on Wisconsin Food Stamp Cards
I circulated a
proposal for support in the Legislature that would add photos to
Wisconsin FoodShare EBT cards, known as QUEST cards. You may be more
familiar with the term "food stamp," which is how the federal Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was formerly known.
benefits are 100 percent federally funded and are administered to Wisconsin
residents by the Department of Health Services' (DHS) FoodShare program via
an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.
January 2015, 820,000 Wisconsin residents received $92 million in SNAP
benefits. In calendar year 2014, Wisconsin distributed
over $1.1 billion in benefits.
Administration costs of the program are shared 50/50 between the state and
federal governments, with Wisconsin's state share costing $47 million in federal fiscal year
2013 (most recent data year available).
As with any
government program, there is the problem of fraud, and Wisconsin's FoodShare
program is no different. However, thanks to Governor Walker's 2011-13 budget
initiative to crack down on FoodShare fraud, DHS has tracked recipient
benefit fraud activity since 2012. According to DHS data, recipient benefit
overpayments have been on the rise
from $3.6 million in calendar year (CY) 2012 and
$5.59 million in CY 2013, to over $6.6 million in CY 2014.
My proposal attempts to counter this fraud by directing DHS to
formulate a plan to implement photo IDs on QUEST cards. This plan, along
with a waiver request to require benefit recipients to show their
photo card, will be sent to the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and
Nutrition Service (FNS) for approval.
FNS grant approval of both DHS' implementation plan and the waiver
request, the package then moves to the Legislature's Joint Committee on
Finance for final approval.
for this proposal is simple - I hope to be able to add an additional layer
of deterrence to these cards to discourage fraudulent use. Currently, the
only built-in measure to deter misuse of QUEST cards is a unique PIN
required to access benefits at the point of sale. While I understand that
this measure is by no means a fool-proof solution, I feel it is one more way
we can help combat and prevent fraud in Wisconsin's FoodShare program.
below to watch my latest video address, in which I discuss my recent proposal to add photos to state QUEST cards for FoodShare
Feedback is Important!
As always, I hope this information is helpful to you.
Please know that I welcome your
feedback, questions and concerns. To contact me, you can call my office
toll-free at (888) 534-0059, or email me at
I look forward to hearing from you!