September 12, 2022

‘Modernization,’ time needed to help more Florida families use WIC

Sam Sachs writes:

"The Sunshine State has used a federal program known as WIC, to help families in need, since 1974 but experts warn, the program has failed to keep up with modern technology and over 200,000 Floridians who qualify for the assistance offered by the program are not receiving the critical help they need.

It’s a fully federally funded program, meaning 100% of the money that pays for WIC benefits come from federal tax dollars and budgets. Beneficiaries include pregnant mothers, infants, and children under 5-years-old.


Researchers with the Florida Policy Institute, a non-partisan, and non-profit organization [emphasis added] said part of the reason there are families that qualify for benefits but don’t use them is messaging and outreach, as well as a need for modernization.

'The enrollment process has not been modernized to allow families to begin their WIC applications over the internet, a process that works very well in the SNAP program,' Cindy Huddleston, Senior Policy Analyst at Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], said. 'In fact, it would make sense for the state to look at ways to allow families to simultaneously apply for both WIC and SNAP at the same time to capitalize on how successful the SNAP program is in its enrollment.'

In addition, Huddleston [emphasis added] said there are examples of single dads, or grandparents, who have custody of young children that may not know they can even apply for the assistance. While the dads and grandparents may not directly qualify, the children they may care for, those who are infants or younger than 5-years-old, still qualify for WIC."


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