COVID-19: Updates 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 interviews for FoodShare applicants.

 Families who usually get free or reduced price school meals can get temporary food benefits

Temporary Food Benefits for Students COVID-19 P-02667

Due to school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, families with a child or children who usually get free or reduced price school meals through the National School Lunch Program can get temporary food benefits in place of the school meals. 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 who get free and reduced price school meals, 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 will instead need to apply. Please contact your school for the link to the online application if they have not already sent it to you.

Below is information on when and how the benefits are available:

Who? When will they get benefits? How will they get benefits? How will they know if they are getting benefits?
Children enrolled in FoodShare who get free or reduced price school meals
 

March and April: April 27


May and June: May 31

Existing QUEST card An email if their email address was available and a letter in the mail or through their ACCESS account
Children enrolled in other public benefit programs (such as BadgerCare Plus or W-2) who get free or reduced price school meals

March and April: May 10


May and June: May 31

P-EBT card or existing QUEST card

An email if their email address was available and a letter in the mail

There were two different letters: One for families with an existing QUEST card and one for families who will get a P-EBT card.

Children who get free and reduced price meals but did not automatically get the benefits

Parents and guardians can apply for the benefits starting May 9. The application will be available through June 30 at least.

Note: If you apply before May 29, you will get the benefits at two different times (March and April first and then May and June). If you appy on or after May 29, you will get the benefits for all months at the same time.

P-EBT card Notified by their school on how they can apply

 

You will get a total of $324.90 for each child who usually gets free or reduced price school meals. This amount is based on the average number of days schools were closed for March, April, May, and June ($176.70 for each child for March and April combined and $148.20 for each child for May and June combined). The benefits will be put on a QUEST card or P-EBT card. 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.

FAQs about Pandemic EBT benefits

Can I get these benefits?

You can get these benefits if you have a child or children who were getting free or reduced price school meals through the National School Lunch Program but can’t now because schools are closed. If you're not sure if your child or children were getting free or reduced price school meals, please check with your school.

What is the National School Lunch Program?

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

My child’s school is providing other types of meals right now due COVID-19. Can I still get Pandemic EBT benefits even if we get these other meals too? 

Yes, you can still get Pandemic EBT benefits.

I have more than one child who gets free or reduced price school meals. Why did I get benefits for only one child (or some of my children)?

You may get these benefits at different times for each child based on the information we have on file for them. You may also need to apply for the benefits if we do not have information on file for a child. 

Example: If your child is getting free or reduced price school meals and was part of your FoodShare case in March, April, or May, you would get the March and April benefits for that child on April 27. However, if another child is getting free or reduced price school meals and was not part of your FoodShare case during those months but was part of your BadgerCare Plus case starting in February, you would get the March and April benefits for that child on May 10.

My child or children get free or reduced price school meals but I haven’t gotten the benefits for them (or all of them) yet. What should I do?

You should apply for the benefits. Please contact your school for the link to the online application if they have not already sent it to you.

What information do I need to apply?

  • Your legal name and date of birth. Make sure your date of birth is entered correctly. You will need to provide this date when you activate your P-EBT card.
  • Your home address and a mailing address if you want information sent to a different address.
  • The name and date of birth of each child who usually get free or reduced price school meals. This information needs to exactly match the information your school provided to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
  • The county where each child goes to school and the school district’s name.

I successfully applied for the benefits. When will I get them?

We will mail you a P-EBT card with the benefits the next business day after you successfully apply. It may take up to 10 days for you to get the card.

I applied for the benefits and was told my information couldn’t be verified. What should I do?

If you think you should be getting these benefits: 

  • You can contact your school district or school to make sure your information is correct. They will work with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to make sure the correct information is on file.
  • You can ask for a hearing to tell us why you think you should be getting these benefits.

    What can my school help me with?

    Your school can provide the link to the online application. They can also make sure the correct information is on file with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The information you provide on the application needs to exactly match the information your school provided to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for the application to be submitted successfully.

