Frequently Asked Questions
General FoodShare/QUEST Card Questions
+ What is FoodShare/the QUEST card?
FoodShare is a government program that helps people stretch their budgets by providing money each month to help with buying food. Everyone enrolled in FoodShare receives a QUEST card, which is a debit-like card that is automatically loaded every month with your FoodShare benefits. You can use the QUEST card at most grocery stores and some farmers' market. It can also be used to pay for Meals on Wheels and qualified Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs!
+ What is the application process for FoodShare?
Call the FoodShare Helpline Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 1-877-366-3635 or fill out the Contact Us form on this page. A friendly staff member will ask you a few questions about your income and expenses to determine if you might be eligible. If it looks like you might be eligible, they will set up a meeting with a FoodShare Outreach Specialist, either in person or over the phone. The Outreach Specialist will help you fill out the application and answer your questions about the program. Your application and verification documents will be sent to your local agency, who usually needs 30 days to process your application. You will complete a simple telephone interview with a caseworker so they can ask any follow-up questions. Shortly after that, you will receive a Notice of Decision in the mail to let you know if you were approved for benefits. If you are approved, your Notice of Decision will let you know how much you will receive on the QUEST card each month.
+ How long does it take to get my QUEST card after I apply?
If you have received your Notice of Decision, the QUEST card usually arrives in the mail a few days later. If you were enrolled in FoodShare before, your benefits are deposited on your old card.
+ What happens if I lose my QUEST card? How do I find my QUEST Card balance?
If you lost your QUEST card or need to know your balance, call 1-877-415-5164. Your balance will also be shown at the bottom of the receipt when you use your QUEST card.
+ Does everyone who qualifies know about FoodShare?
No, the USDA estimates that nearly 1 in 5 Wisconsin residents are likely eligible for FoodShare/the QUEST card (formerly known as food stamps), but either don't know about it or are hesitant to sign up for it.
+ Who pays for FoodShare?
FoodShare is a benefit, like Social Security or unemployment, that we all pay for through state and federal tax dollars. FoodShare is Wisconsin's name for the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Wisconsin distributes FoodShare benefits on the QUEST card.
+ Are there health benefits to FoodShare?
FoodShare and the QUEST card help stretch your food budget, which means you have more money to buy healthier foods. Additionally, qualifying for FoodShare makes you eligible for free nutrition education classes. Contact your local University of Wisconsin-Extension office to sign up.
+ Are FoodShare and the QUEST card the same thing?
Yes! The QUEST card is how FoodShare benefits are distributed.
+ My FoodShare benefit is $20 per month. Is that worth it?
Yes! $20 a month equals $240 a year. Would you turn down $240 to help pay for gas, medications or other necessities? FoodShare benefits help free up your budget to pay for other bills while ensuring that you have enough to put nutritious food on the table. If you don't use all of your FoodShare benefits each month, they will accumulate on the QUEST card for up to one year. Everyone who is eligible and applies will receive benefits.
+ How do FoodShare and the QUEST card impact my community?
Using your QUEST card doesn't just help you stretch your budget when times get tough - it helps your community, too! The USDA estimates that every $5 of new FoodShare benefits that generates about $9 of community spending.
FoodShare supports farmers, too. Benefits can be used at some farmers' markets and for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs through participating farmers. Additionally, every $1 billion of retail food demand from FoodShare/SNAP participants generates about 3,000 farm jobs.
+ I own a car and have a savings account. Can I still qualify?
Yes, you may qualify for FoodShare/the QUEST card even if you have assets, including a car, a savings account, retirement savings, or own a house. Eligibility is based on income and certain expenses.
+ I just got a promotion and earn just under $10 an hour. Do I qualify even though things are going better?
Yes, you may qualify if you are earning about $10 an hour. Visit our Eligibility page to learn more, then give us a call at 1-877-366-3635 or fill out the Contact Us form on this page.
+ I am the single mother of two children and earn $3,000 a month. Can I qualify?
Yes, the first step is to check if you meet the gross income limit for a family of three. Visit our Eligibility page to learn more, then give us a call at 1-877-366-3635 or fill out the Contact Us form on this page.
+ I am the father of three children and earn $40,000 a year. Could I qualify?
Yes, a family of four must first meet a gross monthly income limit of $3,726. Visit our Eligibility page to learn more, then give us a call at 1-877-366-3635 or fill out the Contact Us form on this page.
+ My wife lost her job and is receiving unemployment benefits. Can we still qualify for FoodShare and the QUEST card?
Yes, unemployment compensation is treated as income. As long as your family meets income limits, you might be eligible for FoodShare.
+ I am disabled and receive disability payments. Can I qualify?
Yes, disability payments are treatment as income. As long as your household meets income limits, you might be eligible for FoodShare.
+ I live with 3 other people, but we pay for and prepare food separately. Would we apply together?
If you do not pay for and prepare food with other members of your household, you may apply for FoodShare on your own. If you are under the age of 22 and live with your parents, you cannot apply for FoodShare on your own. See the FAQ below for more information.
+ I live with my parents. Can I qualify, and will I need to include my parents' income on my application?
If you are under the age of 22 and live with your parents, you cannot apply for FoodShare on your own, even if you do not purchase and prepare meals with your parents. You will need to apply as a household with your parents.
If you are 22 or older, you may apply for FoodShare on your own as long as you do not purchase and prepare meals with other members of the household.
Check out our Eligibility page for more information on income guidelines.
+ I am a student. Can I qualify?
Students have slightly more complicated eligibility requirements in addition to the income guidelines. Generally, students (ages 18 to 49) enrolled half-time or more must meet one of the following requirements to be eligible:
- Enrolled in a technical college that will result in obtaining a certificate or diploma in two years or less, and in obtaining a certificate or diploma that will lead to employment that is in demand (this does NOT include a liberal arts transfer program),
- Employed at least 20 hours a week,
- Participating in a state or federal work-study program,
- Caring for a child under age 6,
- Caring for a child under age 12 who does not have adequate child care,
- A single parent who is enrolled in college on a full-time basis and who is caring for a child under age 12,
- Receiving W-2 payments or enrolled in W-2 employment,
- Physically or mentally unfit for gainful employment, or
- Participating in an on-the-job training program by an employer.
Students should call the FoodShare Helpline at 1-877-366-3635 or fill out the Contact Us form on this page to speak with a friendly staff member about their potential eligibility.
+ I am not a citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least 5 years, but my children are citizens. Can our family qualify?
Even if you do not meet the citizenship or legal permanent resident status requirement, your children may still qualify for FoodShare. Call the FoodShare Helpline at 1-877-366-3635 or fill out the Contact Us form on this page to speak with our friendly staff about your family's potential eligibility.
+ I get SNAP benefits in a different state but will be moving to Wisconsin soon. How can I get FoodShare in Wisconsin?
You will need to cancel your benefits in your home state after you move to Wisconsin. Contact your caseworker in your home state for more information about canceling your benefits. After you cancel your benefits, you will need to apply for FoodShare in Wisconsin. Call the FoodShare Helpline at 1-877-366-3635 or fill out the Contact Us form on this page to get help applying.