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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 FoodShare Applications


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 FoodShare or concerns about food insecurity. Local agencies must not discourage individuals from applying for FoodShare if their application or benefits for another program have been denied or terminated. In this situation, the local agency shall encourage the individuals to continue with the FoodShare application process. Application Forms

Wisconsin provides an online application for FoodShare through ACCESS Apply for Benefits. The ACCESS application can be found at


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 individuals where all household members are applying for or receiving SSI . The form can be found on the Eligibility Management webpage at and is available in the following formats:


Registration Form - This section will be completed by the applicant 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 hand delivered to the agency in order to set the FoodShare application filing date. This form can also be used to determine eligibility for expedited services.


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


Application Form - This section gathers the information necessary to determine FoodShare benefit eligibility. It is 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 benefits have been denied/terminated beyond the calendar month following the month of closure.


The FoodShare application process includes:

  1. Submitting an application in one of the following ways:

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

    2. Submitting a FoodShare request with at least the minimum information required (name, address, and signature) using the FoodShare Registration 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 an interview. (,

  3. Verifying certain information (1.2.1),

  4. Resolving any identified EPP s (Process Help Chapter 70)

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


Assistance, such as providing an interpreter, meeting disability needs, etc., must be provided at no cost to the applicant in order to complete the application process.


Important Note: The agency should not create an RFA and also have the applicant 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 FoodShare assistance group has closed and FoodShare has not reopened during the month following the month of closure. A break in service requires a member of the food unit to reapply and complete the application process if they wish to receive benefits. Under some circumstances, income maintenance (IM) workers can reinstate a closed FoodShare assistance group without requiring a new application if all requirements are met during the month after the closure month.


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



The reason for FoodShare 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 renew his FoodShare benefits on September 25. His benefits end on September 30. The first available appointment is October 3. Sam meets with his IM worker on October 3. The IM worker documents in case comments the reason for the late certification.


Example 2: Raquel’s FoodShare closes December 31 for failure to verify information. On January 2, Raquel turns in the requested verification. In this circumstance, the IM worker is able to reopen the closed FoodShare case and Raquel is not required to file a new FoodShare application. Setting the Filing Date

An applicant must provide the minimum information necessary in order to set a FoodShare filing date. This includes name, address, and signature. Local agencies must encourage applicants to file an application or set a filing date for FoodShare on the same day they express an interest in FoodShare or indicate food insecurity. If an applicant chooses not to set a filing date the same day they contact the agency, the FoodShare 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 registration process;

  2. A signed one-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 FoodShare 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, IM 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 FoodShare, 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 FoodShare case has been open since March. The 12-month renewal was due by February 28. The member did not complete an interview in the renewal month. It is now March 3 and the member is calling to complete the interview and renewal. In this scenario, the member would need to reapply for FoodShare, and benefits would be pro-rated from the date the member provided a signature setting the new filing date ( This case would also require an evaluation for expedited services (2.1.4).


The FoodShare Application Registration Form can be used when:


This procedure was established to ensure applicants have the opportunity to set a filing date the first day they contact the agency. In some instances, the applicant may request to take this form or a FoodShare Application with them. These materials should be made available for the applicant 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.


The agency should always attempt to set the filing date the same day of contact with the applicant. Telephonic Signatures

7 CFR 273.2(c)(2)

An applicant may verbally request FoodShare 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.


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


The agency must have Call Center Anywhere (CCA) in order to record a telephonic signature. A copy of the case summary showing that a telephonic signature was collected is stored in the electronic case file. The IM worker should record the signature in CCA. 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, nor should any final determination of an applicant'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 FoodShare will be set wherever an application is submitted, regardless of whether the applicant submits the application in the county in which he or she 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 filing 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 filing date is the date the application was received in any IM agency. SSA Participation in FoodShare Applications

7 CFR 273.2(k)

Currently, SSA does not participate in a joint FoodShare application process.



This page last updated in Release Number: 16-01

Release Date: 05/31/2016

Effective Date: 05/31/2016