DHS working with USDA, retailers to make grocery shopping flexible, safe

Gov. Walker proposes welfare changes

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is working with the USDA and retailers to make grocery shopping more flexible and safer for FoodShare households.

Beginning today, Wisconsin households that use FoodShare will be able to shop online at Walmart and Amazon. Those two retailers are set up at the national level to accept online payment. FoodShare has seen an increase in applications since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides funds to eligible households to purchase groceries using what looks like a debit card.

The DHS applied to the USDA to expedite the implementation of online purchasing for FoodShare benefits and the application was approved last week.

“Even though online purchasing is currently limited to just the two national retailers, it is one option to help people physical distance while doing their food shopping,” said Jim Jones, Director of the Division of Medicaid Services, which administers the FoodShare program. “DHS will support Wisconsin-based grocery stores interested in accepting FoodShare benefits online as they work with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to become authorized.” More information about this opportunity is available on the FNS website.

The online purchasing program is not the only distance shopping option for households eligible for FoodShare. Individual retailers are implementing other flexibilities on their own. For example, some grocers have set up processes to allow individuals to place orders online or over the phone and then pay in person, either curbside or in the store. Shoppers should contact their favorite stores to learn more about what options might be available.