The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended existing flexibilities in the WIC program related to COVID-19.
During the pandemic, USDA issued more than a dozen waivers to add flexibility during the program while certain grocery supplies were limited.
The waivers were set to expire at the end of September, according to a USDA press release.
Waivers include allowing flexibility in food package requirements, including dairy, grains, vegetables and baby foods, when the normally-approved sizes and types aren’t available, and adding additional options for food pickup. USDA is also extending the ability of families to be approved for WIC without applicants being physically present in a local WIC office, and extending the remote issuance of benefits to any participant. Waivers also waive minimum stocking requirements for grocery stores.
The waivers will ensure that nutritionally at-risk mothers, babies, and children receive the critical nutrition benefits and services they count on in a safe manner while allowing the program to operate based on local conditions throughout the pandemic, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
“USDA has been extremely steadfast in offering flexibilities to ensure Americans in need continue to receive food assistance during COVID-19. President Trump has demonstrated his commitment to supporting Americans in need during the pandemic and setting them up for success as our nation reopens and recovers,” Perdue said. “WIC provides vital services to new and expectant mothers, infants, and children and we are committed to making it as easy as possible for them to receive the support they need during the pandemic.”