The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program has received a $5.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services to implement an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system. The grant is a two-year technology grant to be used by September 30, 2015 to transition the Iowa WIC Program from a paper-based food benefit delivery system to an electronic system. All state WIC Programs are mandated to transition to an EBT system by October 1, 2020 by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
The funding will be used to select a full-service WIC EBT contractor to provide the system and support needed. Currently WIC benefits are issued to WIC participants in the form of a paper check that can be used to purchase specific nutritionally-appropriate foods at local WIC-approved grocery stores. An EBT system issues WIC benefits using a plastic card similar to a debit card.
The WIC Program provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education and counseling to low-income, nutritionally at-risk women, infants (up to their 1st birthday), and children (up to their 5th birthday). The Iowa WIC Program served approximately 69,159 participants each month last year.
For more information on WIC, visit the USDA web site at www.fns.usda.gov/wic/aboutwic/. For more information on Iowa WIC EBT (eWIC), visit www.idph.state.ia.us/wic/eWIC.aspx.