Participants in the Mississippi State Department of Health Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children in two counties might experience a little more convenience starting next month.
If the eWIC Card pilot program in Lauderdale and Forrest counties is successful, it should eventually be rolled out to all 82 counties, according to a release from MSDH this week.
“WIC participants will go from using paper vouchers for approved items to be picked up at a WIC food center to using an eWIC card to redeem benefits at approved grocery stores and pharmacies of their choice,” said Diane Hargrove, Director of the MSDH WIC program. “They’ll have access to a broader variety of WIC-approved food products at more sites during extended store hours versus the Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. warehouse hours.”
Starting Monday, Feb. 1, the release said, participants in those counties will start receiving eWIC cards at their scheduled appointments.
If a participant’s WIC food pick-up time comes before their next appointment, they should use their voucher to pick up at the food center as usual. All food centers will remain open until everyone in each county has an eWIC card.
Participants will be able to use the eWIC card much like an EBT card, MSDH said.
In most locations there will be an approved grocery store and pharmacy within a 20-mile radius for metro areas and 30-mile radius for rural areas, of their local WIC clinic. This will allow WIC to achieve its goal more effectively, which is to provide nutrition education, breastfeeding support and supplemental food for eligible pregnant, post-partum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of 5.
The date of the second pilot, which will be in Lee county, will be announced soon. The rest of the counties are tentatively scheduled to rollout from April 12 to June 11, 2021.
To keep up with the eWIC card updates, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/eWIC and follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.