Wisconsin Residents Will Need to Work for Food Starting April 1

Brad Fox | March 17, 2015
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Wisconsin's FoodShare program will have different requirements starting on April 1st. Able-bodied adults (aged 18-49) who do not have children as dependents will be required to fulfill a new work requirement to receive their benefits.

The requirements will be to work 80 hours a month, or participate in approved work training programs.

If the able-bodied adult fails to meet the requirement they can receive FoodShare service for three months out of a 36-month period.

Linda Struck, an economic support supervisor for Eau Claire County (WI), said: "It's a program which will assist individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, assist them with finding and obtaining an employment," reports WQOW.

Statewide, FoodShare participation has dropped to its lowest level in 15 years, which is currently around 820,000 people.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online says that this new program will be a for-profit replacement of the former program that was designed to help Food Stamp recipients find work called The Food Stamp Employment and Training Program. They report that, in 2011, it cost (FSET) $19 million to administer, had  6,021 participants statewide, and created only 179 jobs. They say FoodShare rolls will drop - but, poverty will not.

Sherrie Tussler of the Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee fears the change will make thousands of people turn to food pantries or engage in roadside begging.

"What kind of town do we live in that turn grown men into beggars? What kind of state do we live in that intentionally creates beggars?" said Tussler to WPR.

Fox News 6 cites The Hunger Task Force as estimating that only 66,000 people of the over 800,000 involved in the FoodShare program will be affected.