Update provided on WIC program waivers

October 21, 2021

Update provided on WIC program waivers

MOBILE, Ala. – On October 15, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. This declaration waives in-person presence for program certifications and allows for certifications to be done remotely, via telephone. The document can be found at this link — https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/COVDI-15Oct21.aspx.

The renewal took effect on October 18 (the day after the previous declaration was set to expire). It will remain in effect for up to 90 days, which is Saturday, January 15, 2022.

As a reminder, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service extended the majority of COVID-19 waivers to 90 days after the end of the HHS declared a public health emergency. This was to allow additional time to transition back to in-person Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition services.

With the current HHS declaration extended into 2022, the plus-90 days WIC waiver expiration date is now Friday, April 15, 2022.

The Mobile County Health Department’s Office of Nutrition Services manages the local WIC program. It is estimated that $8,145,680.13 WIC food dollars were spent in Mobile County in 2020. During the reporting year, a monthly average of 11,791 participants received WIC food benefits.

Participants in the WIC program receive free nutrition education and breastfeeding peer counseling support. Food benefits include fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, whole grains, and other nutritious supplemental foods for infants, children up to age 5, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and postpartum women. Food benefits are redeemable at WIC-authorized stores throughout Alabama and are now issued by the way of electronic food benefits statewide.

To qualify, a person must meet the income guidelines, be a resident of Alabama, and have been seen by a health professional at the WIC clinic. Options to apply remotely are currently available because of COVID-19. For more information, call 251-690-8829 or visit https://mchd.org/wic.