are making the best of a bad situation.

    • Becky

      70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Even doctors and people in the great big houses that they can’t afford… and why? because most have credit cards, and car payments, and student loans.
      Imagine how much better life would be without those payments…. debt is a cancer to the American way of life.

    • Mr. Bob

      Speak for yourself Mike. I was between jobs for a little more than 10 months and did not lose my home. That’s because I knew how to save for that proverbial rainy day rather than pis_ing away every penny I earned. By the way, it is 2015, get over that BS excuse about your so-called crash of 2008. That is nearly 7 years ago. What have you done lately other than make excuses…..

  • Michelle

    It’s about time this was redone. Now for drug testing before and during benefits and I’ll be OK my tax dollars are so hard at work.

  • Karon

    ?? Umm it is 80 hours a month and your math is 60 hours a week. I think 80/month is a good idea. This is only for the people with no kids. Teaching responsibility for ones self b4 the kiddies start a coming. That’s only 5 hours a night M-F or (3) 8 hour days (24). There is alot of PT work out there thanks to the Affordable Care act-29 hours a week max @ a lot of places. Badger Care is also being opened up for adults with no kids. Between Badger Care/health.gov and the food stamps program folks should be ok. No fancy stuff just plain old get by & work yourself up. Don’t forget low income can also get you energy assistance, reduced rent, a cell phone, and in some cases transport to and form work. does anyone know the numbers for people on stamps vs the people putting in ? Just curious. It seems more $ out then coming in where I grocery shop.

  • ASTRALOPITHICUS AFRICANUS

    It’s about time the entitlement mentality gets a check. The biggest drag on our society is the slackers and liberal left welfare opportunist’s. I propose that every liberal prof in Madistan give 25% of their salary to accommodate their fruit of their labor. Work or starve and quit leeching off the hardworking bleeding taxpayers working like animals to feed your agenda.

  • Amanda Reed

    What food share program? I applied years ago when I was a full-time worker who had a hospital bill draining my food money. They offered me $16 a month in food share. $16!!! I declined because it wasn’t worth being in the system for that. Whoever is getting $189 a month I’d like to know.

    • Mr. Bob

      What food share program? I applied years ago when I was a full-time worker who had a hospital bill draining my food money. They offered me $16 a month in food share. $16!!! I declined because it wasn’t worth being in the system for that. Whoever is getting $189 a month I’d like to know.
      And why would you like to know Amanda? Because you still want to get your piece of the pie in the food share area???

  • Oscar

    Finally…………. But I can see this would be an excuse to have more babies for people that can’t afford to have them in the first place. I NEVER believed in “it takes a community to raise a child”. It takes a mother and a father to make PARENTS!

  • east sider

    Awww poor baby. Life is hard! I have to work to get ahead? I want handouts!!! Wah wah wah!!! No person in the history of tuime has had it as rough as me and succeeded without freebies!!!!

    Stupid lazy whiner.

    • Nora

      I would love to see you living away from home with 40 hours worth of school a week and try to hold a part time job while still passing your classes. It’s near impossible. Don’t complain about what other people go through until you experience it yourself.

    • bill

      Nora, please don’t argue with an idiot. Remember, it(yes, I’m calling “eastsider” it) is always right.

    • east sider

      Nora, you pathetic turd. I got my degree while working full-time. It took a year longer but I did with no help from mommy and daddy. And that was nothing compared to the single mom I worked with who did the same but also had to raise a son. Your problem is you are a soft little weak POS who would rather cry and whine about everyone else instead of focusing on your own life. You’ll be crying for handouts your entire life.

    • hard core maniac depressant

      Ohhh really no one works harder than you , i bet you had a spoiled life compared to the homeless unfortunate people walking the streets , there now were even , i judged you ….

  • Joy

    Maybe they should consider some smarter foodshare reform such as putting restrictions on soda and candy etc so that the truly in need families and these student nurses can continue benefits. I see people buying garbage with the quest card. .twelve packs of Mountain Dew …giant bags of Chips…my tax dollars are rotting some slobs teeth when it could be feeding a needy family!

