Healthy Communities

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) System

Arkansas WIC EBT

The "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010" was created to improve child nutrition. The Act requires all states to distribute WIC benefits using EBT by October 1, 2020. Arkansas WIC is in the process of shifting from a paper-based food delivery system to an image of WIC EBT cardEBT system and anticipates being completely statewide by the end of 2018.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows recipients to use authorized government benefits to pay for items. Currently, Arkansas SNAP uses EBT. Arkansas WIC EBT is in the process of being developed and will allow participants to use an electronic benefits card instead of paper checks. This will provide more freedom to participants by allowing them to purchase only those items needed without losing all remaining benefits. 

Currently, Arkansas WIC is developing a pilot program for Miller and Little River Counties that is expected to begin in 2018. The pilot project will last 3 months and will provide valuable information for the rest of the state for how to best launch WIC EBT.

 

Smart Card EBT

The Arkansas WIC Program determined an off-line EBT platform provides quicker integration time among retailers and will provide better efficiency in transactions for cashiers and repayments for retailers. Additionally, the off-line system allows for continuous and immediate access to benefits, regardless of communication capabilities between the host server and the retailer.

Smart cards use a microchip that contain recipient benefits, allowing for a POS (Point of Sale) system to check WIC benefits being purchased against benefits on the chip. Smart cards are more discrete than paper benefits, providing better privacy to WIC recipients. Also, an entire household's benefits (up to 6 family members) are contained on a single card. Most importantly, smart cards provide recipients the ability to purchase benefits when needed, instead of all at once. This will reduce waste and ensure benefits are effectively used. Information regarding WIC EBT can be obtained through the following downloads and links, or by contacting the WIC State Office. Vendors can click on the eWIC Vendor page for further information.

Arkansas WIC determined through comprehensive studies that an off-line platform was best for the state as it moves towards EBT in the future.

 

WIC EBT Frequently Asked Questions

 

                                                             Roll Out Phases 2018

image of 2018 map of Arkansas coverage of EBT benefits

 

eWIC Vendors

The purpose of the eWIC Vendor Team is “To partner with the Arkansas WIC Program in an effort to transition to EBT as efficiently and quickly as possible.” During this transition, Arkansas WIC will work to maintain strong relationships with the vendor community through eWIC Vendor Team Meetings. These meetings will provide valuable insight to current and future developments in EBT.  If you are an authorized WIC vendor and are interested in participating in these meetings, contact the WIC program at ADHWICVENDOR@arkansas.gov

The eWIC Vendor Team meets during the third week of every other month via conference call. Please click below to view the meeting agendas, minutes and pictures. All authorized Arkansas WIC vendors and other representatives of the retailer community in Arkansas such as; Grocery Associations and Value Added Resellers are encouraged to participate.

Contact Brian Musick at (501) 661-2087 or Brian.Musick@Arkansas.gov to find out when the next meeting is, or to get minutes from previous meetings. To join the meeting, call toll-free 1-877-336-1831. The access code is 8951404.

 

Smart Card Certified Systems

Please click on the link for the list of certified point-of-sale (POS) devices to accept eWIC cards. Please contact eWIC at (501) 661-2087 for questions regarding ongoing certifications, or the steps necessary for a system to be certified.

Downloads
Approved Product List (APL file)
WIC UPC Approval Request Form (Universal Product Code)

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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