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New requirements begin for FoodShare recipients in 3 counties

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news Superior, 54880
Superior Wisconsin 1226 Ogden Ave. Ste. 1 54880

Noah Ovshinsky

Wisconsin Public Radio

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Starting on Tuesday, FoodShare recipients in three Wisconsin counties will have to find work or go to school to continue to receive food stamps.

Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties are serving as testing sites before the new requirements go statewide next year.

Claire Smith, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said these counties fit a certain profile.

"We chose these three counties because we thought they really are a good representation of Wisconsin. They have a good mix of both rural and urban and have a moderate case load level," Smith said.

The new requirements were included in Gov. Scott Walker’s latest budget. They are federal mandates, but for the last few years, the state has received a waiver. Smith said thousands of recipients are affected by the change.

"These new requirements are going to only affect adults ages 18 to 49 with no minor children living in the home and who are able to work and are not pregnant or not disabled," she said.

Smith said the state will take the next several months to work out any problems that arise.

But, anti-hunger advocates say the true test will come next year when recipients in Milwaukee are subject to the new rules. 

Sherrie Tussler, the executive director of the Milwaukee-based Hunger Task Force, said this change will be a challenge.

"We're going to see wide-scale hunger and it's going to be really challenging for organizations like ours, food pantries and homeless shelters, to take care of everybody," she said.

Tussler said all told, she expects tens of thousands of people to lose their food stamp benefits. She said this will be a crisis for a lot of unemployed single adults.  

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