Making FoodShare Users Do More Job Searches Would Cost State Millions


A new analysis says Governor Scott Walker’s plan to make food stamp recipients perform more job searches would cost the state millions.

The legislature’s budget committee is scheduled to vote on the changes tomorrow.

Under Governor Walker’s budget, poor people would either have to work or conduct some type of work training for at least 20 hours a week if they want to continue to receive food stamps. It would basically mirror federal law. The Governor has billed it as a way to reduce peoples’ dependence on government.

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The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) now says, however, that the cost to the state to administer the work training would be about $26 million a year once it’s up and running. But because food stamp benefits are paid by the federal government, the LFB says the state of Wisconsin would see no savings.

Budget expert Jon Peacock with the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families says it’s why other states have generally avoided this route: “It’s something that’s proven to be a major expense in terms of bureaucracy without a real clear payoff.”

The state Department of Health Services says the plan would first apply to about 63,000 “able-bodied adults” without kids. But DHS projects the changes would cut that enrollment by almost half. That would mean about 31,000 people who receive food stamp benefits right now would not receive them in the future.