When you shop at a WIC grocery store you will need to use a specific card supplied by the program to make your food purchases. Shopping with your card from WIC might have slightly different requirements depending on the state in which you live. Each store might have its own policies as well.

Still, many of the steps you need to take when buying food with a government-provided benefits card are the same nationwide.

Several different types of cards are associated with food-based benefits programs. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is the electronic system through which SNAP (food stamps) beneficiaries purchase approved food items. An EBT card is the physical card/item used to make such purchases. Each month, EBT beneficiaries receive a specified amount on their cards. This amount is calculated based on recipient income and federal, state and program policies. 

Everything To Know About EBT Cards and WIC Card Purchases
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The amount loaded onto your card might fluctuate frequently throughout the year. This is due to government policies and income threshold requirements changing based on regional and national economic statistics. Please note: EBT cards are not redeemable for cash, nor do they hold any cash value. Misuse of your EBT card is illegal and might result in the suspension or termination of your benefits privileges.

P-EBT benefits were created as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). These benefits and associated cards function similar to benefits and cards provided to SNAP recipients. The primary difference is P-EBT benefits are designated for children who would have otherwise received free or low-cost meals at school but could not due to COVID-19-related school closures.

Your WIC card is specific to the WIC program and its applicable food benefits. Before you shop at your preferred WIC store, it is important to verify the balance on your program card. Protecting your card is also vital, which is partially done through proper activation. Contact the WIC Card Line phone number (located on the back of your card). 

Enter the sixteen-digit card number when prompted to do so. Enter your date of birth and zip code when further prompted to do so. Next, you will be required to choose a four-digit personal identification number (PIN). Your PIN is crucial to the efficacy of your card.

This means the PIN you choose must be easy for you to remember but challenging for uninvited users to guess. You will also need to enter your PIN correctly each time you check out at your favorite WIC grocer.

Sharing your PIN with another person is ill-advised. Your WIC benefits are only loaded once per benefit period for as long as you are eligible to receive them. Any person with your PIN is capable of using your card and depleting your benefits. Store your card in a safe, secure location. Never write your PIN where another person might find it. If you lose or misplace your WIC card or realize it is stolen, contact the appropriate WIC agency immediately to suspend your benefits and receive a replacement card.

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