Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities




Wisconsin Works (W-2)woman-ingreenhouse.jpg

Wisconsin Works (W-2) is Wisconsin’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.


What is W-2?
W-2 is a time-limited program that provides temporary cash assistance and case management services to low-income parents and pregnant women. W-2 is a work program for adults willing to engage in work activities; it is not an entitlement.

Read the W-2 Benefits and Services brochure.

Who can participate in W-2?
Low-income parents and pregnant women may participate in W-2. Both you and your child's other parent may be eligible for W-2, even if your child only lives with you.

What is the purpose of W-2?
W-2 can help you gain the skills you need to get a job and provide for your family. If you have a disability, a worker at a W-2 agency can help you apply for disability-related benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Lastly, if you are a pregnant woman, W-2 can provide cash assistance and case management services. A worker at the W-2 Agency determines if you are eligible for W-2.

Read about the W-2 Philosophy and Goals.

What services are offered through W-2?
W-2 provides:

  • Case management services;
  • Vocational education and training;
  • Assistance with searching for housing, child care, and employment;
  • Assistance applying for SSI/SSDI; and
  • Work experience, through supervised worksites.

Do I have to work to get cash assistance?
You are required to participate in work, or activities to help you get ready to work, in exchange for cash assistance. A worker at the W-2 Agency will determine which activities are appropriate for you and if you need additional services to participate.

How do I apply for W-2?
You must apply for W-2 at your local W-2 Agency. Please visit the “Find a W-2 Agency” page for contact information.

What should I bring with me when I apply for W-2?
This brochure provides you with a checklist of what to bring with you to apply for W-2.

How do I know if I might be eligible for W-2?
The ACCESS website has an interactive interview that can help determine if you might be eligible for W-2. You must apply at your local W-2 Agency even if you complete the ACCESS interview.

I am a minor parent. What services are available to me through W-2?
W-2 provides services specific to minor parents. Read about Minor Parent Services.

I am a parent, but my children don't live with me. What services are available to me through W-2?
If your children don't live with you, you are considered a noncustodial parent. Wisconsin offers many services to help low-income noncustodial parents become self-sufficient and able to pay child support. Read about Noncustodial Parent Services.

Find your local W-2 agency
Read the W-2 Policy Manual