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. Submit a Letter of Intent.
  2. Complete and submit an application.
  3. Attend a mandatory training.
  4. Meet inspection requirements.

Letter of Intent

This initiates the application process. Once the Vendor Unit receives this letter, you will be mailed an application.

Application

Complete and submit the vendor application with all appropriate licenses and store information. All applications must be signed by the owner and notarized.

Training

A formal letter will be sent to all vendors to attend a mandatory training session. Training sessions explain the WIC Program goals, policies, and procedures. You will learn about WIC checks, the vendor agreement, and program violations.

Inspection Requirements

The Vendor Unit will make a final inspection at the store to make sure that all the requirements are met.

Trainings

Mandatory - New Vendors

Group training sessions are mandatory for all vendors applying for the first time. Trainings will be scheduled every other month. Times and locations vary. You are required to pre-register by calling 401-222-4637 or 401-222-4630 or by emailing WIC Vendor Support. You may send as many employees to the training as you wish. You are 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.

Mandatory - Active Vendors

Trainings will be held and required when there are 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.

Additional

You may be required to attend additional training sessions as deemed necessary if you do not comply with WIC Program policies or 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.

Vendor Bulletins

Vendor bulletins describe important changes and updates in the WIC Vendor Program and are mailed 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 two years. Reapplication packets are mailed to active, compliant vendors in July and must be returned 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.