The Louisiana Women, Infants and Children program has completed the transition from paper vouchers to electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. The WIC program began this transition in north Louisiana in July 2019 and completed the process statewide this month.
The shift to issuing benefits through a card will allow recipients more flexibility in redeeming those benefits. With paper vouchers, recipients were required to redeem all of the benefits listed on the voucher at one time. However, recipients will now be able to redeem only what they want and need within a given month.
"This transition will allow WIC recipients to better spread out their benefits over the month and give them the option of using only what they need when they need it," said Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health's Office of Public Health. "The new EBT cards will allow for a more seamless transaction at participating grocery stores and will remove any stigma associated with redeeming these critical benefits."
Recipients and staff are benefiting from a more up-to-date process at WIC clinics and an improved shopping experience at grocery stores. These modernized and efficient systems also allow the WIC program to further improve program integrity.
In addition to the launch of the EBT cards, Louisiana WIC has launched the WIC Shopper app. Downloadable from the Apple App Store and Google Play [t.e2ma.net], this smartphone app allows users to find WIC-authorized grocery stores, find WIC clinics, and scan food items to determine if they are WIC-approved.
"We are always working to enhance the nutritional education and experiences of our clients. We are pleased that we have been able to complete this transition to make grocery shopping easier for the people we serve," said Jennifer Nicklas, interim director for the Bureau of Nutrition Services within the Louisiana Department of Health.
Louisiana has completed this transition well ahead of the federally mandated deadline of October 2020.
For more information about the Louisiana Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (LA WIC) visit www.louisianawic.org.