(WIAT) — Alabama’s WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program is getting an update as new eWIC cards are rolled out to recipients.
State officials say the new cards, which replace the current paper-based “food instruments” and cash-value vouchers, will result in benefits for both the users and the vendors, including smoother checkout transactions, reduced checkout time, automatic electronic payments to vendors, and less stigma for WIC participants.
Ellie Taylor, president of the Alabama Grocers Association, explained, “It takes the honorous off the cashier in the store to have to check the WIC vouchers, to check the WIC signature, check and make sure it’s the correct participant. Now they will have the card, they will put it in, they’ll insert a pin number just like you do with any other kind of debit card you use from your bank. It just makes that customer experience so much better not only for the WIC participant but also for all the other customers in the store.”
Each month, more than 120,000 participants receive WIC benefits through county health departments and two private local agencies. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the mission of the program is to improve the health and nutritional status of women, infants and children during critical times of growth and development.
Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery counties are currently using the card.
Rollout will start on April 1 in Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Etowah, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Randolph, Russell, St. Clair, Shelby, Talladega and Tallapoosa counties.
Following that will be the Northern District of the ADPH in June, West Central and Jefferson Districts in July, and Southeastern, Mobile, and Southwestern Districts in August.
Learn more about WIC and eWIC cards here.