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WIC Launches EBT Card Pilot Program In Johnson Co. Expanding To Monroe And Greene Counties In March
Updated February 19, 2016 7:26 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana State Department of Health's Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program is issuing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards in Johnson County as part of a pilot program designed to make it simpler to utilize WIC benefits.

The pilot program is scheduled to expand into Monroe and Greene Counties in March. The remainder of the state will be rolled out regionally between June and September.

The EBT program launched Feb. 16. It modernizes benefit delivery for the Indiana WIC Program by replacing paper checks with cards that look and function similar to debit cards, said Eldon Whetstone, interim director of the Indiana WIC Program.

Program participants will continue to be prescribed food packages that are tailored to their nutritional needs, and Indiana WIC-authorized grocery retailers will activate systems programmed to recognize foods that are allowable under WIC and specifically prescribed to individual participants.

The amount of WIC food benefits allocated to each participant will not change, but individuals will have greater flexibility in how to use them.

Indiana is one of only 17 states nationwide that has transitioned to WIC EBT and is well ahead of a federal mandate that all states must implement EBT by 2020.

"EBT represents a tremendous step forward for the Indiana WIC Program," Whetstone said. "WIC participants will no longer have to use multiple paper checks in grocery store checkout lanes, and they will be able to shop for benefits as they need them instead of being limited to what is on a specific check."

EBT improves the WIC experience for participants and authorized retailers by:

  • Allowing participants to buy as many or as few of their authorized foods they want each shopping trip. Checks require all items to be purchased at once or be forfeited.
  • Providing a receipt showing remaining benefits for the month at the end of each transaction.
  • Creating an easier checkout process for cashiers and customers.
  • Eliminating the hassles and stigma associated with using oversized paper checks.
WIC is a federally funded supplemental nutrition program that provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support and nutrition education to pregnant women, postpartum women, breastfeeding mothers and children up to the age of 5 who are at health or nutritional risk and income eligible to receive WIC benefits. WIC has existed for more than 40 years and has proven to be a cost-effective public health program. Indiana WIC serves approximately 152,000 Hoosiers each month in more than 135 WIC clinics statewide. For more information and to find a WIC clinic visit www.wic.in.gov, or call (800) 522-0874. Follow WIC on Twitter www.twitter.com/IndianaWIC.

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