WIC Approved Foods Shopping Tips

An adult with a child making a selection.

 

The WIC Shopping Guide tells what foods the WIC Program approves. Your WIC Shopping List, grocery store receipt, or Wisconsin MyWIC app tells you what approved foods you can purchase with your eWIC Card.

The shopping tips below can help answer questions before you get to the store or if you run into challenges while shopping. Call your local WIC agency if you have additional questions or concerns. 

Things to Know About Your WIC Food Benefits

  • WIC food benefits expire every 30 days. Shop early during your benefit period to prevent unused benefits from expiring. Food benefits can't be replaced after the expiration date.
  • Up to three months of food benefits may be issued at a time. The next benefits are not automatically added. Contact your WIC office as directed to receive more benefits.
  • Keep your card to receive your next food benefits.
  • Make sure to keep your card safe and report damaged, lost, or stolen cards to your WIC office.
  • WIC food benefits can be spent at any Wisconsin WIC authorized grocery store. Ask your WIC office for a list of local stores.

Responsibilities

  • No substitutions, rain checks, or IOUs are allowed.
  • Only purchase the foods and formula you need.
  • Return unused food and formula to your WIC office.
  • WIC foods and formulas cannot be returned or exchanged for cash, credit, or other items.
  • WIC foods and formula cannot be offered for sale, sold, traded, or given away.

Before You Shop

  • Find your current balance by using the Wisconsin MyWIC app, website, or phone number on the back of the card, WIC Shopping List, or your most recent store receipt.
  • Plan which foods to buy and review the information in this guide.
  • When possible, avoid shopping around midnight. Cash register systems often update during this time, preventing you from making an eWIC purchase.

As You Shop

  • To prevent problems at checkout, use this guide, the MyWIC app, or your WIC shopping list to help you choose the right brands, varieties, and sizes of foods.
  • Only the foods in your benefit balance and listed in this guide may be purchased with your eWIC card.

At the Checkout

  • Tell the cashier you are using your eWIC card and ask if you need to separate your groceries.
  • Use your eWIC card first, then FoodShare or any other forms of payment. 
  • Some cash register systems print a mid-purchase receipt, listing which foods will be deducted from your WIC benefits. Carefully review this receipt.
  • If there are food items you thought would be covered by WIC benefits but are not, ask to have them removed if you do not want to buy them with another form of payment. Swipe your eWIC card again and approve the purchase.
  • You may use coupons for WIC purchases. If the coupon is for a non-WIC item, it is recommended that you use it in a separate purchase.
  • Keep your receipt to review benefit information, if needed.

If you have a problem or a food is not allowed

  • Ask for assistance. If the cashier is unable to help, ask for the store manager.
  • The store can't force the cash register system to allow eWIC payment for foods that come up as not WIC approved.
  • Select another WIC approved brand or variety.
  • WIC is not able to repay you for any food you choose to buy with another form of payment.
  • Keep any receipts and take a picture of the food or write down the UPC barcode.
  • Contact your local WIC office as soon as possible to let them know.

Contact your WIC office if you

  • Have questions about shopping for WIC foods.
  • Were not able to buy a food that you think is WIC approved.
  • Have a damaged, lost, or stolen card.
  • Had foods incorrectly removed from your benefit or your receipt doesn't match what you bought.
  • Have a complaint about how you were treated by store staff.

PIN Tips

  • If you have not already set your PIN, set it before shopping. Choose a number that is easy to remember and hard for others to guess.
  • If you enter your PIN incorrectly four times, your PIN will lock.
  • If you know the PIN, call the number on the back of the card or got to the website to enter the correct PIN. Your account will unlock at midnight.
  • If you don't know the correct PIN, call your local WIC office to unlock your PIN. You may shop immediately after the PIN is unlocked and a new PIN is selected.
  • Keep your PIN secure. Call the number on the back of the card or go to the website to change your PIN if you feel it is no longer safe.
Last Revised: November 4, 2019