PRINEVILLE, OR -- Central Oregon families receiving assistance through the state’s WIC program will get new debit-style cards, beginning this week. Emma Reynolds, Crook County's WIC supervisor, says the upgrade provides a safer, more streamlined experience. "In the past, if paper vouchers were lost or stolen, they could not be replaced because they were essentially a check. Now that we have the debit cards, they can be canceled and replaced
immediately, because once you terminate the card, there’s no more access to the benefits." The new eWIC cards will reload automatically each month, as long as the client remains eligible for benefits.
Read more about the digital conversion.
Reynolds tells KBND News the state is also now offering a free smartphone app to go along with the cards. The "WIC Shopper" app is available on Apple iTunes and Google Play Store. "It helps them track their benefits and it helps them check the eligibility of products at the grocery store. So, if they’re not sure if a product is eligible for WIC, they can take their app, take a picture of it, and it will tell them yes or no, which makes them much more confident when they go to the check stand."
The new eWIC program is rolling out across Oregon on a staggered schedule. "If a client is already enrolled in the WIC program and has vouchers printed, they can expect to receive a new card after those vouchers are used," Reynolds says. "So, if they had vouchers for February already printed, they can receive their card for the month of March and forward." Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties all began converting to the new system, Tuesday.
For more details on the high-tech upgrade, visit the state public health department's website
. WIC provides specific foods, like milk, cheese and cereal, to more than 5,000 low-income women, infants and children in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties.