New Mexico WIC and SNAP Integration
By New Mexico WIC
In May of 2022, WIC and SNAP began a historic collaborative partnership to coordinate efforts to reduce hunger for New Mexico’s families by building the technical infrastructure to connect the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) WIC and New Mexico Human Services Department’s (NMHSD) eligibility systems for WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, and other public assistance programs. Leveraging technology to better meet the needs of their respective—and often shared—client base, the programs now use bi-directional exchanges of case data between the two separate systems to create real-time referrals from the NMHSD eligibility system to the NMDOH/WIC eligibility system. The SNAP system, ASPEN, run by the NMHSD has decision functionality that was designed by both NMHSD and WIC staff. It was implemented for this effort to automatically identify SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF customers that meet WIC requirements, such as pregnant women and children under five years old. Once a person applies for SNAP, Medicaid, and/or TANF they are automatically evaluated for WIC categorical eligibility with the information gathered through the NMHSD application. The client receives a Notice of Case Action that explains their approved NMHSD benefits and notifies them if they have been referred to WIC. The referral information is automatically sent to the WIC eligibility system, and it is placed in a “holding clinic” for follow-up by WIC staff. The referrals are sorted by county and the clinic serving that county contacts the referred individual to ask if they want to enroll in WIC if they are not already receiving WIC services. If the individual is Native American, they are referred to a Tribal WIC agency if they prefer to enroll in Tribal WIC. If they choose to enroll in the NMDOH WIC program, the information that was collected by the NMHSD system is available in the WIC system for certification. Since the individual has already been approved to receive Medicaid, SNAP, and/or TANF, they are adjunctively income eligible for WIC. This lessens the time and burden on the applicant since they no longer have to provide the same information and documents to multiple state agencies. It also frees up time for WIC staff to provide participants with nutrition and breastfeeding services to help them thrive. By building a bridge between the systems, both NMHSD and NMDOH have streamlined the process for New Mexico’s families to apply for and receive services. This referral and outreach project has successfully increased WIC enrollment. Between May and August of 2022, New Mexico WIC received 27,335 automatic referrals with 3,160 potential new participants. Of those,1,998 (63 percent) were successfully enrolled in WIC through this streamlined process.
If you have any questions, please email Gavino Archuleta at Gavino.Archuleta1@doh.nm.gov.
December 19, 2022