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Become a PA WIC Vendor

PA WIC Vendor Authorization Summary 

VENDOR READINESS PERIOD:

Effective November 16, 2018, the WIC Program will stop accepting new applications for WIC vendors until further notice. The timeframe when new applications will not be accepted is known as the Vendor Readiness Period. This is necessary because of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010. The HHFKA requires that all WIC state agencies transition from paper food instruments (FIs) to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems, known as eWIC in Pennsylvania. PA WIC, its Local Agencies, the currently authorized vendors, and WIC participants all need to focus efforts on the eWIC project to ensure success and compliance with the HHFKA.

The Vendor Readiness Period applies to new vendors and new locations for currently authorized vendors. During this period, there are some exceptions that may allow new applications:

• If a participant does not have sufficient access to a store, that could trigger an exception and allow a new application.

• If an existing store goes through a change of ownership and the new owner contacts the WIC state agency prior to the change, that could trigger an exception and allow a new application.

• If an existing store moves locations, as defined in the PA vendor regulations, that could trigger an exception.

• If there are plans in place to build a new location prior to the readiness period and the vendor notifies the WIC Program in advance of the readiness period, that could trigger an exception.

The Vendor Readiness Period allows the WIC Program to continue full WIC services to all current participants. All eligible WIC participants will continue to receive full WIC food benefits throughout the readiness period.

New applications will be accepted upon full statewide implementation of eWIC, currently scheduled for October 2019. PA WIC will publish a new Retail Store Alert prior to the end of the Vendor Readiness Period.

For questions regarding the Vendor Readiness Period or to request an exception, please contact Brian Watts at bwatts@pa.gov.


Any owner of a full line grocery store located in Pennsylvania may apply for authorization as a WIC vendor. WIC authorization does not transfer to a new owner when a change of ownership occurs. Vendors may not accept WIC checks until all application requirements are met, including completing an application and submitting any required supporting documentation, passing an authorization review, completing a training program and receiving an authorization letter from the Pennsylvania WIC Program. Submission of false information will result in denial of application.

Application Materials:

1. PA WIC Retail Store Handbook;

2. PA WIC Food List;

3. PA WIC Maximum Allowable Prices;  and

4. Licensed Infant Formula Wholesalers;


Conditions of Eligibility a Vendor Must Meet:

1. Have an acceptable history with WIC and other food and nutrition service programs of USDA.

2. Meet the minimum inventory requirements at the time of the on-site review and thereafter if approved for the program (Minimum Inventory Requirements). These products must be on the current WIC approved food list (WIC Approved Food List); and the quantities must be priced at or below the current competitive prices to be considered as minimum inventory (Competitive Price List).

3. Have a satisfactory authorization review by the local WIC agency wherein it is determined that:

a. The store is in a permanent, fixed location in the State of Pennsylvania;

b. The store is open for business at least 6 days a week and 8 hours per day;

c. The store meets the minimum stock requirements, which are properly stored and refrigerated, on the store premises;

d. Prices are marked on the food containers or posted in the immediate area where foods are kept, or in an area clearly visible to store customers;

e. The store is not in violation of applicable federal, state, or local health protection laws and ordinances; and

f. Authorized foods are not older than the expiration dates indicated on the packages, or are otherwise fresh.

4. Following the store’s review, the State Agency will approve or disapprove the store’s application. If approved, the store will receive an approval letter, window decal and training materials. Once approved, the store must participate in initial training conducted at the Local Agency serving the WIC Program in your area.


Duration of Authorization:

At least once every three years, the Department will conduct a periodic review of all stores in a given area. A store’s authorization or reauthorization shall remain in effect until the Department acts on the store’s application for reauthorization, unless terminated earlier.


Applicable Regulations, Statutes and Administrative Rules:

1. PA WIC Program Regulations: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol33/33-40/1933.html

2. Federal Regulations 7 CFR Part 246: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=a42889f84f99d56ec18d77c9b463c613&node=7:4.1.1.1.10&rgn=div5


Determination Period:

Applications are reviewed within 90 days of receipt of complete applications. If the application is not complete, a notice of incomplete items will be sent and the application will not be processed further.


Department Contact:

Contact your Local WIC Agency which can be found by selecting the county location of the store at: https://www.pawic.com/FindWICClinics.aspx

 


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