SAINT CLOUD, Minn – It’s been a state driven initiative, down to the county including Stearns county. A transitioning process that have been ongoing for several years. Minnesota started the process way back in 2011.
“Minnesota is in the process of transitioning to EWIC (An Electronic benefit transfer program for women, Infants and Children)” says Mitch Matanich Stearns county community health supervisor.
This is a process of moving from a paper voucher to a debit card type of format. The card will look and work like a debit card. Each card will have a primary account access with the card holder’s personal identification number.
According to people from other states the benefits of the EWIC outweighs the challenges. Some states have already started using the EWIC. It is said to be easy, quick and paperless.
The card will allow the county to issue benefits more effectively, the cost of paper purchasing will be reduced, and it will be easier for the staff and participants. In the future the participant will be able to purchase a gallon of milk at a time, instead of purchasing all four at the same time.
These benefits will affect the states, counties, vendors and individuals who will use the card. Craig Deziel a Walgreen store manager from Saint cloud said “The idea of having the electronic system is outstanding” stating that from the vendor’s standpoint. There is a lot of work to do, but a lot has already taken place. Minnesota is expected to be using the card before the end of 2017 according to Mike Matanich.