WIC’s Benefit Bump: Investing in Healthy Kids During Covid-19
By National WIC Association
Since 2009, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has provided a monthly vegetable and fruit benefit to approximately 4.7 million participants nationwide. During the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary measures substantially increased this small monthly benefit to more than triple access to produce for WIC participants.
The WIC vegetable and fruit benefit, known as Cash Value Benefit (CVB), was increased from $9-11 per month to $35 per month in summer 2021, before being adjusted in October 2021 to $24 per month for children, $43 for pregnant and postpartum women, and $47 for breastfeeding women. These enhanced benefit levels were sustained in subsequent continuing resolutions and the fiscal year 2022 omnibus passed in March 2022.
With the WIC benefits bump set to expire on September 30, a longer-term extension of this popular benefit is an effective strategy to support child health during COVID-19 and reduce long-term healthcare costs. Enhanced CVB is a win-win solution that also creates new markets for producers and bolsters transactions for retail grocers, all while investing in the long-term health and future life success of the nation’s children.
October 19, 2021