WIC switches to debit cards

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By Special to the Chronicle

The Florida Department of Health is modernizing its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. In this age of paperless banking, Florida WIC has continued issuing paper checks to its clients. 

Now, instead of paper checks, recipients will be issued cards that will operate as a debit or credit card. 

“When they come in on Monday to the Lecanto office or Crystal River office, they will be issued one EBT card for the family.” Citrus County WIC nutrition director Carol Burke said. “This card will be used over and over with the benefits loaded onto the card rather than in multiple checks.

“With the EBT card, they can choose which of the food items they need at the time, swipe their card and it gets deducted. It’s a lot easier for clients and much easier for the stores to redeem the benefits.”

WIC is a federally funded nutrition program that provides food and nutrition education to expectant and new mothers and their babies and children. In Citrus County, the program provides benefits to about 3,000 participants each month.

The new system will begin on Monday, Feb. 3, in the Lecanto and Crystal River sites, and on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in the Inverness site. 

The state began converting to the EBT system for WIC participants in Miami-Dade County and is gradually working north. The entire state will be using the electronic benefits transfer card system by April.

For information regarding the WIC program in Citrus County, call 352-726-5222.