State switches WIC program from paper to debit cards

$3M federal money to help state transfer program

Nearly $3 million in federal money will help the state replace paper vouchers with debit cards for the Women, Infants and Children food program.

Department of Health Service Secretary Kitty Rhoades said the electronic benefits transfer system, or EBT, will reduce errors and make it easier to detect and prevent fraud.

A health services study found that moving from paper vouchers to the cards will improve WIC processing for grocery stores and pharmacies. Rhoades said it should also reduce confusion about which items are allowed for purchase.

The WIC program provides food and breastfeeding education to low- and moderate-income women and their children up to age five.

In Wisconsin, the program serves 113,000 participants in 71,000 households. There are 1,200 WIC-authorized grocery stores and pharmacies.