Southern Seven Health Department reports new WIC EBT card available
Southern Seven Health Department reports the Illinois Department of Human Services, IDHS, is offering state-wide use of Electronic Benefits Transfer, EBT, for the Women, Infants & Children’s, WIC, Nutrition Program.
The new Illinois eWIC card is designed to make this federal nutritional service a more positive experience for both families and retailers, the health departed shared in a news release.
Until recently, recipients of the WIC program were given food vouchers they could use at authorized vendors.
With the new eWIC benefit delivery system, clients will use a WIC card that is similar to a debit card.
Participants will see more food choices and experience faster, more flexible, and easier shopping, with a more secure transaction process for families and retailers.
The new EBT delivery also provides a more private and discreet transaction for WIC families, Southern Seven Health Department said.
With the eWIC card, families will be able to purchase food as needed and not all at once, as is the process with the previous paper voucher system, with all family benefits available on one card.
The new eWIC system, which is already in use in some states, is designed to reduce errors because approved foods, effective dates and benefit amounts are validated by the system, and not cashiers, at the time of transaction.
WIC is a federal nutrition program that provides nutrition education, nutrition counseling, breast-feeding support, nutritious foods, and referral to other services.
The program is designed to ensure healthy pregnancies, birth outcomes and growth and development for children up to age 5.
Some of the foods included in the program are whole wheat bread and tortillas, cereal, milk, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, beans and fruit and vegetables.
Infants can receive infant cereal, formula and jarred infant fruits, vegetables and meats.
With the EBT, families will have more choices, including bulgar, whole wheat tortillas, yogurt, tofu and fresh fruits and vegetables for older infants.
WIC clinics are available throughout Southern Seven Health Department to serve families, especially pregnant women, new mothers, infants and preschool children.
Appointments are customized to meet the needs of the family.
To qualify for WIC, a family must be income eligible, reside in Illinois and be one of the categories served: pregnant, postpartum, breast-feeding or have children under age 5.
Families with a low to medium income and those who are part of other programs such as foster care, SNAP or TANF are automatically eligible.
Southern Seven Health Department noted those who don’t qualify for SNAP may still be income eligible for WIC.
For example, a family of four with an income of $48,470 can still qualify for WIC.
Making services more customer friendly and reducing the stigma through eWIC cards gives families the tools to maintain a healthy and balanced diet during a critical time of child development and growth, the health department said.
For more information about WIC and the new eWIC EBT card, contact Southern Seven Health Department at 618-634-2297 or visit www.southern7.org.