The San Juan Daily Star
More WIC beneficiaries to receive funds via electronic transfer
By The Star Staff
More than 7,000 participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) who receive services at the Satellite Clinic in Plaza Las Américas will now receive their nutritional benefits through the electronic transfer system instead of cashing checks.
Over 12,591 participants from the Fajardo and Caguas regions have the EBT card to redeem their nutritional plan payments at participating businesses. Simultaneously with the Plaza Las Américas Clinic, the implementation began in the Ponce Region. Likewise, satellite clinics are located at the Integrated Services Center in Río Piedras, at the University Hospital in Centro Médico, and the clinic located on the 6th floor of the shopping center in Carolina.
“We are going from strength to strength with the implementation of the new system,” said Nilmarie Albarrán Fernández, the WIC executive director in Puerto Rico. “Our participants are very happy with the change. Now they don’t have to redeem all the products at the same time, but can acquire them as needed during the month.”
She noted that the federal government endorsed the work plan established to continue implementing the transition to EBT cards in Puerto Rico and to support the emergency response to Hurricane Fiona for WIC participants.
The official announced that next week they would begin implementing the new system at clinics in the Arecibo Region, which includes the municipalities of Vega Baja, Morovis, Manatí, Ciales, Florida, Barceloneta, Arecibo, Utuado, Hatillo, Camuy, Quebradillas, and Lares.
“We are projecting the completion of the electronic system throughout the island in December,” Albarrán Fernández said. “Once we finish this region, we will continue in Mayagüez, Bayamón and [San Juan] Metro.”
Currently, the WIC program provides nutrition assistance to more than 80,546,000 people. The Food and Nutrition Service approved Puerto Rico for $15 million to implement the initiative, with 100 percent federal funds.
Pregnant mothers, postpartum mothers, infants, and children up to five can benefit from the program. Albarrán Fernández said “the federal government updated eligibility tables per family and allowed more families to benefit from the nutritional program.”
“It is important that families orient themselves and complete the eligibility process through the MiWICPR mobile application or by calling 787-969-1040,” she said.