|DATE:||March 15, 2021|
|SUBJECT:||WIC and WIC FMNP Informational Memorandum: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (PL 117-2), Program Modernization|
Special Nutrition Programs
MARO, MPRO, MWRO, NERO,
SERO, SWRO and WRO
|WIC State Agency Directors
All WIC State Agencies
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (PL 117-2) into law. The Act provides $390 million for fiscal year (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. The Act is applicable to both the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP), both of which are authorized under Section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (PL 89-642) (42 USC 1786), as amended. Of note, the waiver authority provided under the Act does not apply to the content of the WIC food packages or regulatory nondiscrimination requirements.
The Department is eager to move forward with an unparalleled initiative in support of the Act to benefit WIC state and local agencies, and most critically, participants. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is currently developing plans to manage WIC and WIC FMNP outreach, innovation, and modernization efforts. Further, FNS is working to set forth overarching priorities for use of the funds.
USDA FNS values your partnership on WIC and WIC FMNP, and we thank you for your steadfast efforts to meet participants’ needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this first-time statutory authority and funding, the Department has the unique opportunity to work with program partners to substantially increase access to, and the use of, program benefits.
A diverse range of program stakeholders, to include WIC and WIC FMNP state and local agency partners, will be integral to success of this initiative. We look forward to working with you in the months ahead as we launch this crucial effort.
Supplemental Food Programs Division