New System Coming Soon for Families Receiving WIC Benefits
With many laid off or furloughed from jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, nutrition may be even harder to come by for some women-in-need with infants or toddlers. It seems the state of Mississippi is adding “choice” to the state’s program to aid needy mothers in the supply of infant formula and other food items.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), benefits from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will soon transition from a “direct distribution food system” to a “retail food system.” What this means is participating families will begin receiving WIC benefits via EBT card.
In the past, food items were picked up at a WIC food center. The new system will instead allow families to redeem benefits by using an eWIC card at “approved grocery stores and pharmacies of their choice.” In most cases, an approved store will be located within a 15-mile radius of the family’s home.
The first pilot areas to make the transition include Forest and Lauderdale counties. The transition will happen later in 2020, with other counties to be added in phases between January and April, 2021.
“This will allow WIC participants to use their eWIC card at grocery stores and pharmacies where they will be able to choose their WIC benefit items,” MSDH WIC program director Diane Hargrove said via press release. “They’ll have access to a wider variety of WIC-approved food products at various sites during more hours of operation.”
For more information on the programs of the MSDH, visit HealthyMS.com.