COVID-19: Information for FoodShare and Other Food Benefits

This page provides information on temporary food benefits for children who usually get free or reduced price schools meals, additional benefits for FoodShare members, ordering and paying for food online with QUEST or P-EBT cards, and temporary changes to FoodShare program rules.

Temporary food benefits for students for the 2019–2020 school year

BackgroundIllustration of two children holding hands

Due to school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, families with a child or children eligible for free or reduced price school meals for the 2019-2020 school year through the National School Lunch Program were able to get temporary food benefits in place of the school meals for March, April, May, and/or June 2020. These benefits are called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT.

We automatically provided these benefits if we could using information we have for your child or children. If we were able to match the information we have with the information your school provided to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction about children eligible for free and reduced price school meals through the National School Lunch Program, then we automatically provided the benefits. If we didn’t have enough information for a child, then we weren’t able to automatically provide the benefits, and families instead had to apply for them.

Next steps

The federal government gave us a deadline of September 30, 2020, to provide Pandemic EBT benefits for the 2019-2020 school year that ended in May or June 2020. During September, we reviewed the cases of families who had questions about their benefits and provided benefits when we were able to. We are currently working to contact those families, either by phone or email, about their benefits.

Although some schools are doing distance or virtual learning for the first part of the 2020-2021 school year, we are not able to provide Pandemic EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year based on current guidance from the federal government. We will provide updates on this page if that guidance changes.

FAQs

What are Pandemic EBT benefits?

They are temporary benefits that are funded by the federal government to help families of children eligible for free or reduced price school meals through the National School Lunch Program since schools were closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The benefits were authorized under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The federal government approved Wisconsin’s request to provide these benefits in April.

Who was eligible for these benefits?

Children who were getting free or reduced price school meals for the 2019-2020 school year through a school participating in the National School Lunch Program were eligible for these benefits. 

The National School Lunch Program is a federal program that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals to students.

What was the amount I got based on?

The amount you got was based on the value of school meals, the average number of days schools were closed each month, and the months your child or children were eligible for free or reduced price school meals through the National School Lunch Program. 

The following were the monthly benefit amounts per eligible child:

  • March: $51.30
  • April: $125.40
  • May: $119.70 
  • June: $28.50 

How were benefits provided?

The benefits were put on a QUEST card for families who had an existing card or on a P-EBT card that was sent to families. These cards can be used like a debit card to buy food. You must use the benefits within one year of their being put on your card. They will be automatically removed from your card after one year.

You can check the balance on your card at any time by going to the ebtEDGE website or using the ebtEDGE mobile app.

I have more than one child who was eligible for free or reduced price school meals for the 2019-2020 school year through the National School Lunch Program. Why did I get benefits for only one child (or some of my children)?

We automatically provided these benefits if we could using information we have for your child or children. If we were able to match the information we have with the information your school provided to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction about children eligible for free or reduced price school meals through the National School Lunch Program, then we automatically provided the benefits. If we didn’t have enough information for a child, then we couldn’t automatically provide the benefits. You would have needed to apply for the benefits in that situation.

If food my family bought with Pandemic EBT benefits was destroyed because of a natural disaster, power outage, or another reason, can I get additional Pandemic EBT benefits to replace the food?

The federal government has let us know that we can't replace Pandemic EBT benefits.

Will my immigration status be affected or will I become a public charge if I got these benefits?

No, your immigration status is not affected, and you will not become a public charge.

What if I don’t want the benefits?

You can cut up your P-EBT card and securely dispose of it. Make sure you cut through the magnetic stripe on the card.

Will my child or children get Pandemic EBT benefits for the 2020–2021 school year?

Pandemic EBT benefits are authorized and funded by the federal government. The Pandemic EBT benefits for the 2019-2020 school year (March through June 2020) were authorized and funded through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

Although some schools are doing distance or virtual learning for the first part of the 2020-2021 school year, we are not able to provide Pandemic EBT benefits for the 2020-2021 school year based on current guidance from the federal government.

Who can I contact to activate my card, reset my card PIN, replace my card, or get other help with my card?

You can call QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164 to:

  • Activate your card.
  • Reset your card PIN.
  • Get your card balance.
  • Report a lost, stolen, or damaged card. 
  • Replace your card.
  • Get general information about your card.

You can also check the balance on your card at any time by going to the ebtEDGE website or using the ebtEDGE mobile app.

Who can I contact for help?

QUEST or P-EBT card questions or issues

If you need help with your QUEST or P-EBT card, please call QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164.

Case-specific questions

If you’ve already contacted us

We’re working to resolve questions about individual cases as quickly as possible. If you’ve already contacted us and have additional questions about your case, you can email us again. We’ll contact you once we review your case. However, this may take some time. We appreciate your patience as we make sure you get the benefits you need.

