WIC flexibilities extended during COVID-19 pandemic

Wic, Mgn Image

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The USDA announces the extension of flexibilities that help to make sure participants in WIC continue getting food and health support needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The flexibilities would have expired at the end of September 2020.

WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

“USDA has been extremely steadfast in offering flexibilities to ensure Americans in need continue to receive food assistance during COVID-19. President Trump has demonstrated his commitment to supporting Americans in need during the pandemic and setting them up for success as our nation reopens and recovers,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “WIC provides vital services to new and expectant mothers, infants, and children and we are committed to making it as easy as possible for them to receive the support they need during the pandemic.”

Background/Information provided by USDA:

  • Without today’s action, these essential flexibilities would have expired at the end of this month.
  • WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants and children under five who are determined by health professionals to be at nutritional risk.
  • USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has made maximum use of existing program flexibilities and the waiver authority provided by Congress to make it as easy as possible for children and families to participate in WIC– and all of the department’s nutrition assistance programs – during the COVID-19 health emergency.

The WIC waivers being extended allow for:

  • Participants to be approved for WIC without being physically present in a local office;
  • Remote issuance of benefits to any participant;
  • Flexibility in food package requirements, including dairy, grains, vegetables, and infant foods; and
  • Additional options for pick-up of food packages.

More information on the WIC waivers extended today, along with those that have been approved since the start of COVID-19, is available at www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus and on Twitter at @USDANutrition.