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Flexibilities to Support Outreach, Innovation, and Modernization in WIC

Resource type
Waivers
Technical Assistance & Guidance
Grants

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA, PL 117-2) gave USDA’s FNS time-limited waiver authority to support outreach, innovation, and modernization in WIC and the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). FNS encourages state agencies to consider modernization priorities and request waivers necessary to support project goals. FNS can only consider these type of waiver requests through Sept. 30, 2024.

Waivers are available to optimize virtual services in WIC and to improve the WIC shopping experience through online shopping and mobile pay projects. FNS encourages state agencies to provide virtual options to WIC participants to improve access to WIC’s life-changing benefits. Waivers are also available to remove unnecessary administrative burden and improve program access.

Check below for state agencies that have been granted ARPA waivers.

WIC Remote Services and Certification Waivers

Physical Presence

42 USC 1786(d)(3)(C)(i) and 7 CFR 246.7(o)(1), which require that each individual seeking to participate in the WIC program must be physically present at each certification or recertification in order to determine program eligibility.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Acoma, Canoncito & Laguna (ACL)
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • American Samoa
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Colorado
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • Eight Northern Indian Pueblos
  • Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indian Township
  • Indiana
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc (ITCA)
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, Inc (ITCN)
  • Inter-Tribal Council Inc of Oklahoma
  • Iowa
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  • Navajo Nation
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Northern Arapaho
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Omaha Nation
  • Oregon
  • Osage Nation
  • Otoe-Missouria Tribe
  • Pennsylvania
  • Pleasant Point Tribe
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • Santee Sioux Nation
  • Eastern Shoshone Tribe
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Three Affiliated Tribes
  • Utah
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Vermont
  • Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Remote Issuance

7 CFR 246.12(r)(4), which requires in-person pick up of food instruments when a participant is scheduled for nutrition education or has a subsequent certification appointment.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Acoma, Canoncito & Laguna (ACL)
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • American Samoa
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Choctaw Indians
  • Choctaw Nation
  • Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Colorado
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council
  • Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indian Township
  • Indiana
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, Inc
  • Inter-Tribal Council Inc of Oklahoma
  • Iowa
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  • Navajo Nation
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Northern Arapaho
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Omaha Nation Sioux
  • Oregon
  • Osage Nation
  • Otoe-Missouria Tribe
  • Pennsylvania
  • Pleasant Point Tribe
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • Santee Sioux
  • Shoshone Tribe
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Three Affiliated Tribes
  • Utah
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Vermont
  • Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Separation of Duties

246.4(a)(27)(iii), which requires the state agency to prohibit a single employee from determining eligibility for all certification criteria and issuing food instruments, cash-value vouchers or supplemental foods for the same participant or provide effective alternative policies and procedures when such prohibition is not possible.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Acoma, Canoncito & Laguna (ACL)
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Inter-Tribal Council Inc of Oklahoma
  • Montana
  • Navajo Nation
  • New Mexico
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Pueblo of Zuni
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington

WIC Vendor and Technology Waivers

Refunds or Exchanges (Online Shopping)

The waivers below allow for the return and use of electronic benefits when an online order is not fulfilled correctly.

7 CFR 246.12(h)(3)(ii)(A), which prohibits WIC vendors from providing unauthorized food items, nonfood items, cash, credit, refunds, or permitting exchanges for authorized supplemental foods obtained with food instruments or cash-value vouchers, except for exchanges of an identical authorized supplemental food item.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

7 CFR 246.12(bb)(1)(i), which requires state agencies, contractors, and authorized vendors participating in WIC to follow and demonstrate compliance with operating rules, standards, and technical requirements. The state agency has requested, and FNS approves, the waiver of the following operating rules only:

Operating Rule 4.7.8.3.a

Operating Rule 4.7.8.3.a, which does not allow for a voided transaction to be used to return or provide a credit for WIC foods.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Operating Rule 4.7.8.4.a

Operating Rule 4.7.8.4.a, which does not allow returns for WIC EBT purchases other than in exchange for the same brand, package size and type of food.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Time Periods for Transacting Food Instruments and Cash-Value Vouchers (Online Shopping)

7 CFR 246.12(h)(3)(iv), which requires WIC vendors to only accept food instruments or cash-value vouchers within a specified time period.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Chickasaw Nation (inactive)
  • Iowa (inactive)
  • Minnesota (inactive)
  • Nebraska (inactive)
Last Date of Use (Online Shopping)

7 CFR 246.12 (x)(2)(iii), which requires the last date electronic benefits may be used to obtain supplemental foods to be a minimum of 30 days from the first date.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
Signature on Food Instruments and Cash-Value Vouchers (Online Shopping)

7 CFR 246.12(h)(3)(vi), which requires that WIC transactions (including either the signing of a paper food instrument or cash-value voucher, or the entering of a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in EBT systems) occur in the presence of a cashier.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
PIN Requirements (Online Shopping and Mobile Pay)

7 CFR 246.12(h)(3)(vi), which requires that WIC transactions (including either the signing of a paper food instrument or cash-value voucher, or the entering of a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in EBT systems) occur in the presence of a cashier.

AND

7 CFR 246.12(bb)(1)(i), which requires state agencies, contractors, and authorized vendors participating in WIC to follow and demonstrate compliance with operating rules, standards, and technical requirements. The state agency has requested, and FNS approves, the waiver of the following operating rules only:

Operating Rule 9.1, which outlines specific PIN security requirements.

