Enrollees can identify a WIC store from signs displayed on doors and windows typically. To be a participating WIC grocery store, the vendor must: Carry and have a minimum stock of WIC-approved foods; Have prices comparable to others in the area; Have approval to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
Some areas may have additional requirements, such as participation in WIC training once every 12 months or receiving less than 50 percent of its sales from the WIC program.
It is the state’s responsibility to approve groceries stores, and they do not need to approve all qualified vendors. As of writing, about 46,000 stores accept WIC benefits.
Almost all states use an EBT card for WIC benefits, and many territories, such as Puerto Rico and Indian Tribal Organizations, are in the middle of implementing a system. The WIC card limits purchases and where participants can use funds, such as at casinos and adult venues.
A WIC card is similar to using a debit card, as it has a magnetic stripe to use at the payment terminal. Participants can use up to the amount of allowance on their card. They will not be able to use more than what is available on the card at the time of purchase.
Participants will not be able to buy alcohol, tobacco, and nonfood items, such as paper goods and household supplies. The WIC grocery list also restricts certain food items not a part of the individual’s food package.
By means of example, participants may purchase fruit and vegetable juices but not sodas. Likewise, the WIC grocery card may permit yogurt but not yogurt products with additional ingredients, like granola or candy pieces.
Many WIC grocery stores have ‘WIC’ printed on labels of acceptable products. Participants may only need to keep track of how much of food – such as the number of eggs, cheese, and milk – they purchase in a month.
The foods available to purchase with WIC benefits must meet federal and state standards. Food eligibility depends on the nutrient profile, price, availability, size, and more.
Enrollees can also find approved WIC groceries at farmers’ markets. Participants may receive additional coupons for approved farmers’ market purchases. The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons are available in 49 states. Colorado and other territories do not offer this option at this time.
Participants who need assistance figuring out where and how to use their WIC card can contact their local agency. One of the WIC program’s benefits is food and nutrition counseling.