This April, the CNMI Women, Infant, and Child Program, more popularly known as WIC, will launch the Electronic Benefit Transfer system, or eWIC, that replaces paper checks with a card for families that participate in the WIC program.
This transition from paper to an electronic platform significantly strengthens the program, increases efficiencies, and improves the WIC experience for participants and stakeholders.
WIC families will be able to shop conveniently and check out confidently.
WIC stores will experience faster turnaround times for reimbursement and WIC staff will have unprecedented access to data to improve the administration of the program.
The CNMI WIC Program will complete the transition by this summer, two years sooner than the October 2020 mandate of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
WIC is a federally funded supplemental nutrition and education program that serves almost 3,200 women, infants, and children each month throughout Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
It receives its funding through USDA and this transition to eWIC is required by U.S. Public Law 111-296 or the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
“All this would not have been possible without the support and leadership of the Arizona WIC program, lead partner for the HANDS consortium which includes Arizona, CNMI, American Samoa, Guam, and Navajo Nation,” said Erin Angela Camacho, the WIC program administrator. “For every step of this project [and any project we do], we have been at the table to provide input and to make sure that the product would meet the needs of the CNMI. We have been a part of the consortium since 2008.”
WIC families can also download the EzWIC app for Apple and Android devices. This will allow them to search the WIC Food List, scan items in the store to see if they are WIC approved, and check their current food benefit balance.
“CHCC is so excited to start this roll out that brings convenience to families when they shop for the food items that are nutritious and essential for pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children,” said CHCC CEO Esther L. Muña.
The WIC program provides healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and connections to community services for income-eligible women who are pregnant and postpartum, infants, and children up to 5 years old.
In fiscal year 2017, 14 CNMI WIC-approved grocery stores took in $3.2 million from WIC shoppers.
For more information about the WIC program, call them at (670) 664-4084/4083. (PR)