    • Toya

      Completely agree. Last time this was introduced, the grocers association claaimed it was too difficult to implement and shot it down. But if WIC can do it, SNAP can too.

  • brandon

    Glad I just moved out of Wisconsin last month. Its like the state’s policies are becoming worse and worse
    by the day.

  • deb

    And how does this benefit the working people??? I’ll bet our taxes don’t go down. It’s just more money in the Fat Cats pockets……..just watch!! Can’t fix stupid!!

  • Susan

    I wonder if this will apply to those that get ssi. I know so many ppl that receive disability that really are physically ok to work that get food stamps . really unfair. I’m a single mother that works 2 jobs, I don’t get any assistance at all from the state. It has always not been like that. I used to receive assistance but I worked my butt off to not receive it because I do not believe it should be something to live off for the rest of my life. Yes I understand some people are not lucky to have a job. But a lot of people are taking advantage of public assistance. For instance, these girls are going out getting manicures without a job on food stamps but me, working two jobs don’t feel like manicures are needed because I rather by food.

    • Mr. Bob

      Susan, I think it is great that you don’t milk the system like so many others. You work two jobs to support your family which is great. However, it is not about luck in having a job. It is about pursuing higher education, a trade, or some other training program that allows people to acquire skills so they can be hired for a job in the first place.

  • ezridrkat

    Why should the taxpayers have to provide assistance to people who do not want to do anything for it in return? if I don’t work, I don’t eat. If you are able to work you should have to.

  • taxpayerjustlikeall

    Keep up the good work striving for better. We can’t fix the no it all individuals on this topic. However I will say this no worries those who think they will never need help thru karma will be requesting help. Benefits are their for a reason. Anybody on their high horse can Kick rocks because and truly look like fools. Human services are here because of the country we live in. Perhaps those that oppose it should go live in a communist country !!!

  • laura

    I would assume it is because if they have the same rules for parents with children, that thousands of children will be malnourished or even starve. They are the innocent victims in a situation when parents cannot, for whatever reason, provide a decent meal.

  • Toya

    Maybe if the SNAP program want so insistent on keeping policies that allow families to buy candy and toy filled Easter baskets, there would be enough funding for all.

  • shay

    Chaze, when you have the opportunity to work, but choose to rely on government assistance to make life easier for yourself, then you are part of the problem. You are CHOOSING to live beyond your means. There are plenty of educational options that do not require you to be in a classroom for so long. You CHOOSE this option, despite the fact that you do not have the finances to sustain such a lifestyle at this time. I am not sure why you feel others should financially support your chosen lifestyle. It is that arrogance and sense of entitlement that upsets thise that pay more into the system than they receive back.

    • lolsmack

      I was going to say the exact same thing. I agree with you 100%.

      Plus, 39 hours of class time and he can’t find time to study? Where do the other 16 hours of his day go? I’m sure he’s able to make all the local parties and have plenty of time to hang out with his friends.

  • lolsmack

    It is about time the government stops this abuse or welfare. These are NOT benefits…benefits are earned. This is welfare and nothing else but welfare. This welfare is unearned and unnecessary for people that do not have kids. If your life is oh so hard without kids then perhaps you need to grow up and start managing yourself better. Too many people take the easy way out, the welfare way, instead of making the sacrifices needed to live within their means.

    If you have a cell phone and you’re on welfare, you’re doing it wrong.

  • emily

    I honestly don’t know what to say to ignorance like this… I work, full time (30+ hours a week ). I also go to school part time (another 15 hours a week), I’m a single mom, and I pay my taxes. Now, I don’t live in Wisconsin… but are you trying to say that if I pay my taxes, go to school, work, and take care of my child, that I shouldn’t accept help that was hard to ask for in the first place? That I, by your reasoning, actually deserve BECAUSE I make sure I’m a contributing member of society?

    Some of the incredibly narrow-minded, misinformed and rude opinions on here hurt my head.

    • Mr. Bob

      Hey Emily, first of all 30+ hours per week is not really full time. 40+ hours a week is full time!! Again Emily it’s all about choices. You chose to have a family before you completed your education which would help you obtain a family supporting job. Obviously you stated you are single so apparently daddy is no where to be found as far as offering financial support and or assistance with taking care of your child. That was your choice also to select that guy to be the father of your baby. You just go through life making these poor choices and then conveniently make excuses after the fact as to why you are in this position in your life.

