USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is committed to supporting struggling families and helping the most vulnerable Americans put food on the table. Today, over 60 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are children, elderly, or have disabilities. The WIC program – officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – plays a vital role in the health of low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children during critical periods of growth and development.
So it’s no surprise that we’re dedicated to ensuring participants have efficient access to programs essential to their health and well-being. To this end, FNS is looking for ways to increase competition in the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, the process by which most benefits are redeemed. All SNAP state and local agencies and some WIC agencies conduct EBT using magnetic stripe cards similar to debit or credit cards. By FY 2021, all WIC agencies will be required to use EBT.
In the 50 states, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia, vendors compete in the local marketplace for local EBT business. That competition helps control costs, encourages innovation, and ensures a level playing field for businesses interested in supporting EBT delivery.
A Request for Information has been published in the Federal Register to obtain input from stakeholders and other interested parties on ways to improve procurement and operational aspects of EBT. Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov on or before August 24, 2015. All comments submitted will be included in the record and will be made available to the public at www.regulations.gov.
Make sure to follow the online instructions for submitting comments electronically. Comments can also be mailed or delivered to: Andrea Gold, Director, Retailer Policy and Management Division, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 424, Alexandria, Virginia, 22302.