Farm Bill Changes to "Heat and Eat"
FoodShare households that have received a Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) payment in the last 12 months at their current residence and FoodShare households that have reported they pay a heat expense should see no change to their FoodShare benefits. Households who are not directly responsible for their heating bill could see a decrease in benefits. This is effective as of April 28, 2014.
Wisconsin is one of many states that provided a standard heating utility allowance to all FoodShare applicants and members so they receive the full heating standard utility credit, often referred to as the “Heat and Eat” policy. Wisconsin implemented this policy April 1, 2009.
In order to provide the standard heating utility credit to all FoodShare members, even those who did not have to pay a heating expense, Wisconsin’s LIHEAP program, the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP), issued a one-time $1 payment to FoodShare members that did not independently request home energy assistance from WHEAP.
Farm Bill Changes
The Farm Bill made changes to the Heat and Eat policy. In order to get the maximum standard utility credit, households must receive a LIHEAP payment of greater than $20. Since this minimum payment increased from $1 to more than $20 of heating assistance per year, Wisconsin will no longer pay the energy assistance payment. Therefore, the standard heat utility credit will not be applied automatically to all FoodShare households.
As noted above, in order to receive the standard heat utility credit, individuals applying for FoodShare benefits or completing their renewal should report the utility bills they are obligated to pay. If you live in subsidized housing, and your benefits have been reduced since April 2014, you may be eligible to have your FoodShare benefit amount restored. Learn more about subsidized housing and Heat and Eat →