If you haven’t contacted us yet

Because we needed to meet the federal government’s deadline for providing Pandemic EBT benefits, we were unable to look into new questions about individual cases as of September 1. If you applied for benefits before the application closed on July 31, your case was automatically reviewed.

Note: Income maintenance and tribal agencies do not have information about your Pandemic EBT benefits. However, they can help you if you want to apply for other benefits, such as FoodShare or BadgerCare Plus, or if you are already getting other benefits.

 


 

Some FoodShare members may get additional FoodShare benefits for October

If you are enrolled in FoodShare, you may get additional FoodShare benefits for October to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. You will get these additional benefits if you do not already get the maximum monthly benefit amount for the number of people in your household.  

The benefits will be put on your QUEST card on November 1. After that date, you will get a letter telling you that you got the additional FoodShare benefits and how much was put on your QUEST card. The amount will be based on the number of eligible people in your household for October. The amount will be lower than the maximum amount if you are repaying benefits.

Note: We are checking that everyone who should have gotten additional benefits got them. As a result, some members may get additional September benefits on November 8 and additional October benefits on December 6. 

You can check the balance on your QUEST card at any time through the ebtEDGE website or ebtEDGE mobile app or by calling QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164.

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Emergency FoodShare allotments P02647

Maximum monthly benefit amounts based on eligible people in the household
People in household Maximum monthly benefit amount
1 $204
2 $374
3 $535
4 $680
5 $807
6 $969
7 $1,071
8 $1,224
Each additional person $153

 


 

Ordering and paying for food online using your QUEST or P-EBT card

Illustration of a laptop with an image of an EBT cardIf you get FoodShare or have gotten Pandemic EBT benefits, you can order and pay for your food on Amazon’s and Walmart Grocery’s websites using your QUEST or P-EBT card. There will be an EBT card payment option for you to enter your card details. You will need to enter your card PIN each time you check out.

You can only use your QUEST or P-EBT card to buy food. If you are buying other items at the same time, you need to use another form of payment to pay for those items.

Amazon delivers across the state and offers free shipping on eligible orders over a certain dollar amount. Walmart may deliver depending on where you live, or you may need to pick up your order at the store. In some cases, you may be charged a delivery fee. You will not be able to use your QUEST or P-EBT card to pay this fee. You will need to use another form of payment instead.

If you experience any issues when using your QUEST or P-EBT card to pay online, first make sure you have a balance on your card by going to the ebtEDGE website, using the ebtEDGE mobile app, or calling QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164. If you have a balance and are still unable to complete your transaction, contact customer service at Amazon or Walmart for help.

Amazon and Walmart provide more information about paying with your QUEST or P-EBT card on their websites. (Their websites refer to these cards as “SNAP EBT” or “EBT” cards.)

Note: At this time, the federal government has only approved Amazon and Walmart to accept online QUEST or P-EBT card payments. Other stores may be approved to accept these online payments in the future.

Other options

Some grocery stores offer other options for you to buy your food safely and easily. For example, at some locations, you can order your food online or over the phone, choose an EBT card payment option, and swipe your QUEST or P-EBT card when you pick up your order, either curbside or in store. Please check with your local grocery stores to see what options they offer.

 


 

Temporary changes to FoodShare program rules

We have temporarily changed FoodShare program rules for renewals, Six-Month Reports, and interviews.

 Renewals

FoodShare members with renewals due in October and November don’t need to renew their benefits until next year

If your FoodShare benefits were due for renewal in October 2020, you don’t need to complete the renewal process until April 2021. You may have already gotten a letter with information on how to renew your benefits, but you don’t need to take any action at this time. You will get another renewal letter with renewal information before you need to renew your benefits in April.

However, if you already started or submitted your renewal, you will have to complete the entire renewal process so you can keep the same enrollment period. 

If your FoodShare benefits were due for renewal in November 2020, you don’t need to complete the renewal process until May 2021. You will get a letter with renewal information before you need to renew your benefits in May.

 Six-Month Reports

FoodShare members with Six-Month Reports due in October and November don’t need to submit their reports

If you have a Six-Month Report due in October or November 2020, you don’t need to submit your report. Although you may have already gotten your report form, you don’t need to take any action.

 Interviews

FoodShare applicants may not need to do an interview through December 31

If you are applying for FoodShare benefits, make sure you give us as much information as possible. If we have all the information necessary to process your application, then you may not need to do an interview with your agency. This applies through December 31, 2020. 

If you do not provide all the necessary information, your agency will contact you for more information.

Last Revised: October 21, 2020