Enrolling in and sticking with WIC helps families get the nutrition and healthcare they need to build a healthier future. FNS is working with state and federal partners to make the WIC journey, from start to finish, a smoother, more fulfilling experience for all participants by modernizing technology and service delivery.
Providing a Modern WIC Experience
Enrolling in WIC shouldn't be hard. We want to deliver a modern WIC experience that feels relevant and helpful to families. We are supporting our state and local agencies as they leverage technology to make applying for the program, scheduling appointments, receiving nutrition services and interacting with WIC between appointments easy.
To support state agencies as they work toward this vision, FNS awarded a total of $23,100,000 in FY 22 to 66 WIC state agencies to fund projects around planning and implementing technology enhancements to improve the WIC participant experience. In FY 23, FNS awarded $100M in WIC Modernization Grants to state agencies; this money can also be used to improve technology and service delivery in a variety of ways. This includes implementing or expanding text messaging, improving websites and apps, developing online WIC applications, and improving support to families with limited English language skills.
FNS is working to provide resources for state agencies as they improve their technology. We are currently working on a projects related to texting and online applications.
Streamlining Enrollment in WIC
We want to make it easier for eligible families to enroll in WIC. Some families that already participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and other programs are eligible for WIC but not enrolled. At the federal level, USDA is working with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help state agencies streamline WIC enrollment through state-level referrals.
This spring, USDA released a policy memo outlining how state agencies can reduce the burden on WIC applicants and participants by sharing data and referrals with other benefit programs with similar income eligibility (e.g., SNAP and Medicaid) and with other entities, including doctors.
In September, USDA awarded a grant for approximately $10 million to Johns Hopkins University to support data matching and referral efforts at the state agency level. Johns Hopkins University will partner with Benefits Data Trust (bdtrust.org) and the National WIC Association (www.nwica.org) to provide financial, technical, and evaluation support to WIC state agencies to expand the use of data matching with SNAP and Medicaid. The cooperative agreement will support WIC state agencies as they work to:
State agencies may also use their FY 23 WIC Modernization grants to streamline certification.