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FoodShare: Spending Your Benefits

We put FoodShare benefit dollars into your FoodShare account each month. We use an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) system, similar to a debit card.

After the benefits are in your account, you can buy food at stores, farmers markets, and other places that accept EBT payments. To buy food with FoodShare benefits, use your Wisconsin QUEST card.

You can buy:

  • Breads and cereals.
  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Meats, fish, and poultry.
  • Dairy products.
  • Snack foods.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Seeds and plants to grow food for your family to eat.

You can’t buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco.
  • Vitamins, medicines, or supplements.
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store).
  • Hot foods (food cooked and served hot at the store).
  • Food to be eaten in the store.
  • Any nonfood items such as:
    • Pet foods.
    • Cleaning supplies, paper products, or other household supplies.
    • Cosmetics, soap, toothpaste, or other hygiene items.

See a complete list of foods you can and can’t buy on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.

In Wisconsin, you also can’t use your benefits to pay deposit fees on containers. This includes soft drink cans or glass bottles that can be returned to the store empty to get back a deposit. Some states have laws that require a container deposit fee. In these states, the deposit fee can be paid for with your benefit.

When are benefits available?

We base the date you get your FoodShare benefits each month on the eighth digit of your Social Security number.

8th digit of your Social Security number: When you get benefits
0 2nd day of the month
1 3rd day of the month
2 5th day of the month
3 6th day of the month
4 8th day of the month
5 9th day of the month
6 11th day of the month
7 12th day of the month
8 14th day of the month
9 15th day of the month


Let’s use the example of Social Security number 123-45-6789. The 8th digit is number 8. That person would receive their benefits on the 14th day of each month.

Apply for FoodShare

Why are purchase amounts adjusted?

Sometimes the amount you paid with your FoodShare benefits may need to be adjusted for an error (for example, a system error). This adjustment doesn’t happen often.

If an adjustment is needed, you will get a letter in the mail. The letter will explain why the adjustment is needed and how to file for a fair hearing. If you don’t agree, you will have 15 calendar days from the date of the letter to file for a hearing. The amount of the adjustment may stay in your account until a decision is made after the hearing.

Equal opportunity information

Last revised November 22, 2022