WIC Information for Vendors

Retailers are an important part of the WIC Program, ensuring that participants purchase approved foods.

Becoming a WIC Vendor

You must meet all eligibility criteria to become an authorized WIC vendor. The number of vendors in the program is limited by WIC guidelines.

What You Must Do

  1. Apply on-line at https://rionlinevendor.secure.force.com
  2. Complete Training and pass exam.
  3. Attend a mandatory interactive training within 1 year when offered.
  4. Meet inspection requirements.

1. Apply

Complete and submit the on-line vendor application with all appropriate licenses and store information. The Signature Page must be signed by the owner, notarized and submitted (original copy).

  • create user name and password
  • provided valid working email
  • complete application and submit
  • signature page must be printed, signed by owner and notarized
  • complete on-line training and exam
  • complete and submit price survey

2. Training

Training sessions explain the WIC Program goals, policies and procedures.  You will learn about WIC checks, the vendor agreement and program violations.  Training is mandatory for WIC Authorization. The training is on-line and available in English and Spanish. The applying vendor must:

  • Review the training materials before taking the exam
  • Pass the exam in order to be authorized

3. Mandatory Interactive Training

A formal letter will be sent to all vendors to attend a mandatory session.  Group training sessions are mandatory for all vendors applying for the first time.  Trainings will be scheduled quarterly.  Time and locations will vary.  Vendors is required to pre-register by calling 401-222-4637 or 401-222-4630 or by emailing WIC Vendor Support.  Vendor may send as many employees to the training as they wish.  Vendor is responsible for ensuring that training attendees share the information received with the rest of the staff and administer the program in compliance with the WIC Vendor Agreement

Additional Training

Mandatory trainings will be held and required when there is significant policy or procedure changes in the WIC program. You will be notified of any such changes before they go into effect. Failure to attend these trainings will result in a one year vendor disqualification. You may be required to attend additional training sessions as deemed necessary if you do not comply with WIC Program policies and procedures. The WIC Vendor Program will also provide guidance throughout the year through Vendor Bulletins and mailings. You are responsible for training your employees on WIC Vendor Program policies and will be held accountable for the actions of your employees, whether or not those actions are intentional.

4. Inspections

You must call within 90 days of application date to request an initial on-site inspection visit.  You must stock a variety of staple foods for sale including fresh, frozen and/or canned fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and grain products such a bread and rice, a minimum inventory, and supply of WIC-Approved Foods at competitive prices.

For grocery or food store, the WIC-Approved Food Groups are milk, cereal, cheese, juice, eggs, infant formula, baby foods, beans, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables, whole grain, canned fish and infant cereal.

For a registered pharmacy, the WIC Approved Food groups are exempt formulas and medical foods.  The pharmacy is not allowed to accept WIC Checks for standard infant formulas or food items. 

All WIC Minimum Inventory requirements MUST be met to become WIC authorized. 

Vendor Bulletins

Vendor bulletins describe important changes and updates in the WIC Vendor Program and are sent to retailers when issues arise. You are responsible for reviewing the information included in the bulletins, sharing the information with staff members, and making necessary changes to your procedures.

Reapplication

WIC authorized vendors must reapply every year. Reapplication notice is sent to active, compliant vendors in July and must be completed by August of that year. Reapplying vendors must send at least one representative to participate in a Policies & Responsibilities training at least once every three years. Training is scheduled to coincide with the year your contract expires.

What You Should Do

If a customer tries to buy non-approved food

  • Explain that the WIC Program requires that only approved foods can be purchased.
  • Explain that your store could be penalized for accepting WIC checks for any non-approved items.
  • Offer to help the shopper find approved foods.

If a WIC shopper gets upset or angry with you

  • Remain calm and explain the situation politely.
  • Contact the store manager for support.
  • Contact WIC Vendor Support and we will discuss the situation with the WIC participant.

If a customer does not have an ID Folder

  • Explain that you cannot complete the transaction without the ID Folder to protect the participant from lost or stolen checks.
  • Refer the WIC shopper to their local WIC agency.

If a customer tries to use a WIC check that has already been signed

  • Explain that the store can only accept checks that are signed at the register.
  • Refer the WIC shopper to their local WIC agency to request a reissue of the previously signed checks.

If you are out of the "lowest price" items, such as eggs, regular or evaporated milk, cheese, or canned fish

  • Allow the participant another brand at the approved price.

If you need to replace a WIC Vendor Stamp

  • Contact WIC Vendor Support with your name, address, and vendor stamp information to request a free replacement.

If there is a price increase

  • Contact WIC Vendor Support for assistance. (You may not change prices until approved by the WIC Program.)

If a WIC shopper wants to use coupons or other discounts

  • If your store accepts these for other customers, you must also accept them for WIC participants. You must write in the price after the discount on the check.
  • WIC shoppers are entitled to any free promotions offered to regular store customers (e.g., "buy one get one free").
  • Do not refund money back to shopper.