Sneak Preview: Wis. To Assess Out-of-State FoodShare Purchases

May 10, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) Wisconsin health officials plan to issue guidance addressing out-of-state FoodShare benefits transactions after a state auditor’s office (SAO) report expressed concern that some households within the state may have used their benefits inappropriately.

The FoodShare Wisconsin program, overseen by the state Department of Health Services (DHS), is the state’s program implementing the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Under federal law, households receiving FoodShare benefits, known as “assistance groups,” may use their benefits anywhere in the country, and Wisconsin residents made about $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011 FoodShare purchases outside of the state.

While it may be more convenient for households living on Wisconsin’s border to use their benefits in a contiguous state, the SAO determined that some households may have used their benefits inappropriately For example, about 152 assistance groups had made purchases greater than $500 exclusively outside the state and more than 50 miles from their Wisconsin residences. The SAO also identified 324 instances in which a FoodShare card was used to make a purchase in Wisconsin on the same day that the card’s account number was manually entered to make a purchase in a noncontiguous state.

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