The women, infant, and children assistance program, which has been in place for decades, will soon provide benefits through a plastic, debit card. The list of supplemental foods offered through WIC for low income mothers and their infants and toddlers includes dairy products, produce and cereals. Now, a plastic debit type card will allow low-income moms buy healthy food when it's needed and without stigma.
Up to now, Lexington clients could only use paper checks which required buying numerous food items, and were easily spotted by strangers in a check-out line. Brandi Fishback, who oversees Fayette County’s program, says the debit card allows privacy and gives WIC participants some flexibility when shopping.
“With the new system, they can walk in and buy that one can of formula and then the other ten cans they can purchase at a later date,” said Fishback.
Fishback says those checks were sometimes lost and misused. She says it’s not the case with the new system.
“If the mom loses the debit card, we stop payment on that debit card. We issue another debit card, so if anyone finds that debit card, they will not be able to use it. So it’s like an actual debit card,” added Fishback.
Fishback says this new system should reduce waste and save taxpayers money. The new electronic benefits transfer program starts Monday in Fayette county. A similar card has been used for years by Kentuckians who qualify for federal food assistance.