New York State Department of Health Announces Electronic Benefit Card for Women, Infants, and Children Program for North Country and Greater Central New York Region

New Debit Cards Create Convenient Shopping Experience for More than 7,000 Participants in the North Country

eWIC Technology Now Available at Stores in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties

Implementation Ahead of USDA 2020 Deadline to Adopt eWIC Technology

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 26, 2018) - The New York State Department of Health today announced the next step in the statewide rollout of eWIC, an electronic benefits transfer card which eliminates paper checks and provides a more convenient way for families in the Women, Infants, and Children program to shop for WIC foods. Today's expansion brings WIC stores online in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Broome, Chenango, Tioga, Tompkins, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

"As this new technology is adopted in stores throughout New York State, eWIC participants will be able to enjoy a convenient shopping experience for the nutritious foods that help keep us healthy," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "We are excited to be able to bring this vital benefits program online for consumers and thank our provider and vendor partners for their enthusiasm for this initiative."

eWIC, which works like a debit card, makes shopping with WIC benefits easier and allows WIC vendors to be reimbursed faster.The new eWIC technology also allows families to roll over any unused benefits from a shopping trip toward future purchases during the same month. The release of eWIC technology in the North Country and Greater Central New York area follows the success of a pilot in Albany, Schenectady, and Rensselaer counties this past spring and expansion to the remainder of the Capital Region in late September. eWIC cards are now accepted at all 229 WIC stores in the Central New York region.

With the addition of these 14 other counties, eWIC is now online in half of New York State's 62 counties. New York State will continue to release eWIC in Western New York in the fall and winter of 2018 before moving downstate in early 2019. eWIC technology will be available statewide for all WIC participants and WIC stores by spring 2019.

In addition to eWIC, the Department of Health launched a new mobile application called WIC2Go to make shopping for WIC foods easier. WIC2Go allows users to scan the barcode on a product to see if it is WIC-approved. Users can also check their WIC account balance, view their upcoming WIC appointments, and locate WIC stores and clinics.

WIC offers nutritious foods, education on nutrition, advice for healthy living, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals to eligible New York families with young children, and women who are pregnant. Registered dietitians are on staff at WIC sites to give one-on-one nutrition advice. WIC serves more than 400,000 women, infants, and children each month with services provided at 400 clinics throughout the state. WIC food benefits can be redeemed at approximately 3,000 authorized WIC stores across the state. WIC is funded and monitored by the USDA. USDA has mandated that all states adopt eWIC technology by the year 2020.

Community Health Center of the North Country WIC Coordinator Leslie Wilson, said, "Community Health Center of the North Country is very excited that eWIC is now here in our local community. WIC families no longer need to worry about the stigma of shopping with paper checks. Shopping with an eWIC card is discreet and as simple as swiping a debit card."

Fathers, grandparents, foster parents, and other caregivers may apply for WIC benefits for their infants and young children. Many working families qualify and individuals who are already enrolled in Medicaid, SNAP or TANF automatically meet the income qualifications for WIC. To find a local clinic, applicants can call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006, visit the New York State Department of Health website at, or use the WIC2Go mobile application. For more information on eWIC, families can visit and vendors can visit