    Other contacts 

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

    If you have a specific question about your Pandemic EBT benefits, please email us. Make sure you include the following in the email:

    • Your full name (You must be the child’s parent or guardian.)
    • Your case number if you have one
    • Your phone number
    • Each child’s full name and date of birth
    • School each child goes to and the city where the school is located
    • The question you have or issue you are experiencing

    We may not be able to respond to every email, but we will either update this webpage based on the questions we get or work to resolve your issue. Please bear with us as it may take time to resolve each individual issue.

    What does it mean to have an active QUEST card?

    It means that you still have a balance on a QUEST card you had in the past when you were getting FoodShare benefits. If you can’t find your card, call QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164 to get a new card. Your old card will be canceled when you call, and a new card will be mailed to you on the next business day.

    I lost my QUEST card. How can I get a new card?

    Call QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164. Your old card will be canceled when you call, and a new card will be mailed to you on the next business day.

    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. Through them, you can:

    • 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.

      If I get these benefits, will it affect my immigration status or make me a public charge?

      No, getting Pandemic EBT benefits will not affect your immigration status or make you a public charge.

      What if I don’t want the benefits?

      If you have a P-EBT card, you can cut the card up and securely dispose of it. Make sure you cut through the magnetic stripe on the card. 

      What is the difference between Pandemic EBT benefits and the additional FoodShare benefits described below?

      Pandemic EBT benefits are temporary food benefits for children who usually get free or reduced price school meals through the National School Lunch Program. The benefit amount is based on the value of school meals and the average number of days schools are closed. 

      The additional FoodShare benefits, which are sometimes called emergency allotments, are for FoodShare members who do not usually get the maximum monthly benefit amount. The benefit amount is based on the number of eligible people in your household.

      Families who are enrolled in FoodShare may get both the Pandemic EBT benefits and the additional FoodShare benefits.

      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.

      Application link and confirmation that the correct information is on file

      Your school can provide the link to the online application. Your school can also make sure the correct information is on file with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The information you provide on the application needs to exactly match the information your school provided to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for the application to be submitted successfully. 

      Case-specific questions

      If you have a specific question about your Pandemic EBT benefits, please email us. Make sure you include the following in the email:

      • Your full name (You must be the child’s parent or guardian.)
      • Your case number if you have one
      • Your phone number
      • Each child’s full name and date of birth
      • School each child goes to and the city where the school is located
      • The question you have or issue you are experiencing

      We may not be able to respond to every email, but we will either update this webpage based on the questions we get or work to resolve your issue. Please bear with us as it may take time to resolve each individual issue.

      Note: Income maintenance and tribal agencies do not have information about your Pandemic EBT benefits and will only be able to direct you to these contacts for more information. 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 May

      Emergency FoodShare allotments P02647If you are enrolled in FoodShare, you may get additional FoodShare benefits for May 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 May benefits were put on your QUEST card on May 24. You will get a letter after that date telling you that you got the additional FoodShare benefits and how much was put on your QUEST card. The amount is based on the number of eligible people in your home for May and whether you are currently repaying any benefits.

      Note: We are making sure everyone who should have gotten these benefits for March and April did. As a result, some people may get benefits for those months in early May and June.

      People in
      the household
      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Each additional person
      Maximum monthly
      benefit amount
      $194 $355 $509 $646 $768 $921 $1,018 $1,164 Add $146

       

      Note: Families who are enrolled in FoodShare may get both these additional FoodShare benefits and temporary food benefits in place of school meals (see the section above).


       You can now order and pay for food online using your QUEST or P-EBT card

      If you get FoodShare or Pandemic EBT benefits, you can now order and pay for your food on Amazon’s and Walmart’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.


       FoodShare interviews need to be completed again

      As of June 1, 2020, all FoodShare applicants once again need to complete an interview as part of their application process. In April and May 2020, some FoodShare applicants did not need to complete an interview if they provided all the information necessary to process their application. 

      Interviews are generally completed over the phone. During an interview, your income maintenance or tribal agency provides information about FoodShare, reviews your information, and ask questions about any unclear information.

      If you need to complete an interview, you will get a letter explaining when and how the interview can be completed. You can also call your agency right after you apply to complete your interview. In some cases, your agency may schedule the interview for you.

      Last Revised: June 1, 2020

       RESPONSE RESOURCES FOR WISCONSINITES — www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/help.htm