    • Mr. Bob

      Emily, I’m also going to give you a little math lesson here. There are 168 hours in a week (7 x 24 = 168). You say you work 30+ hours a week so I’ll round that up to 32 hours per week. 168 – 32 = 136 hours left. Next let’s subtract your school hours so 136 – 15 = 121 hours left. Next let’s subtract 6 hours per day for sleep. 121 – 42 = 79 hours left. That means on average you have 11.28 hours per day of free time. Surely of that 11.28 hours per day you could find a way to squeeze in a couple more hours of work per day which would allow you to actually work full time???

  • Mr. Bob

    Hey Tiff you have just proved my point. This is exactly what I was referring to when I said that the people I work with have done the math and figured out that it is better to work less and qualify for more benefits. That is a broken system.
    Your words exactly: I don’t think it puts them a head. It pretty much breaks even. I would rather work 35 hours a week and qualify for daycare and insurance. If I work fourth hours a week I end up having to work 55 hours just to be exactly where I was at. So is it better for me to work more and just get by or work enough to pay my rent and utilities and spend more time with my kids? Yes I maybe getting help but it’s also temporary. I’m taking classes part time so I can earn a degree, I could not handle 55 hours of work, school and family.
    You made choices not to pursue a degree earlier in your life that would have helped you obtain a higher paying job. You chose to have a family and all of the related costs and time constraints associated with being a mother. Those choices put you where you are today. You have adopted the typical attitude that somehow because you made these choices the world owes you something. Get to work full time and support your family that you chose to have!!!

  • Sharon

    I see absolutely no problem with this! If you are able to work, you should be willing to work. Everyone has issues in life, that does not mean you are entitled to free handouts! Get a job, show some effort!!!

    • erik

      Then they need to give them minimum wage in benefits. The max someone can get is 200. At 80 hours a month, that’s 2.50 an hour. Do you work for that? It’s just food, we can stop being cold hearted and give it to people. We give millions to Africa and other places but we complain about feeding our own!? Cmon now…

      • Sharon

        I agree with taking care of our own first! But to compare what we offer here—to what is offered to 3rd world countries is no comparison. Alot of that is donations through organizations and yes the government does contribute, too, which I do not completely agree with. This is making it better for those poorer countries, in another way such as showing them how to grow their own food and to be able to take care of themselves and create other opportunities-which is a never ending battle. Where we live has so many opportunities to grow and change our lives on our own without that kind of extreme help. People in those countries would consider the homeless people here very wealthy-compared to what they have.

  • erik

    So now they want to make people work for food. Ok, then do it right and pay them minimum wage for the job searching. At 80 hours a week, if a person gets 200 a month in food stamps, they’re getting 2.50 an hour. That’s slave wages. This is the conservative plan. Screw the poor, the people that can last afford it, and I’m sick of it. Let’s save the millionaire as much as we can but let’s make it as hard as we can on the people that can’t afford to EAT. IT’S FOOD, PEOPLE!! Get down off your high horse, not everyone has your abilities or your knowledge, so they can’t always do the things you’ve done! Some of you people are so close minded, you think you’re so smart but you couldn’t put yourself in someone else’s shoes to save your life! Idk, this stuff is just sick. This is America. We can afford to feed EVERYONE. While we send millions over to Africa and other countries, here we complain about having to pay to feed our own. It’s disgusting.

    • Sharon

      Its pretty obvious you haven’t been around the reality of food stamps. For most recipients, its not about making sure there is enough food to eat. For most, its just a way to get free fake money that frees up real money for other things.

    • Mr. Bob

      Erik my boy, spoken like a true liberal. Imagine that now they want to make people work for food. It’s called earning a living and taking care of your family numnuts. Real simple there Erik boy, you get a job, work the required hours for which you are paid a wage based upon your qualifications then you are paid a fair wage and you use those funds to pay for rent, food, etc… Yeah it’s food Erik boy and guess what that food costs money to purchase. They don’t just give it away for free at the stores. So you continue down your liberal path of just giving things away to people because this is America. When we reach the point where 75 – 80 % of the population is getting food and other things for free it may be hard to sustain your unrealistic vision, liberal… Now that’s disgusting!!!

