On November 23rd, 2021, a bipartisan bill called More Options to Develop and Enhance Remote Nutrition in WIC Act, or MODERN WIC Act, was introduced. This bill would make permanent revisions to WIC certification requirements, sustaining the flexibilities that helped families gain access to the program during the pandemic.
For social distancing purposes during the pandemic, WIC agencies were allowed to complete certifications over the phone, and the requirement for WIC providers to measure a participant’s weight and height was waived. These flexibilities helped many WIC program participants and new applicants overcome the barriers to WIC services that in-person requirements can create.
Barriers to completing in-person certifications include
Taking Time off Work
Arranging Transportation or Childcare
Wait Times at WIC Offices
Child participation has increased 20% at PHFE WIC, and 8% nationwide since March 2020, showing how important virtual WIC services were during the pandemic.1 The MODERN WIC Act will continue virtual services, expanding access to families who qualify.
The Modern WIC Act proposes the following:
WIC program applications to be completed over video conferencing or telephone with health assessment data submitted to WIC within 90 days
Food benefits to be remotely added to participant WIC EBT cards
More investment in WIC technology to help with online appointments and education
The MODERN WIC Act will allow WIC providers to continue as they always have: to help families access healthy foods.
- Senators Introduce MODERN WIC Act, Bipartisan Fix for Physical Presence. National WIC Association. https://www.nwica.org/press-releases/sens-gillibrand-marshall-introduce-bipartisan-bill-to-strengthen-remote-wic-services#.YbJPA1XMJpg. November 23, 2021.
- Striking The Balance: Unlocking Remote WIC Services after COVID-19. National WIC Association. https://s3.amazonaws.com/aws.upl/nwica.org/physical-presence.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=003395f0-195e-4759-bb52-cc294f90a17f. October 2021. Accessed December 6, 2021.