Brunswick County is one of seven counties in North Carolina chosen to participate in the pilot roll-out of North Carolina WIC’s electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system, or eWIC.
With the eWIC program, Brunswick County will issue eWIC cards, similar to debit cards, instead of paper food vouchers to WIC clients. Food benefits are pre-loaded into an electronic benefit account that the WIC client accesses with the eWIC card.
The new cards are easier and more convenient for both clients and vendors at check out, and reduce stigma for clients as they look like other debit or credit cards. An associated app lets participants check which foods are available in their account and approved for their family, and the eWIC system tells clients and cashiers at check out which foods are authorized WIC foods without the need to separate WIC foods from other purchases in most cases. The cards can also be deactivated without loss of benefits in the event a card is lost.
“We are optimistic that the eWIC system will enhance our ability to deliver much-needed nutritional support to Brunswick County’s women and children,” said Brunswick County Health Director Cris Harrelson.
The pilot period will run from Oct. 4 to Dec. 31, 2017. After that time, the remainder of the state will transition to eWIC.