The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has announced the completion of the statewide rollout of a new electronic benefit transfer card for South Carolina families.
Now offered by the South Carolina Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, the new eWIC card is a convenient, paperless option that program participants can use to redeem their monthly food benefits.
“eWIC allows South Carolina families to access healthy foods easier than ever before,” said DHEC Director Rick Toomey. “By supporting the health of our state’s moms and babies, we are promoting our shared vision of healthy people living in healthy communities.”
WIC is a federally funded special supplemental nutrition program serving low- and moderate-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. In South Carolina, the WIC program, which has approximately 72,000 participants, is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by DHEC.
“This is an exciting time for WIC participants and DHEC,” said South Carolina State WIC Director Berry Kelly. “The goal of the new card is to better serve families and improve the shopping experience at the point of sale. eWIC shoppers can expect a more pleasant shopping experience with the freedom to buy nutritious food items when needed and our stores can expect faster payment and fewer checkout errors.”
The transition to eWIC is part of a federal mandate from USDA requiring all WIC state agencies to implement electronic benefit transfer (EBT) systems by 2020. South Carolina WIC successfully completed its statewide transition to eWIC in late 2019.
“The Food and Nutrition Service applauds the WIC team for their dedication exhibited over the past three years to make eWIC a reality in South Carolina,” said FNS Regional Administrator, Willie Taylor. “The transition to eWIC advances our goal to improve customer service. WIC is a crucial contributor to infant and maternal health, and we want to make sure the program is accessible and relevant to all who need it. We appreciate South Carolina for answering the charge to implement eWIC ahead of the mandated timeline.”
Since the start of the new year, more than 43,000 eWIC cards have been issued, 25,000 participants have downloaded the WIC mobile app, and 635 WIC authorized vendors have been approved.
“My doctor turned me onto the WIC program and the help and support my family received was invaluable,” said KoKo, South Carolina radio personality and former WIC participant. “Today, my boys are healthy, strong and continue to strive. WIC Works!”
Through South Carolina’s eWIC system, benefits are pre-loaded onto cards that look like a debit or credit cards and have a secure four-digit PIN. The new cards allow:
- WIC participants and stores to check if a food item is WIC approved;
- Families to buy WIC foods in as many shopping trips as they need throughout the month; and
- For the automatic removal of items from the card, once purchased.
eWIC participants can also use the new SC WIC mobile app to view remaining benefits, scan a UPC while shopping to see if an item is WIC- approved, and view details on upcoming appointments.
For more information about WIC and eWIC, visit scdhec.gov/wic.