DHHS Makes it Easier for WIC Program Participants Affected by Hurricane Florence to Access Benefits and Services

Raleigh

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has announced flexibility for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to help those affected by Hurricane Florence. This temporary flexibility will apply to participants enrolled in the WIC program whose WIC office is closed or experiencing hardships related to impacts from the hurricane.  

Effective immediately, the State WIC Office will provide automated emergency issuance of benefits for people enrolled in WIC in affected areas. If someone is actively enrolled in WIC, eligible for issuance and their local agency is closed or significantly affected, participants will have one month of food benefits automatically loaded into their eWIC benefit account. Lost or destroyed eWIC cards may be replaced at any open North Carolina WIC office. This will provide access to healthy foods and formula for enrolled children, pregnant women, mothers and babies who have been affected by the storm and are unable to get to their WIC clinic. 

Benefit availability and balance can be checked on the Bnft® app, the Bnft® website (www.mybnft.com), the eWIC Customer Service phone number (1-844-230-0813) or at a WIC authorized store. Participants signed up for push notifications on the Bnft® app will be notified that benefits have been added to their account.

Existing state and national flexibility in the WIC program will remain. People enrolled in WIC can go to any WIC clinic in North Carolina. The Crossroads system, through which WIC operates, allows local agencies to do a statewide search for participants and transfer information to other WIC agencies within North Carolina for people to receive ongoing services.

WIC participants who relocate to another state can also go to any WIC agency. The new agency can verify eligibility and participants can continue to receive benefits in the new state. DHHS encourages participants to bring their Verification of Certification (VOC) document if traveling across state lines. If participants do not have their VOC, the new agency can contact North Carolina for participant information. In addition, even if the local agency is not impacted, the local agency is authorized under routine policy to do remote issuance for a family if an individual participant is experiencing hardship.

For more information regarding Hurricane Florence, please visit www.ncdps.gov/florence and www.ncdhhs.gov/hurricane-florence. Those with non-emergency questions or concerns related to the hurricane should call 2-1-1 or visit www.nc211.org