New York State Department of Health Announces Electronic Benefit Card for Women, Infants, and Children Program for Greater Buffalo Area and Western New York Region

New Debit Cards Create Convenient Shopping Experience for More than 26,000 Participants in the Greater Buffalo Area

eWIC Technology Now Available at Stores in Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara Counties

Implementation Ahead of USDA 2020 Deadline to Adopt eWIC Technology

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 28, 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 Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara.

"As a mother I can't imagine the pain of knowing you don't have the ability to give your child their next meal," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We have already heard from grateful families about the difference that the eWIC technology has made in ensuring they have access to nutritious food, without the shame that can be felt holding up a grocery line using an outdated system. By bringing the WIC system into the 21st Century, we're enhancing this critical benefits program and promoting convenient shopping for all New Yorkers."

"The importance of all New York families having easy access to the nutritious foods necessary for childhood development and overall good health cannot be understated," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "Moving to eWIC, an electronic benefits card, eliminates paper checks and simplifies the shopping experience for WIC families and retailers, and I look forward to a continued successful rollout statewide."

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 Greater Buffalo and Western NY area follows the success of a pilot in the Capital Region this past Spring, and expansion to Central New York and the Greater Rochester last month. eWIC cards are now accepted at all 162 WIC stores in the Greater Buffalo Area and over 1,200 WIC stores throughout the state.

The Buffalo area is the final upstate New York region to rollout eWIC technology. New York State will continue to release eWIC downstate to the counties above New York City in December, before moving to the five boroughs and Long Island 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.

Catholic Charities of Buffalo WIC Coordinator, Judette Dahleiden said: "WIC makes nutritious foods available to the most vulnerable populations in our community. eWIC makes shopping for WIC foods discreet and convenient. Catholic Charities is thrilled that eWIC cards are now available in Western New York. Families with eWIC cards can now go into any WIC store and purchase only the foods they need. Additionally, families can use the WIC2Go App to check the dates and times of their WIC appointments, review their benefit balance, scan items to see if they are WIC-approved, and locate WIC stores or clinics."

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