Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About eWIC

WIC Participants

Q: What is eWIC?

A: Over the first half of 2017, all WIC Fruit and Vegetable Checks (FVC) distributed in Maryland will transition from a paper check to an electronic benefit (on a debit-style card). The WIC FVC is the check distributed in denominations of $8, $11, and $17.

Q: When will my WIC FVC benefits go electronic?

A: Each county is different. The transition is happening gradually, with all Maryland counties scheduled to go electronic by July 1, 2017. You can find out when your benefits will change over by clicking here.

Q: I heard that I can no longer use my WIC checks at farmers markets. Is that true?

A: In short, no. But there are a few pieces to understand. Here’s the breakdown:

Q: Are the $5 Farmers Market checks changing too?

A: The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) program– also known as “farmers market checks”– is not going electronic. The $5 checks will remain paper, and you can spend them exactly as you had before. Make sure to ask about them the next time you visit your WIC clinic!

Market Managers

Q: What is eWIC and how does it affect my market?

A: Over the first half of 2017, all WIC Fruit and Vegetable Checks (FVC) distributed in Maryland will transition from a paper check to an electronic benefit (on a debit-style card). The WIC FVC is the check distributed in denominations of $8, $11, and $17. Any market shopper looking to spend their paper WIC FVC at your market may do so, exactly as they normally would. However, farmers markets will not be equipped with the technology to accept the electronic WIC FVC benefit during the 2017 market season.

Q: Are the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks changing too?

A: The FMNP program will remain paper. These checks provide an important source of revenue for farmers selling through Maryland farmers markets, and we want to make sure that WIC participants are clear that FMNP can be used at markets throughout the 2017 season. Consider how you can conduct outreach to promote FMNP in your community.

Q: What’s the difference between WIC FVC and FMNP?

A: A handy overview of the two programs is available here.

Q: Are all of the farmers at my market aware of the eWIC changes?

A: We hope so. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), which oversees the WIC program, has been in communication with all WIC vendors. However, we strongly urge you to check in with all of your farmers and make sure that they understand the change. If they have any questions or concerns, please encourage them to reach out to Michele Levy at MDFMA- mlevy@marylandfma.org

Q: I’m really concerned that farmers markets have been cut out of the WIC program! What’s MDFMA doing to help?

A: We share your concern. Please know that we’ve been working with DHMH since the roll-out was first proposed and will continue to push for a wireless eWIC solution that includes farmers markets. If you’re interested in learning more and/or supporting this effort, please contact Michele Levy at mlevy@marylandfma.org

Farmers

Q: What is eWIC and how does it affect my business?

A: Over the first half of 2017, all WIC Fruit and Vegetable Checks (FVC) distributed in Maryland will transition from a paper check to an electronic benefit (on a debit-style card). The WIC FVC is the check distributed in denominations of $8, $11, and $17. Any market shopper looking to spend their paper WIC FVC at your stand may do so, exactly as they normally would. However, farmers and farmers markets will not be equipped with the technology to accept the electronic WIC FVC benefit during the 2017 market season.

Q: Can I still accept the $5 WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks?

A: Absolutely! The FMNP program for WIC and Seniors is not changing. You can accept these checks exactly as you have in the past. A handy overview of the FVC and FMNP checks is available here.

Q: I’m really concerned that farmers markets have been cut out of the WIC program! What’s MDFMA doing to help?

A: We share your concern. Please know that we’ve been working with DHMH since the roll-out was first proposed and will continue to push for a wireless eWIC solution that includes farmers markets. If you’re interested in learning more and/or supporting this effort, please contact Michele Levy at mlevy@marylandfma.org