Starting September 17, Unused FoodShare and Pandemic EBT Program Benefits May Expire After 274 Days

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

ForwardHealth Community Partners


Updates for local agencies, community-based organizations, and providers who provide assistance to members of Wisconsin's health and nutrition public assistance programs.

Starting September 17, Unused FoodShare and Pandemic EBT Program Benefits May Expire After 274 Days

Starting September 17, unused FoodShare and Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program benefits may expire if a person has not used their EBT card to purchase food in the past 274 days, or approximately nine months. Currently, members are allowed 365 days (or one year) of inactivity before benefits expire.

This policy change is based on federal rules regarding unused food benefits, and it applies to both FoodShare and P-EBT benefits. The process of removing food benefits that have gone unused from member accounts after a set amount of time is known as expungement.

People can keep their benefits by regularly using their EBT card (either their Wisconsin QUEST or Wisconsin P-EBT card) to buy food. There is no minimum amount that a person must spend to keep their benefits from expiring. Benefits that have been on an EBT card for less than 274 days will not expire as part of this process.

EBT cards can be used to buy food at most grocery stores, convenience stores, and some farmer’s markets. People can still use the benefits on their card even if they are no longer eligible for the food program that provided them.

In August, people with benefits at risk of expiring in September because of the policy change will be sent a letter. It will include their current account balance, what to do to not lose their benefits, and options for assistance. Those in households that have a cell phone number on file with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) will also get a text message alert.

DHS has also added information about why benefits expire and how to prevent it from happening to the letters sent to households after 60 days of EBT card inactivity and about two months before they are scheduled to lose benefits.

Starting on September 17, DHS is making the following changes:

  1. The letter sent after 60 days of EBT card inactivity will now be sent each time a household’s benefits reach that point, not just once per lifetime.
  2. Letters that used to be sent at 300 days of EBT card inactivity will now be sent after 210 days. This change ensures that households will still be notified two months before their benefits are at risk of expiring.
  3. DHS will be posting expiring benefit alerts in ACCESS and on the MyACCESS app at these same time intervals of 60 and 210 days.

Additional information and help

  • If current or former members can’t find their EBT card or their card is damaged, they can call QUEST Card Service at 877-415-5164 and ask for a new one. QUEST Card Service can also provide assistance with establishing a new PIN, checking account balances, and reporting a lost or stolen card.
  • Current or former FoodShare members that have questions regarding their program eligibility or benefits can check their benefits, see how they’ve used them, and learn about upcoming deposits by logging into ACCESS or by using the MyACCESS app.
  • Members can also check the amount on their card at any time by going to the ebtEDGE website.
  • People with questions about their P-EBT benefits should call the P-EBT Support Team at 833-431-2224.
  • Those with FoodShare or P-EBT benefits can purchase groceries online at some retailers using their EBT card. A list of online retailers that accept EBT cards is located on the FoodShare News and Updates webpage.
  • For suggestions on how to use food benefits, visit the DHS FoodShare: Spending Your Benefits webpage.