The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Nutrition Services (FNS), has mandated that all WIC state agencies implement Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) by October 1, 2020.
EBT has been around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) users for over 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 WIC state agencies have implemented WIC EBT so far.
Connecticut WIC Program began the planning process for WIC EBT in
2010. The WIC EBT transactions and card will be referred to as eWIC.
An eWIC card will replace the current paper food vouchers for food benefit issuance
and redemption at authorized WIC grocery stores. Implementation will occur between January and
new eWIC card will offer the following:
safer, easier and more convenient way for participants to shop for food.
members of the same household on WIC will have their benefits on one
to a debit/credit card with a magnetic strip.
- Reduction in
errors in choosing WIC approved foods.
- The family can buy their foods when they need them.
cash register/EBT system checks the participant's available food
prescription balance right then.
addition to the safer, easier and more convenient way to shop, the eWIC process
will also provide easier and faster service at the local WIC office.
The same card is used at each appointment.
More time talking about the family’s health.
The new food package is automatically added to the eWIC card.
Retailers, the change to eWIC will:
Reduce the amount of time that is spent on a
WIC sale per family.
Improve processing of WIC benefits, customer
service and reduce confusion on which foods items are authorized for purchase.
During the pilot and statewide rollout, the
stores could be accepting both checks and the eWIC card. This will continue through
2016 until the last issued check has been processed.
Connecticut’s Implementation Timeline
Connecticut WIC Program began work on the transition to eWIC with Xerox.
WIC Program will work with the authorized WIC vendors to upgrade their cash
register equipment in preparation for processing eWIC transactions.
WIC Program local agency staff will begin to educate families on the transition to eWIC
2016-March 2016 (eWIC Pilot)
East Hartford Local Agency will implement eWIC as the first agency.
Hartford Local Agencies will transition to eWIC.
Meriden and Middletown Local Agencies will transition to eWIC.
2016-June 2016 (Statewide Rollout-in order)
New Haven Hospital
Keep checking the website for updates.
Have questions or comments about the transition to eWIC cards?