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Food Stamps

The food stamp program is a federal program that helps people with low income to purchase food. Food stamps come on a plastic card that you use at the grocery store just like a credit or bank debit card. Benefits are added to your card monthly.

In order to receive food stamps in you must complete a food stamp application and eligibility interview. In Milwaukee County, apply at the Milwaukee County Department of Human Services at:   1220 West Vliet Street   or   1673 S. 9th Street.   In other counties, contact the County Department of Social Services.   A complete list of agencies is available on the internet at http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/em/imagencies/index.htm.

If you are elderly or disabled, you may request that an application be mailed to you by calling (414) 289-6101.

It is also possible to apply on-line with a computer at https://access.wisconsin.gov/access/ .

The amount of food stamps you will receive each month is based on the number of people in your food stamp group, the groupís income, shelter costs and certain deductions.

Household: People who live together, buy food and prepare meals together are grouped as a "household". Husbands and wives, and in most cases, their children under age 22 who live together must be in one household.

Income: You may qualify for food stamps if your income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. In 2006, 200% of the federal poverty level is: $1,945 for family of one, $2,622 for a family of 2, $3,298 for a family of 3, $3,975 for a family of 4 and $4,652 for a family of 5.

If you are found eligible for benefits you will be assigned a case worker who will be responsible for managing your case and issuing your benefits.

Reporting Changes: For food stamp benefits, you are only required to report changes to your worker if your total monthly gross household income exceeds 130% of the federal poverty level for your household size. [ Note: There are different reporting rules for food units that have only elderly, blind and/or disabled members who are not working. The following rules do not pertain to these households. For information on rules for non-working elderly, blind and /or disabled households call Milwaukee County at (414) 289-6000 or Legal Action at (414) 278-7722.]

Total gross income means all household income, such as earnings from a job, child support, unemployment compensation, Social Security, W-2 and SSI payments. This is income before deductions such as taxes and withholdings.

Use the following chart to determine your income reporting limit for 2006:

HOUSEHOLD SIZES WITH MONTHLY GROSS INCOMES ABOVE THESE AMOUNTS MUST REPORT CHANGES IN INCOME
1: $1,264 2: $1,704 3: $2,144
4: $2,584 5: $3,024 6: $3,463
7: $3,903 8: $4,343 9: $4,783

If your total household income goes above the amount on the chart which corresponds to your household size, you must report the change by the 10th of the next month.

In Milwaukee, you can contact Milwaukee County Customer Service at 289-6000 or the walk-in verification unit located at 1220 West Vliet Street.

Note: There are different reporting requirements for W-2, child care and medical assistance that you will need to comply with if you receive those benefits.

Reviews: Food Stamp households are required to meet with their case worker on a periodic basis to update the information about their case. This is called a review. For most households reviews will be scheduled every 12 months.

Food Stamp households that include a migrant or seasonal farm worker and households that are homeless will have reviews every 6 months.

SMIRFS: Food Stamp households will be required to submit an income report form known as a SMIRF every six months. This report will be mailed to you by your county food stamp agency. It will ask you to report and verify your income and any changes since your last food stamp review.

Food Stamp households that include only elderly, blind or disabled persons without any earned income will not be required to complete SMIRFS.

For more information about food stamps or for information about food pantries and meal programs available to you, call "211 Milwaukee" at 773-0211. If you are denied food stamps and believe you are eligible for assistance contact Legal Action at (414) 278-7722 or toll free at (888) 278-0633.

Prepared by Legal Action of Wisconsin, June 2006





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