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2.1.1 Initial certifications (applications)

7 CFR 273.2(d) Application Forms Application Process New Application Required Due to Break in Service Setting the Filing Date Telephonic Signatures Faxed Application Registrations Application Registrations at the Wrong Agency SSA Participation in FS Applications SSA Worker Responsibility SSI Applicants in Public Institutions


Local agencies must encourage individuals to file an application or set a filing date for FoodShare on the same day they express an interest in FS or concerns about food insecurity. Local agencies must not discourage households from applying for FS if their application or benefits for another program have been denied or terminated. In this situation, the local agency shall encourage the household to continue with the FS application process. Application Forms

Wisconsin provides an online application for FoodShare through ACCESS Apply for Benefits. The ACCESS Application can be found at the following site,


The paper application for FoodShare has been developed for use when the CARES system is unavailable. It can also be given to applicants who request a paper application form and for SSA staff when they accept applications from households where all household members are applying for or receiving SSI . The form can be found on the Eligibility Management web site at and are available in the following formats:



Registration - This will be completed by the customer and must include the minimum information (name, address and signature) This section of the form is designed to be separated from the other sections so that it can be mailed, faxed or handed delivered to the agency in order to set the FS application filing date. This form can also be used to determine eligibility for expedited services.


Important Information Form - This section describes the applicant/recipient's rights and responsibilities. It is designed to be separated from the Registration and/or the Application Form so that the customer can keep this information for his/her records.


Application Form - This section gathers the information necessary to determine FoodShare benefit eligibility. It designed to be separated from the other sections so that it can be submitted to the agency. Application Process

A new application for FoodShare benefits is required whenever an individual or family makes a request for FoodShare benefits and:

  1. they have not received FoodShare benefits in Wisconsin in the current or past month, or

  2. they have received FoodShare benefits, but a break in service has occurred.


The FoodShare application process includes:

  1. Submitting an application by:

    1. submitting a signed RFA following the client registration process,

    2. submitting an FS request with at least the minimum information required (name, address, and signature) using the FS reigstraion or application forms ( F-16019A or F-16019B ),

    3. completing an ACCESS application with an electronic signature, or

    4. completing a request over the phone using a telephonic signature (

  2. Completing a face to face or telephone interview. (,

  3. Verifying certain information (1.2.1),

  4. Resolving any identified Error Prone Profiles (EPPs) (Process Help 70)

  5. Confirming the FS eligibility determination in CARES (2.1.7).


Assistance, such as providing an interpreter, meeting disability needs, etc., must be provided in order to complete the application process.  


Important Note: The agency should not create an RFA and then also have the customer apply online or by phone. The application should be submitted one way or the other, but not both. Submitting duplicate applications only delays application processing and benefit issuance. New Application Required Due to Break in Service

A "break in service" means that the FS case has closed and FS has not reopened during the month following the month of case closure. A break in service requires the person or group to reapply and complete the application process if they wish to receive benefits. Under some circumstances, workers can reinstate ineligible cases without requiring a new application.


Allow FS to reopen at recertification, if the requested action is completed in the month following the end of the current certification period as long as the interview was completed timely.



The reason for case closure must be fully resolved during the calendar month following case closure prior to reopening the case under break in service policy.


Example 1: Sam requests an appointment to recertify his FS benefits on September 25th, his benefits end on September 30th. The first available appointment is October 3rd. Sam meets with his worker on October 3rd. Sam's worker sets the program request date for October 1st so the agency's delay does not cause a pro-rated FS amount. The worker documents in case comments the reason for the late certification.


Example 2:  Raquel’s FS case closes December 31 for failure to verify information. On January 1, Raquel turns in the requested verification. This is not a break in service. Raquel is not required to file a new FS application. Setting the Filing Date

A client must provide the minimum information necessary in order to set a FS filing date.  This includes name, address, and signature.  Local agencies must encourage individuals to file an application or set a filing date for FS on the same day they express an interest in FS or indicate food insecurity.  If an individual chooses not to set a filing date the same day they contact the agency, the FS application (F-16019A) must be provided if they request it.


The filing date is set the same day, or the next business day if received after the regularly scheduled business hours, when the agency receives one of the following:


  1. a signed signature page printed from CARES during the client registration process;

  2. a signed 1-page application registration form (F-16019A);

  3. a signed FoodShare Wisconsin Application Form (F-16019B);

  4. a signed faxed registration and/or application form;

  5. a request is made and a telephonic signature ( is provided;

  6. an ACCESS Application containing an electronic signature; or

  7. a late FS ACCESS renewal.


