South Carolina families in the Midlands with WIC benefits will be breezing through checkout lines. September 6 marked the day the completion of the first phase of the SC WIC team’s eWIC project, which allows participants to redeem their monthly benefits via an electronic benefit transfer system.
Midlands health clinics will issue eWIC cards that can be used to buy certain foods at WIC-approved grocery stores. The Midlands region includes Aiken, Barnwell, Chester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Richland, Saluda, and York counties.
“In May we began testing the new system with our Kershaw County pilot and now we’re moving across the region,” said Berry Kelly, state WIC director. “Both our participants and vendors are excited about this transition as it will make the shopping experience simple and fast.”
Additionally, on September 16, all corporate stores statewide will accept eWIC. This means all WIC families with eWIC cards can shop at all WIC-approved corporate stores. Those stores are Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Ingles, Kroger, Lowes Foods, Publix, Target and Walmart.
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With the eWIC card, shopping will be quick, easy and convenient for WIC families and grocery stores. Participants will save time at checkout and can buy WIC foods in as many shopping trips as they need throughout the month. Benefits will be loaded onto cards like a debit or credit card with a secret four-digit PIN.
The eWIC transition is a part of a federal mandate from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) directing all WIC state agencies to implement electronic systems by 2020.
The Midlands is the first region in S.C. to completely implement eWIC but the process is far from over. S.C. WIC will phase in eWIC cards across the rest of the state. Next up is the Pee Dee region followed by Lowcountry and Upstate. By the end of November, the entire state will have eWIC.
If you are a father, mother, grandparent, foster parent, or other legal guardians of a child under 5, you may be eligible for WIC. To find out, call 1-855-4-SCDHEC (1-855-472-3432) to schedule an appointment.
Learn more about WIC and eWIC at scdhec.gov/ewic.
WIC serves more than 80,000 women, infants, and children each month with services provided at over 70 clinics throughout the state. WIC food benefits can be redeemed at over 600 authorized WIC stores across the state. WIC is funded and monitored by the USDA.