The state of Wisconsin has a population of 5.7 million with a poverty rate of 13.2%. The poverty rate among the children of Wisconsin is even higher at 18.1%. There are over 730 000 residents of Wisconsin living in a state of poverty struggling with basic expenses to provide everything  their family needs. Fortunately, the state of Wisconsin has numerous assistance programs available that benefit the low income single parents, families and individuals around the state. This guide will list and explain the assistance programs available in Wisconsin.

Financial Assistance in Wisconsin

Many people struggle with basic expenses and are in dire need of any sort of financial assistance. The state of Wisconsin has a few useful programs for the low income people of the state.

Wisconsin Works (W2) Program

The Wisconsin Works program provides financial assistance in the form of job training, education for low income parents to help them find stable, well paying employment. In order to be eligible for this program you must have a child under the age of 19 living in your household and meet the income requirements. Check out the W2 webpage to learn more and to apply.

Wisconsin Emergency Assistance (EA)

The Wisconsin EA program provides low income families with temporary financial assistance to help them get through difficult times financially. This program helps families who are facing an impending foreclosure/eviction or homelessness because they cant afford the rent/housing payments.

In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income and have children living in your household. To learn more check out the Wisconsin EA webpage.

Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Wisconsin unemployment insurance provides financial relief payments to this who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The amount you will receive with this program depends on the amount you made with your previous employer.

To learn more and to apply check out the Wisconsin UI webpage.

Food Assistance in Wisconsin

If you are struggling providing adequate food for your family then there are a few food assistance programs that will help with the costs of food.

FoodShare Wisconsin

The FoodShare Wisconsin program helps the low income purchase the necessary foods needed for their family to maintain good health. The benefits are received on a card that works like a debit card called the QUEST card. Just swipe the card at the checkout when you are checking out with your groceries. The card is reloaded on a monthly basis with additional funds.

To be eligible for this program you must be a legal resident of Wisconsin and be of low income. Check out the Wisconsin FoodShare webpage to check out the income limits and to learn more.

Wisconsin School Breakfast and Lunch Program

This program provides the children of low income families with free or low costs breakfasts’ and lunches to the children while they are attending school. If you are already receiving assistance under the FoodShare Wisconsin Program then your child will automatically be eligible for this program.

To be eligible for this program you must be a resident of Wisconsin and be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for this program you must directly contact the school that your child attends. Check out the Wisconsin School Nutrition webpage to learn more.

Wisconsin Food Banks

Always remember if you are really struggling providing food because of low income, there are numerous food banks located across the state of Wisconsin. The food provided is free and nutritious. To find a food bank in your area of the state, check out this Wisconsin Food Bank Resource which will show all the food banks around Wisconsin.

Medical Assistance in Wisconsin

Medical costs and expenses are very high making it essential for residents of Wisconsin to be enlisted under a medical insurance program such as Medicaid.

Wisconsin Medicaid

The Wisconsin Medicaid program provides medical benefits to the low income residents of Wisconsin. Medicaid covers a wide variety of health expenses and costs such as:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • treatments
  • vaccinations
  • eye care
  • dental care

Depending on you and your family’s specific situation, not all services will necessarily be covered, or some will only cover a portion of the costs. To be eligible for Medicaid you must meet the income requirements, which are done in correlation with the number of people living in your household. To learn more and to apply check out the Wisconsin Medicaid webpage.

Wisconsin BadgerCare (SCHIP)

The Wisconsin SCHIP program is the medical program for children who are not enrolled in any other health insurance program. This program covers all of the same health care expenses as Medicaid and includes mental health care as well. It is a lot easier to qualify under SCHIP then it is for regular Medicaid. In order to be eligible for this program you must meet the income requirements. To learn more and to apply check out the Wisconsin BadgerCare website.

Wisconsin Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Wisconsin WIC program free nutritious, supplemental foods, nutrition education and even health care referrals to pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding women and their children up to age 5. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements.The foods provided are rich in ingredients that are important for postpartum women and young growing children.

To apply for this program you must contact the WIC office nearest you. You can use this WIC locator to find the WIC office nearest you. To learn more about the WIC program check out this Wisconsin WIC webpage.

Child Care Assistance in Wisconsin

Child care costs are very expensive making it difficult for low income single parents and families to get the proper child care their child deserves. Fortunately there are some child care assistance programs available.

