Waivers of WIC rules have been extended for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
These rule waivers make it easier for pregnant women and parents of young children to receive this assistance, while helping to streamline families’ access to WIC’s health and nutrition benefits during COVID-19.
Advocates and WIC parents across the country report that waiving the requirement for in-person WIC clinic visits and allowing remote benefit issuance helps families put food on the table. Participants appreciate the convenience of completing WIC appointments via phone or telehealth and to receive benefits through downloads or in the mail.
WIC shoppers have relied on the waivers for allowing flexibilities in healthy food choices to accommodate short supplies of WIC items, such as non-fat milk. USDA’s announcement hopefully signals a shift toward allowing and encouraging on-line ordering: click and curb-side pickup.
In this policy guidance, USDA specifically points out that “This will allow state agencies to continue to work toward online ordering in WIC on their own, or as a part of FNS’ soon-to-be-awarded Online Ordering Grant.”
In addition, the underutilized waiver allowing state agencies to extend children’s WIC certification period by 90 days are helpful and should be adopted by more states.