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FOOD SHARE

What is the Food Share Program?

The Food Share Program is a federal and state funded program designed to help low income households purchase the food they need for a healthy diet. It provides low income households with electronic benefits (called a QUEST card) they can use at most grocery stores to purchase food.

The modern Food Share Program has its origins in the Food Stamp Plan, which was created in the 1930's to assist needy families during the Great Depression. The modern program began as a pilot project back in 1961 and was authorized as a permanent program by Congress in 1964. The program expanded dramatically in 1974, when Congress required that all states offer food stamps to low income households. In 1997, the Food Stamp Program provided more than $19.5 billion in benefits to needy households. 


Who is eligible to receive Food Share?  

Households must meet certain eligibility requirements and provide proof of eligibility. To be eligible for food stamps you must: 

1. Be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident. The welfare reform act of 1996 ended food stamp eligibility for many immigrants, even those who are lawfully in the United States. The welfare reform act also created time limits on benefits for refugees and asylees.  However, later laws have changed some of these restrictions and limits.

2. Provide a Social Security number or apply for one.

3. Meet the income and resource requirements.

    Some of these requirements include:
    a. Households may have $2,000 in countable resources, such as a bank account. Households may have $3,000 if at least one person is age 60 or older. Certain resources are not counted, such as a home and lot. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) your benefits are not counted. 

    b. Vehicles are not counted if they meet one of the following criteria: are valued under $4,650, are used over 50% of the time for income producing purposes, are needed for long distance travel to work, are needed to transport a disabled household member or are needed to carry most of the household's fuel and water.

    c. The gross income requirements for persons over 60 are as follows:
 
PEOPLE IN HOUSEHOLD
GROSS MONTHLY INCOME LIMITS
1
1,596
2
2,140
3
2,682
4
3,226
5
3,770
6
4,314
7
4,858
8
5,402
each additional person
+544
 
HOW MUCH CAN I RECEIVE IN FOOD SHARE BENEFITS? 

In order to determine your monthly benefits, your net monthly income is multiplied by .3 and the result is subtracted from the maximum benefit amount for the household size. The calculations to determine net income amounts are somewhat complicated, and you need to know where your income comes from (work, Social Security, etc.), as well as the following expenses: Medical Expenses, Dependant Care Expense, Child Support (paid by your), rent/mortgage/mobile home lot rent, loan payments (including interest), insurance on your dwelling, second mortgage(s), property taxes, condominium fees, special assessments, and utilities you pay for. 
  
The maximum monthly benefit is as follows:
PEOPLE IN HOUSEHOLD
MAXIMUM MONTHLY BENEFIT
1
$152
2
278
3
399
4
506
5
601
6
722
7
798
8
912
each additional person
+94
 
Example: 
  
The Smiths have a net monthly income of $556 (after subtracting a prorated portion of their monthly expenses) 
and there are 4 people in the household. 

Multiply net income by .3 

$556 x .3 = 166.80 (round up to $167)  

Subtract $167 from the maximum benefit for the household size: 

$506 - 167 = $339 

$339 is the amount of Food Share the Smiths are eligible to receive. 

You may be eligible to receive more or less benefits depending upon your individual circumstances. 


HOW DO I APPLY FOR FOOD SHARE?

If you believe you are eligible for Food Share and would like to apply, contact the Milwaukee County Department on Aging at 289-6874. 


FOOD STAMP RIGHTS

If you are applying for or receiving Food Share benefits, you have important rights. You have the right to: 

1. Receive an application when you ask for it. 

2. Turn in your application the same day you receive it. 

3. Receive food stamps (or be notified that you are not eligible for the program) within 30 days after you turn in your application. 

4. Receive food stamps within a few days if you are eligible and have little or no money. 

5 Have a fair hearing if you disagree with any action taken on your case. 

If you believe any of your rights to receive Food Share have been violated, contact SeniorLAW at 278-1222 during intake hours. 

For more information on the Food Share Program visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture Website at: http://www.usda.gov. 
  



 
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