13% of FoodShare Recipients Drop Out After Work Requirements Imposed

MacIver News Service | February 12, 2015

[Racine, Wisc…] As of November 2014, 709 individuals in Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties have lost FoodShare eligibility because they did not fulfill new work requirements.

Approximately 5,400 individuals in the tri-county area are subject to the requirement, which started as a pilot program last year.

Adults ages 18 to 49 who are able to work, are not pregnant or disabled, and have no minor children living at home must meet a work requirement in order to be eligible for FoodShare benefits.

The pilot began in the tri-county region on July 1, 2014 and will be implemented in the rest of state starting April 1, 2015, according to Department of Health Services (DHS) spokeswoman Claire Yunker.

The policy, known as the FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program, requires those renewing or applying for benefits to fulfill a work requirement in one of four ways:

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

Those who choose to forego work or job-training can receive FoodShare benefits for only three months over the next three years, unless they receive an exemption or until they choose to meet the work requirements.

The requirements will be staggered over a 12-month period, as individuals are required to renew FoodShare benefits on a yearly basis.

DHS broke down the numbers by month as follows:

  • 48 individuals lost eligibility effective September 30, 2014
  • 310 individuals lost eligibility effective October 31, 2014
  • 351 individuals lost eligibility effective November 30, 2014

Of the over 850,000 FoodShare recipients in Wisconsin, approximately 62,000 will be subject to the new requirements when it is rolled out to the rest of the state April 1, 2015. If the amount of individuals that could not meet the requirement in the pilot program stayed static throughout the entire state, approximately 8,100 able-bodied adults could be expected to drop out of the FoodShare program for not meeting the work requirements.