Electronic WIC starts in Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery; Phase-in continues through summer

The Alabama Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental foods program is transitioning from a paper-based to an electronic-based delivery system known as eWIC. Food benefits automatically will be added onto a card, much like a debit card. The first phase began March 18 in Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery counties.

The phase-in of the Alabama Department of Public Health program will continue with four other Monday roll-out dates set in different areas of the state each month between now and August. The next implementation date is April 1, in east-central and northeast Alabama. A map of the districts and roll-out dates for each can be found here.

Through Sept. 30, the department will continue to conduct a vendor readiness program for retailers. The training is two months prior to the roll-out date in your area. You should also received an eWIC contract amendment two months out. The Health Department asks that retailers ensure cashiers are familiar with eWIC before the roll-out in your area. Since each cash register system is different, the department advises “it is up to you to provide a hands-on training of your specific system.” The state stopped accepting new WIC vendor applications at 5 p.m. Nov. 30, 2018. WIC renewal applications were due Feb. 28. If you are an existing vendor, Public Health should have notified you of this new system.

The system requires retailers to map/link produce to an Alabama WIC-approved Price Look-Up (PLU) code. This means that any WIC-approved fresh fruit or vegetable without an International Federation of Produce Standards (IFPS)-approved PLU must be mapped/linked to an IFPS-approved PLU prior to your store’s roll-out.

>> Questions about eWIC? Send them to: alvendorwic@adph.state.al.us

The electronic system should ease transactions with WIC participants as cash registers and point-of-sale systems automatically identify allowed food items through the Universal Product Code (UPC) database. A PIN number will be used to verify participants, so cashiers don’t have to compare signatures. The Health Department said store accounts also will be credited within 24 to 48 hours for food benefits redeemed by participants, under this electronic system.

More information from ADPH on eWIC

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Originally posted Nov. 13, 2018