For security reasons, this waiver does not allow the state agency to allow vendors or vendor representatives to conduct WIC transactions by obtaining a participant’s EBT card number and PIN over the phone or through physical hand-off.

State agencies with approved waivers for online shopping:

  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)

State agencies with approved waivers for mobile pay:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Puerto Rico
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
Definitions – Vendor (Online Shopping)

7 CFR 246.2 - Vendor, specifically the requirement in the definition of vendor that each store must have a single, fixed location.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Definitions - Routine Monitoring (On-site) (Online Shopping and In-store)

7 CFR 246.2 - Routine Monitoring, which ​specifically waives the requirement in the definition of routine monitoring that requires the monitoring to take place on-site.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Texas
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wyoming
Definitions – Compliance Buy (On-site) (Online Shopping and In-store)

7 CFR 246.2 - Compliance Buy, compliance buy means a covert, on-site investigation in which a representative of the program poses as a participant, parent or caretaker of an infant or child participant, or proxy, transacts one or more food instruments or cash-value vouchers, and does not reveal during the visit that he or she is a program representative.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Texas
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wyoming
Onsite Preauthorization (Online Shopping and In-store)

7 CFR 246.12(g)(5), which requires state agencies to conduct an on-site visit prior to or at the time of a vendor’s initial authorization. This waives the requirement that this activity is conducted on site at the vendor’s location.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Acoma, Canoncito & Laguna (ACL)
  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council
  • Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Cashier Documented for Compliance Buy (Online Shopping and In-store)

7 CFR 246.12(j)(6)(ii)(B), which requires that for compliance buys, the state agency must document a description of the cashier involved in each transaction.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Texas
  • Wichita, Caddo & Delaware (WCD)
  • Wyoming
Mobile Pay

The waivers below allow for the return and use of electronic benefits when an online order is not fulfilled correctly.

7 CFR 246.2 - Food instrument, which defines a food instrument as a voucher, check, electronic benefits transfer card (EBT), coupon or other document which is used by a participant to obtain supplemental foods.

AND

7 CFR 246.12(b), which requires that food instruments be uniform within each type of system.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Pueblo of Isleta
  • Puerto Rico
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
Nonprofits at Farmers’ Markets

7 CFR 246.12(v), which states that the state agency “may authorize farmers, farmers’ markets, and/or roadside stands to accept the cash-value voucher for eligible fruits and vegetables.”

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • New Hampshire
Minimum Purchase Quantities

7 CFR 246.12(bb)(1)(i), Operating Rule 4.7.1.b, which requires state agencies, contractors, and authorized vendors participating in WIC to follow and demonstrate compliance with operating rules, standards, and technical requirements. The state agency has requested, and FNS approves, the waiver of the following operating rules only:

  • Operating Rule 4.7.1.b, which does not allow for minimum purchase amounts or quantities to be required for WIC participants.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
Vendor Equipage – Operational Costs

This waiver is not being offered in the current opt-in waiver process. Please reach out to your regional office if you are interested in pursuing this waiver.

7 CFR 246.12(aa)(4)(i) which prohibits a state agency from paying ongoing maintenance, processing fees or operational costs for any vendor, farmer or farmers' market utilizing multi-function systems and equipment, after completion of statewide EBT implementation.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Wisconsin
Vendor Equipage – Cost Sharing

This waiver is not being offered in the current opt-in waiver process. Please reach out to your regional office if you are interested in pursuing this waiver.

7 CFR 246.12(aa)(2), if WIC program equipment is multi-function equipment, the state agency shall develop cost sharing criteria with authorized WIC vendors, farmers and farmers' markets for costs associated with such equipment in accordance with federal cost principles. Any cost sharing agreements shall be developed between a state agency and its vendors, farmers, or farmers' markets depending on the type, scope and capabilities of shared equipment. The state agency must furnish its allocation and/or cost sharing methodology to the department as part of the advanced planning document for review and approval before incurring costs.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe

FMNP Waivers

Interactive Training (FMNP)

7 CFR 248.10(a)(4), which requires that a state agency will ensure that face-to-face training is conducted prior to start up of the first year of FMNP participation of a farmers' market and individual farmer.

AND

7 CFR 248.10(d), which requires a state agency to conduct a face-to-face training for all farmers and farmers' market managers who have never previously participated in the program prior to their commencing participation in the FMNP.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • California
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
Monitoring (FMNP)

7 CFR 248.10(e)(2) and 7 CFR 248.17(c)(1), which require the state agency to conduct annual, on-site monitoring of at least 10 percent of farmers, 10 percent of farmers’ markets, and 10 percent of roadside stands which includes those farmers, farmers’ markets and roadside stands identified as highest risk.

State agencies with approved waivers:

  • Cherokee Nation
  • Colorado (inactive)
  • Illinois
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Wisconsin
Benefit Cap (FMNP)

42 U.S.C.1786(m)(5)(C)(ii) and 7 CFR 248.8(b), which require state agencies to issue benefits valued at no more than $30 to each recipient, or each family within a household in those states which elect to issue benefits on a household basis under § 248.6(c).

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Cherokee Nation
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Choctaw Nation
  • District of Columbia
  • Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Osage Nation
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Related Research

Page updated: May 24, 2024