PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
March 17, 2022

Judith M. Persichilli

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

NJ Transitioning to Electronic Benefits Transfer Card for 98,000 Households Participating in WIC Program

New Jersey’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is transitioning from paper checks to an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system with e-WIC cards that will make shopping and payment easier for 98,000 households and over 850 participating stores across the state.

“The Department has worked to make this transition as seamless as possible,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “WIC participants in eight counties have already converted to an electronic card system and the new system will be implemented statewide by July.”

The transition to e-WIC began as a pilot in Mercer, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties in September 2021. The Department received federal approval earlier this month to expand the transition statewide.

To date, nearly 40 percent of all participating households have received an e-WIC card in Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Union, Hudson, Burlington, and Ocean counties. As WIC agencies transition, more and more families will receive e-WIC cards daily, until all participating families receive their cards by July.  It takes a local WIC agency approximately three months to complete the transition.

After the pilot project, local WIC agencies were added in four phases including the following counties:

Region 1 Phase: Union, Hudson and Essex counties began transitioning in January and are expected to be completed in April.

Region 2 Phase: Ocean and Burlington counties began transitioning in February and are expected to be completed in May.

Region 3 Phase: Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren will begin transitioning next week and are expected to be completed by the end of June.

Region 4 Phase: Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem will begin transitioning in April and are expected to be completed in July.

WIC provides nutritious foods and services for pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are income eligible and nutritionally at risk.  For example, a family of four can qualify to participate in the program if they earn up to $49,025, which is 185% of the federal poverty level. Additional services provided to enrolled families include nutrition and breastfeeding education as well as referrals to health screenings such as dental exams and social services.

NJ WIC received more than $7.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) to transition to e-WIC. The funding was used for:

  • Modifying, testing, and training for the MIS system that WIC uses to issue benefits.
  • Securing an e-WIC processor, which is the “banking” arm of the benefit system.
  • Creating and maintaining the WIC Approved Product List of all food items that can be purchased with WIC dollars.
  • Providing more than $700,000 in grants to more than 190 WIC authorized stores to upgrade or replace their cash register systems so they can accept e-benefits. Most of the participants were small independent stores such as bodegas and corner stores.

NJ’s e-WIC card image of the “Jersey Shore” was selected based on a survey of WIC participants, agency staff and vendors. Click here to see an example of the e-WIC card. Vendors also played a critical role by becoming certified to transact e-WIC. The state WIC program provided guidance and support and certified each store individually. To date, 86% of the 853 WIC authorized stores have been certified to accept and transact e-WIC. 

In addition to hosting regular stakeholder meetings and distributing flyers and brochures, the state WIC program created two videos to educate participants and vendors on e-WIC. Both educational videos are available in English and Spanish on the NJ WIC website:

https://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/wic/ewic/ewic_par/ewic_training_videos.shtml  - Participant video in English and Spanish

https://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/wic/ewic/vendor_ewic.shtml - Cashier video in English and Spanish.

https://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/wic/images/eWICCardFinal.png - Image of the e-WIC card.

The New Jersey Department of Health’s WIC program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and LinkedIn /company/njdeptofhealth

Last Reviewed: 3/17/2022