    • Sharon

      Also, if you truly want people to have food that can keep them full and healthy, then you should be working to eliminate unhealthy foods from food stamp purchases. There is no justification possibke for allowing these benefits to be used to buy cakes, cookies, candy etc. Food stamps should be issued for specific items that are nutritious. Milk, cheese, meat, whole grain bread, juice, etc.

  • Sharon

    You are one of many who are trying their best to further your education. Others have done this without help–you find ways to do this, just like the ones before you did. How in the world did we get along without government help–prior to it being offered? What happened to hard work, patience and sacrifice to accomplish your goals? No one wants that anymore–so let’s take the easy way!

  • Mr. Bob

    Chaze, I’m also going to give you a little math lesson here. There are 168 hours in a week (7 x 24 = 168). You say you attend school 39-40 hours a week so I’ll round that up to 40 hours per week. 168 – 40 = 128 hours left. Next let’s subtract 6 hours per day for sleep. 128 – 42 = 86 hours left. That means on average you have 12.28 hours per day of free time. Surely of that 12.28 hours per day you could find a way to squeeze in a couple 4 – 6hours of work per day which would allow you to actually be productive rather than a leach???

  • scotty pippin

    So others that cant get wprk and have kids thay will lose there stamps so they will not be able to eat and in up sick or died

  • Pam

    Well I know how hard it can be, I worked 60 hrs a week, went to school full time, and graduated with honors. It took a bit longer than I wanted but I done it. I was tired all the time, but if you have the drive you can do it. I didn’t have help of any kind, and I don’t have the energy like a younger person as I did this when I was 50 so you the younger person has more energy than me……………….you, me, anyone can do it!!!!! without help.

  • eric

    Well this is just disgusting the republican’s are trying to kill the poor people and all the rich are supporting that action what kind of world do we live in where it is actually okay and applauded to try to kill people if you can look at this hole thing and not be ashamed to be part of the human race. If you care more about your money than helping anyone it don’t matter why than you are disgusting

  • Me

    i dont care what no body say Wiscousin is the only state trying to starve folks in for what this state is wrong regardless the fact they taking food out of folks mouth so that means it might get even more violent in this state cause folks going to start robbing folks just because they hungry have anybody thought about that now who’s going to feel safe now

  • voiceofreason

    do you have any idea how long it takes to get enrolled in badger care? literally years. and somehow i doubt that food share and daycare would provide you with more income than working an actual job. you know what? i think that you’re entirely full of it. i think that you like to listen to fox news and other right-wing talking heads and how there are so many “welfare queens” driving around in cadillacs when the real welfare we’re wasting tax money on is these stupid tax breaks of walker’s that virtually caused the entire budget problem that he is now trying to solve by cutting everything from schools to the social safety net programs like this. fascism is here my friend, and you could not be more pleased with it, could you?

  • Rudie

    With school and work living on my own my pay check goes to my bills I don’t make nearly enough to go without food share. Scott Walker should be doing drug tests for people on food share not taking from people who are going to college right out of high school and living on there own

  • D. Gall

    I can’t afford to help you get thru college, I have 3 children of my own. You need to figure out away to do this on your own and NOT depend on the taxpayer/government. I don’t owe you an education, food, etc! I take care of my own problems. Stop thinking you are intitled!

  • Marvin S.

    There is a female at 3044 S. 8th. St. in Milw. that scams the whole system . Her name is Patty Perleberg ( Heisler ) .She has no children under 18 . Two that are hers & three she lost complete custody of before any turned 8. She owes child support for all 5 all are in there Thirty’s now.

  • Marie Turner

    It’s Just food with or without kids people should be able to eat. what is wrong with y’all people? If it had been a dog or cat in need for food you would gave it your last. wake up people. jobs are needed but most of all where are the job far out 2 hours away from people homes spending what they worked for on gas just to get there. just keep it real y’all want all the $$$$ for y’all self like its a cure for your mess up ways

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