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Public Health and Wellness Updates to Electronic Cards for WIC Purchases

Monday October 3, 2011

The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness will begin using a new upgraded web-based system to issue benefits for the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program beginning Monday, October 3.

WIC is a program designed to influence lifetime nutrition and health behavior in low income women who are pregnant and for postpartum mothers and their children younger the 5 years old who need nutritional help.

New eWIC cards will give families access to benefits without the delay and stigma of paper food instruments. Kentucky is one of the first states in the country to develop and test the use of on-line integrated technology for WIC.

Under the old system, WIC participants were issued multiple paper vouchers to purchase WIC approved items in authorized stores. All items listed on a food instrument needed to be purchased at one time or the benefits would be lost for that benefit period. With the eWIC card, WIC participants now have the flexibility to purchase WIC approved items at any time during the benefit period. This enhances the shopping experience of WIC customers by ensuring confidentiality and results in a faster and smoother checkout.

At many stores, such as Kroger and Walmart, WIC participants will be able to swipe their eWIC cards through the same device that accepts credit and debit cards. Some smaller neighborhood retailers will accept the new eWIC cards using a separate device at checkout.

Retailers will no longer have to manually complete paper food instruments. At checkout the eWIC card will ensure the participant purchases only WIC authorized foods in correct quantities, and removes the margin of cashier error during WIC transactions.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, WIC offers nutrition education and services; breastfeeding promotion and education; monthly food prescription of nutritious foods; and access to other maternal, prenatal and pediatric health-care services.

For more information, visit www.louisvilleky.gov/health or phone 574-6676.

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