Note: ACCESS uses the CARES holiday schedule on the CARES Mainframe table TDHY when setting the filing date for holidays. Agencies may be closed on some days that are not CARES holidays such as the day after Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day and Christmas Eve. ACCESS submissions will have filing dates set on these days even though the agency may be closed. When processing these requests, workers should update the filing date to the next business day for their agency and document in case comments that the agency was closed on that date.


An applicant may verbally request FS, but must also provide a request with a signature through one of the formats listed above in order to set a filing date.


Example 3: A FS case has been open since March. The 12-month review was due by February 28. The client did not show for the scheduled review appointment. It is now March 3 and s/he is calling to request a review appointment. In this scenario, the client would need to reapply for FS and benefits would be pro-rated from the date a signed application registration form is received ( This case would also require an evaluation for expedited services (2.1.4).


The FS Application Registration form can be used when:


This procedure was set up to ensure customers have the opportunity to set a filing date the first day they contact the agency. In some instances, the customer may request to take this form or a FS Application with them. These materials should be made available for the customer to take. However, it is important for the agency representative to explain the importance of setting the filing date, how it is set, expedited benefits and verification policies. Signatures

7 CFR 273.2(c)(2)

An applicant may verbally request FS and sign an RFA or application by providing a telephonic signature. A telephonic signature is the same as a written or electronic signature and it sets the filing date for FoodShare.


Households must attest to that the information they provided is complete and accurate when providing their telephonic signature. A Case Summary must be sent to the household following the interview. The household will have 10 days to notify the agency if corrections are needed


The agency must have Call Center Anywhere in order to record a telephonic signature. The telephonic signature is stored in the electronic case file. Faxed Application Registrations

7 CFR 273.2(c)(1)

IM agencies should accept faxed application registrations to initiate the application process and set the filing date. No benefits should be issued, or any final determination of a household's eligibility be made until an interview is completed unless the application meets the expedited criteria and the interview has been postponed. Faxed application registrations received on weekends, holidays or after hours should be considered received on the first working day following receipt of the application registration. Application Registrations at the Wrong Agency

7 CFR 273.2(c)(2)(ii)

As of June 15, 2009, FoodShare applicants are no longer required to apply for assistance in the county in which they reside. The filing date for FS will be set wherever an application is submitted, regardless of whether the customer submits the application in the county in which s/he resides. The case must still be processed and maintained by the local agency in the applicant’s county of residence . In January of 2012 IM program administration was taken over by Milwaukee Enrollment Services (MilES), tribal agencies, and 10 consortia groups made of local county agencies. Each consortium will have a Call/Change Center that will be responsible for updating cases for all agencies within the consortium.


When an ACCESS application or RFA is submitted to a county other than the county of residence, the county that received the application or RFA should transfer it to the correct county inbox the same day that it is submitted to allow the county time to review for potential expedited service. The file date will not be reset when the application or RFA is transferred.


Mailed or faxed applications received by a county other than the county of residence should be date stamped and faxed to the county of residence the same day that it is submitted to allow the county of residence time to start the expedited service process if appropriate. The file date is the date the application was received in any FoodShare agency. SSA Participation in FS Applications

7 CFR 273.2(k)

If an SSI applicant or recipient lives alone or in a household where all FS group members receive or are applying for SSI, s/he has the right to apply for FS at the ES agency or at the SSA office handling his/her SSI case.


When the SSI applicant or recipient is eligible for this option, s/he is not required to go to an ES agency to apply for FS. The SSA must assist the applicant in completing the application form and submit the application to the ES agency for the applicant. SSA will refer SSI recipients who contact them to inquire about FS benefits to the ES agency. Anyone who applies for FS at the SSA office is told of their option to apply at the ES agency and that doing so may expedite receipt of FoodShare benefits. SSA Worker Responsibility

    1. Decide if the SSI applicant/recipient is eligible to apply for FS at the SSA office.

    2. Interview the FS applicant and accept the FS Application.

    3. Screen the FS applicant for priority service and help the FS applicant complete the application.

    4. Mail the completed application to the ES agency within 1 federal workday.


Reminder: SSI applicants who want FS priority service must complete the FoodShare Wisconsin Application Registration form to be submitted by the SSA to the ES agency.


The FS interview conducted by SSA replaces the regular application interview by the ESA. An additional interview by the ES agency is not required. The ES agency will process these FS applications and contact the SSI applicant by other means if more information is needed to process the application. SSI Applicants in Public Institutions

Residents of public institutions may apply for SSI prior to their release under the SSA Prerelease Program. SSA staff will accept a FS application from the person at the same time they apply for SSI under this program.


When SSA forwards a FS application to the ESA for a resident of a public institution, the time period for processing the application begins the date the resident is released from the institution. Process the application within 30 days after the applicant's release.








This page last updated in Release Number: 13-01

Release Date: 03/14/13

Effective Date: 03/14/13