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Colorado WIC program changing to debit-card format

August 11, 2016 Updated: August 11, 2016 at 4:58 pm
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Grocery shopping is about to get easier for low-income mothers who benefit from the state's WIC welfare program.

The Colorado Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, which helps with food costs for more than 150,000 people statewide and roughly 13,000 in El Paso County, is switching from paper checks to a debit-style "eWIC" cards.

The cards will roll out in El Paso County in November and other regions throughout the fall, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

"Now, instead of WIC moms and grocery clerks matching paper checks against a list of allowable foods while other customers wait in line, it's all taken care of with a single swipe of an eWIC card," Erin Ulric, director of Colorado's WIC program, stated in a news release.

Each family enrolled in the program receives one card, along with access to an electronic account that shows the family's updated WIC allowance as food is purchased and new credits are allotted.

The cards will be honored at all 45 WIC-approved grocery stores in Colorado Springs, including King Soopers, Walmart and all other major chains, said Dave Brendsel, a communication specialist for the department's Prevention Services Division.

The cards were first used in a pilot program in Pueblo and northeast Colorado this year.

In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it would require all state WIC programs to switch from paper vouchers to electronic debit-style cards, similar to those used already by food stamp recipients.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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