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Parent's Frequently Asked Questions about Wisconsin Shares

The Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program supports families by funding a portion of the cost of child care while the parents are working or participating in an approved activity.

What is Wisconsin Shares?

The Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program supports families by funding a portion of the cost of child care while the parents are working or participating in another approved activity.

How do I apply for the Wisconsin Shares program?

You can apply for the program online, by phone, or in person. Visit the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program How to Apply page for a step-by-step guide to the process of applying, becoming eligible, and receiving subsidy funds.

Am I Eligible?

When you apply for Wisconsin Shares your income must be at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for your group size. 

Your eligibility may continue until your income reaches 85% of the State Median Income (SMI). 

2024 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and State Median Income (SMI) Limits Table for Financial Eligibility in the Wisconsin Shares Program-Effective February 1, 2024
Group Size Monthly 185% FPL Monthly 200% FPL Monthly 85% SMI
2 $3,151 $3,407 $5,226
3 $3,981 $4,303 $6,455
4 $4,810 $5,200 $7,685
5 $5,639 $6,097 $8,914
6 $6,469 $6,993 $10,144
7 $7,298 $7,890 $10,374
8 $8,128 $8,787 $10,605
9 $8,957 $9,683 $10,835
10 $9,787 $10,580 $11,066
Each Additional Person Add $829 $896 N/A

For example, for a family of three, with one parent and two children, if the parent works 40 hours a week at $22 per hour, the family would be found financially eligible and would remain financially eligible until the parent’s hourly wage was $35.20.

What information do I need?

You will be asked to verify certain information. Some of the documents that may help you meet verification requirements are:

  • Driver’s license, photo ID card, or U.S. passport
  • Social Security Number for children who need subsidy
  • Certified copy of child’s official birth certificate if not born in Wisconsin
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship for children who need subsidy; parents do not need U.S. citizenship to be eligible to receive child care subsidy
  • Proof of your address (unless you are experiencing homelessness)
  • The last 30 days of dated paycheck stubs
What is the MyWIChildCare Parent Portal?

The MyWIChildCare Parent Portal is an online tool that is available to parents receiving Wisconsin Shares to help them manage their child care subsidy needs. The Parent Portal is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is mobile-friendly.

I can’t access the MyWIChildCare Parent Portal, how do I log in?

The MyWIChildCare Parent Portal login uses the same username and password as your ACCESS account. If you do not have an ACCESS account, go to the ACCESS website to create one.

What is an authorization?

A child care authorization is the written document that informs you of the number of hours and amount of funds that are approved to cover your child care need. The child care need is based on the hours of your approved activity, the child's schedule, your chosen child care provider, and the travel time needed in order for you to get to your activity on time. The hours approved are calculated into a dollar amount that covers a portion of your child care cost. You will use these funds to help pay for child care using your MyWIChildCare EBT card.

What is an approved activity?

The approved activity is one of the items that qualifies you for eligibility. Examples of approved activities are:

What changes do I need to report?

To learn about the changes you need to report, visit the How to be Successful in the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program section of the Parent page.

A full list of your reporting requirements can be found on your Authorization Notice. Find more about how your Authorization Notice will look and other helpful information in the Understanding Your Authorization Notice brochure. Spanish

What if I disagree with my provider about a payment?

Payment Disputes

The department and your local child care agency will not resolve payment disagreements between you and your provider. You and your child care provider will be expected to work together to deal with payment errors or disputes. Disagreements should be handled one-on-one and in a confidential and respectful manner.

The department recommends that you review transaction amounts and payment dates online through the DCF MyWIChildCare Parent Portal, ebtedge, or by calling to speak to MyWIChildCare customer service 1-877-201-7601, who can also help track down any transaction or payment history. You will need to have your card ready with your 16-digit card number.

Keep receipts to track what you are paying for and the period of time it covers. The Parent Portal will help you track your child(ren's) authorizations, your monthly subsidy amount on your MyWIChildCare card, and the payments you have issued to each provider. We encourage open and regular communication with your child care provider to prevent disagreements.

If You Overpay a Provider

First talk with the provider and try to discuss the billing error and why it occurred. Use receipts and payment records to discuss your concerns. The overpayment must be corrected, and it will require the provider to call their local authorizing agency to initiate the Voluntary Repayment Process. Your provider cannot give you cash back from your MyWIChildCare card. Contact your local Wisconsin Shares agency if you used your MyWIChildCare card to pay your provider more than you owe.

