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eWIC Electronic Benefits Rollout Deemed a Success

The SRPMIC WIC staff are done with WIC paper checks and are enjoying the transition to eWIC.

WIC is considered one of the most successful, cost-effective and important nutrition intervention programs in the country. Now the program has gotten easier for participants to use: the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has just completed the transition to eWIC.

In October 2017, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) introduced eWIC to the Community. The eWIC system allows WIC recipients to purchase WIC foods with a card that can be used just like a debit card. The new card replaces WIC paper checks.

WIC families in the Community have joined the ITCA eWIC pilot site and the Gila River Indian Community in adopting the new system.

“The eWIC transition [within the] Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community [has been] a success,” said Community Health and Nutrition Supervisor Maggie Fisher. “WIC members love it … [because there is no more] worrying about losing checks. With the WICshopper app, all you need is your eWIC card and smartphone to be able to shop, and in certain situations WIC clients can be issued benefits without having to come to the clinic.”

From now on, WIC benefits will be added directly to the eWIC card, making the checkout process at the grocery store easier and providing more flexibility for WIC participants.

Program participants now are able to purchase allowable WIC foods at grocery stores without the hassle of separate checks with specific items. The new card also eliminates the stigma that some families feel when shopping with WIC paper checks.

Some of the program’s new features:

• Combined food packages (i.e., two children who each get three gallons of milk will be listed as six gallons of milk on the family’s account)

The new eWIC system allows WIC recipients to purchase WIC foods with a card that can be used just like a debit card. The new card replaces WIC paper checks.
• Participants can shop for approved WIC items at any time throughout the designated month. Before, paper checks had a list of items you had to shop for at that time, and items could not be split up.

• A WIC app is available so users can manage their account, check balances and view approved items. A benefits list can be printed with the user’s current balance and available foods at the grocery store.

“eWIC is easier because I don’t have to carry a book and checks. Sometimes they fall out and get lost,” said WIC participant Tara Hill. “My favorite thing about it is there’s no paper trail and I don’t have to purchase everything at once.”

“The card is more convenient and easier to manage. The process of buying what you need as you need it is a lot easier,” said WIC participant Janalee Hoskins. “Being able to manage your benefits is the best part of this transition.”

Moms and caregivers are encouraged to reach out to the SRPMIC WIC program for WIC assistance in helping to raise healthy children. In addition to the successful rollout of eWIC, SRPMIC WIC provides nutrition education (also available online through the WICSmart app), healthy foods for families, a community of support, referrals and breastfeeding classes for moms.

For more information, contact the SRPMIC WIC at (480) 362-7300.