Wisconsin SHARES Child Care Program

The Wisconsin SHARES program provides child care assistance to low income families by paying a portion of their child care costs. In order to eligible for the program, the parent must either be in school or working, or receiving job training in the Wisconsin W-2 program. To qualify you must meet the income guidelines.To learn more and start the application process check out the Wisconsin SHARES webpage.

Wisconsin Head Start Program

The Wisconsin Head Start program will provide child care assistance and a learning environment and supervision for children ages 0-5 to help them enhance their social and behavioural skills in preparation for school. This program is only available to low income families. You are eligible based on your household income compared to how many people live in your household. There are multiple Head Start programs located all around the state. Check out the Wisconsin Head Start website to locate a program in your area and to learn more.

Housing Assistance in Wisconsin

Housing and rental costs are very difficult for low income single parents and families, placing a large financial burden on them. Fortunately, there are numerous housing and rental assistance programs available in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Low Income Public Housing Program

The Wisconsin Low Income Public Housing program provides very low rental costs to low income single parents and families throughout Wisconsin. Public Housing Agencies will place families in pre determined living arrangements in the form of apartments, single standing houses or condos. The living arrangements are alway safe and sanitary.

In order to apply you must contact your local Housing Agency. This list of Wisconsin Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across the state of Wisconsin. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program.

Wisconsin Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Wisconsin Housing Choice program provides low income single parents and families of Wisconsin with low rental payments in their own choice of living arrangements. Unlike the Low Income Public Housing Program, this program actually allows you to choose your own apartment or house to receive the the reduced rent payments in. This program provides direct payments to your landlord, which pays a good portion of your rent payment with you paying the remaining portion of the rent. Many times you will only have to pay 30% to 40% of your total rent payment.

This program is also managed by your local Housing Agency, who you would need to contact to get started with the application process.

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP)

The Wisconsin WHEAP program provides financial assistance by helping low income households pay for their home energy and electrical bills. The amount you will receive depends largely on your income related to your household size. To be eligible you must of be of low income, meeting the income requirements. Check out the Wisconsin WHEAP webpage to learn more and to apply.

Wisconsin Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Wisconsin WAP program provides energy conservation services to your home, reducing your homes energy consumption, which will in turn result in lower energy bills. The program will possibly repair furnaces, add insulation, fix air leaks and more. To qualify you must meet the income requirements. You can visit the Wisconsin WAP website to learn more and to apply.

Wisconsin First Time Home Buyers Programs

The state of Wisconsin has a variety of first time home buyers programs that will assist in down payments assistance, closing cost assistance and helping you receive the best possible interest rate on your mortgage. This Wisconsin first time home buyer resource lists all the programs available in Wisconsin.

WHEDA Home Loan Program

This useful program makes it a lot easier receiving a mortgage as this program allows you to only have to put down a 3% down payment on your first mortgage. Click here for more details on this program.

Transportation Assistance in Wisconsin

Transportation can be difficult for the low income, especially when it comes to taking cabs on a frequent basis. There are a few things that can be done to assist you with your transportation costs.

Medical Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)

The Wisconsin NEMT program provides free medical transpiration that will take you to doctors appointments, treatments, tests and more. This program is available to everyone in Wisconsin that is receiving either Medicaid or the BadgerCare health programs. Check out the Wisconsin NEMT webpage to learn more about this useful service.


Taxis fares can be quit expensive across the state, especially if you use them frequently. A cheaper alternative to finding cheap rides can be found by using Uber or Lyft. These driving services will take you where you need to go, as ordinary people will pick you up and take you to your destination in their own vehicle, thus allowing for cheaper fares which save you a good amount of money over time.

Legal Assistance in Wisconsin

Legal costs and services can be to expensive for the low income and even regular citizens to be able to afford. Fortunately you can find discounted and sometimes even free legal services in Wisconsin.

Badger Law Network

The Badger Law Network provides and assists in finding discounted or free legal help that is available in any location in the state of Wisconsin in a variety of subjects. Most of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and much more. To learn more and to explore check out the Badger Law Website which will guide you in the proper direction.

The state of Wisconsin features several in depth programs available to the low income residents across the state. If you are struggling and of low income there is most likely a program that will help you and your family when you are most in need. If you are truly of low income you will easily qualify for the programs listed in this guide.

Links and Resources

State Assistance Map

Click on any one of the states below to go to our assistance article for that state