What happens if I pay the wrong provider?

Contact your local Wisconsin Shares agency immediately. You may be responsible for paying that money back. To prevent this, always confirm whom you are paying and how much you are paying. Families that use more than one child care provider must pay close attention to this requirement.

What if I disagree with an overpayment or an Intentional Program Violation?

If you disagree with an overpayment or intentional program violation, go to the Parent Appeal Rights section on the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Parent Page.

Does the department monitor Wisconsin Shares?

The department monitors systems, records, and documents to ensure that the program’s rules and policies are being followed by all families, providers, contractors, and by the local agencies and departments. The department will also investigate any reports of policy or rule violations.

What does it mean if I am issued an overpayment?

If you are issued an overpayment, the department provided too much subsidy. This overpayment may be caused by a mistake on the part of you, your provider, or the agency. Regardless of who caused the mistake, it must be paid back to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. For more information on how to avoid overpayments, visit the How to be Successful in the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program section of the Wisconsin Shares Parent Page.

Why did I receive a Child Care (CC) Client Overpayment Notice?

The Child Care (CC) Client Overpayment Notice informs you that you received too much subsidy funds. This money must be paid back to the state. It is issued when it has been determined that you have received more funds than you were eligible to receive. Both you and your provider may receive overpayments.  

If you receive a Child Care (CC) Client Overpayment Notice and need to pay funds back, a payment agreement allows you to schedule a payment plan and tell the department what you will pay monthly towards your overpayment balance.

How do I repay an overpayment?

A Repayment Agreement will be mailed to you with your options for repayment. Sign and return the Repayment Agreement by the date specified on the agreement. Failure to make payment arrangements may result in further collection actions including, but not limited to:

  • Additional fees
  • Referral to an outside collection agency
  • Federal or state tax refund reduced or intercepted
  • Wages or bank accounts reduced through a levy
  • A lien placed against personal property
What if I don’t agree with the result of the case review?

If you do not agree with an issue regarding your case (eligibility and authorization results, an overpayment, or the results of a fraud investigation), you have the right to appeal the decision. When you appeal the decision, you will appear before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to review the case. At that time, the evidence and argument for both you and the department will be presented. The ALJ will then decide the case.

To learn more about appeal rights, go to the Parent Appeal Rights section on the Wisconsin Shares Parent Page.

What is PACS?

PACS is the Public Assistance Collections Section. It is the unit within the Department of Children and Families that is responsible for collecting overpayments. You can schedule a payment plan and set up e-Payments to repay your overpayment. You are responsible for making regular payments toward your overpayment. If payments are not made, the debt will enter a collection process.

Visit the PACS homepage to learn more. You can contact the collections staff by going to the Contact DCF PACS page.

What if I don’t follow the repayment agreement that I set up?

Delinquency occurs if you were late or have missed three (3) payments during the course of your agreement. Missing or having late payments (any 3 occurrences), any of the following may happen:

  • Additional Fees
  • Referral to an outside collection agency
  • Referral to the federal government for collection
  • Federal or state tax refund reduced
  • Wages or bank accounts reduced through a levy
  • A lien placed against personal property
What is an IPV?

An Intentional Program Violation (IPV) results in a loss of subsidy eligibility. The first violation will result in a loss of Wisconsin Shares child care eligibility for 6 months, the second violation will result in a loss of child care eligibility for 12 months, and the third/final violation will result in a permanent suspension from receiving child care subsidy.

What if I reported changes, but the agency did not process my request?

If you have reported a change that could affect your eligibility, you will receive a Notice of Proof Needed. This notice tells you what verification item(s) you must provide, as well as the deadline to submit that information.

If you reported a change in the number of hours of child care you need, or if you want to change your child care provider, and you have not heard from your agency, you are encouraged to call your local agency. It is likely that the verification was not received or processed, or was not enough. The change will be pending until the worker has what they need to confirm the change you have requested.

You can check the status of your requested change in your MyWIChildCare Parent Portal for authorization related changes. Parents can hand deliver, fax, or mail these documents to their local agency according to the instructions on the Notice of Proof Needed.