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WIC COVID-19 Waivers

End of the Public Health Emergency Unwinding Efforts

Additional WIC Flexibilities to Support Outreach, Innovation, and Modernization Efforts through ARPA Nationwide Waivers - Supporting Remote WIC Operations - This letter provides WIC state agencies the opportunity to opt into waivers to modernize WIC through building or enhancing remote services.


Key Flexibilities

Remote Benefit Issuance - FNS is allowing WIC agencies to issue benefits remotely so participants don’t have to pick up their WIC benefits in person.

Physical Presence - FNS is allowing participants to enroll or re-enroll in WIC without visiting a clinic in person and postpone certain medical tests.

Extensions of Approved - FNS is extending all current waivers through the end of the pandemic for all WIC state agencies that choose to continue operations under such waivers [Extension 2] [Extension 3]


Additional Flexibilities

Four Month Benefit Issuance (offline EBT systems) - FNS is allowing WIC state agencies to issue up to four months of benefits on EBT cards at one time for those state agencies with offline systems, to reduce the need for contact with WIC staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Direct Distribution - FNS is allowing WIC agencies that currently operate direct distribution models to issue two months of benefits to participants at one time due to closures and need for social distancing.

Extended Certifications - FNS is providing an extension of the certification period of up to 90 days for a child receiving Food Package IV category only.

FMNP Agreement - FNS is allowing FMNP state agencies to extend currently expiring agreements with authorized farmers, roadside stands, and/or farmers’ markets by one year.

FMNP Monitoring - FNS has provided flexibilities to approved state agencies for certain monitoring requirements for the WIC Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program.

FMNP Training - FNS is allowing FMNP state agencies to conduct initial training remotely.

Food Package Medical Documentation - FNS is allowing WIC state agencies to extend existing benefits by no more than two months for participants with documented qualifying conditions.

Food Package Substitution - FNS is allowing WIC state agencies to substitute certain food package items when availability is limited. WIC state agencies can also change their approved-foods lists as needed.

Local Agency Monitoring - FNS is allowing WIC agencies to conduct local agency monitoring reviewing virtually instead of onsite. WIC agencies must still conduct monitoring reviews of each local agency at least biennially.

Minimum Stocking Requirements - FNS is working with states to address supply challenges for stores that accept WIC.

Non-Retail 2 Month Issuance - FNS is allowing those state agencies using a home delivery and/or direct distribution systems to issue two months of exempt infant formula at one time.

Separation of Duties - FNS is allowing single employees to determine eligibility for all certification criteria and issuing food instruments, cash-value vouchers, or supplemental food for the same participant at WIC agencies to promote social distancing at time of certification.

Transaction without Presence of Cashier - FNS working with state agencies to find new ways to allow WIC transactions and is allowing WIC state agencies to waive the requirement that WIC transactions occur in the presence of a cashier.

Treatment of Funds Received Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) - An overview of the treatment of rebates and additional unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act when conducting a WIC income eligibility determination.

Vendor Agreement Extension - FNS is allowing state agencies to postpone some vendor reauthorization actions by extending expiring vendor agreements by one year.

Vendor Compliance Investigation - FNS is waiving the minimum requirement for state agency vendor compliance investigations.

Vendor Routine Monitoring - FNS is waiving minimum requirements for routine vendor monitoring requirements.

Vendor Preauthorization – FNS is removing the requirement for onsite preauthorization visits and allowing these visits to be done onsite after the public health emergency and applicable state and local social distancing orders are lifted.

WIC  Waiver Flexibilities Tribal Waiver Flexibilities


Other Resources

Additional Funding for WIC: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided FNS with $390 million for FY 2021, to remain available through FY 2024, to carry out outreach, innovation and program modernization efforts, including appropriate waivers and flexibility, to increase participation and redemption of benefits.

WIC Question & Answers: Information on the WIC program responses to COVID-19, including authorities provided through FFCRA.


Disclaimer: This page displays all waivers issued by FNS. Some waivers have expired or been inactivated at the state agency’s discretion.

Page updated: March 15, 2023