State begins issuing eWIC cards

New electronic benefits transfer cards are being produced by the state for participants in the Special nutrition program for women, infants and children to replace checks the program has issued for nearly 40 years to help provide food for at risk families.

According to the Alaska Division of Public Assistance the program began issuing the eWIC cards in northern Southeast Alaska on Feb. 21.

The transition from checks to the eWIC card is intended to modernize shopping for WIC’s participants and grocery stores, to speed and ease check-out procedures. The card is intended to simplify transactions at checkout and help identify which foods may be purchased with this card, which will have off of a family’s WIC benefits on one account so they can purchase food as needed, rather than all at once.

The next phase of the pilot project is set to begin March 11 in Ketchikan, Sitka, Metlakatla and communities on Prince of Wales Island. Distribution for cards for other recipients is to begin in June.