EBT has been around for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) users for about 10 years. Unlike SNAP, the process for the WIC Program is much more complicated because the WIC Program is based on specific food items rather than dollars. As a result, only a few states have implemented WIC EBT so far.
The Connecticut WIC Program began the planning process for WIC EBT in 2010 and has chosen an on-line EBT card. The WIC EBT transactions and card will be referred to as eWIC. At the register the eWIC card works similarly to other magnetic card payment options. The card is swiped in the card reader and then the food item is checked against the participant's available food prescription balance right then. This will provide more freedom to participants by allowing them to purchase only those items needed at the time without losing all remaining benefits.
Later in 2014, the WIC Program will work with the authorized WIC vendors to upgrade their cash register equipment in preparation for processing eWIC transactions. Since Connecticut is a small state, we plan to have at least 90% of all authorized WIC vendors setup to process eWIC transactions before the eWIC cards are actually issued to the participants.
We are estimating that Connecticut will start the conversion from paper checks to the new eWIC cards in 2015. The timing of the roll-out depends on the Federal budget and how long it will take for authorized WIC vendors to get their equipment certified. Roll-out to all participants will probably take 6 months from the time we start. This means that stores will be accepting both checks and the eWIC card until the final conversion. The schedule for the conversion will be based on where the participant receives their WIC benefits currently and not where they live or shop. As we get further in the development process a schedule will be posted here on the website. Your Local Agency will notify you of upcoming changes.
Keep checking the website for updates.
Content Last Modified on 5/16/2014 8:33:38 AM