WIC is a great program that can help many woman and children in the United States. However, it isn’t accepted at every store and retailer.
So, with Sam’s Club being a cornerstone American store, it got us wondering whether Sam’s Club takes WIC….
Does Sam’s Club Take WIC?
Sam’s Club does not currently accept WIC electronic benefit transfer payments. The WIC program, which includes health food purchase support, issues members with a payment card that can be used to purchase groceries. However, the card can’t be used at Sam’s Club.
This article takes a look at the WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) program benefit system: how it works, where you can use it, and how you will benefit from it.
What is Sam’s Club?
Sam’s Club is an American chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Walmart.
Membership is required to make purchases at Sam’s Club, and there are two categories of membership to choose from: Club and Plus, each with an annual fee.
The Plus membership is the more comprehensive membership plan and includes cash rewards, extra pharmacy and optical savings, free shipping on items purchased from their website, and (at some clubs) early shopping hours before the store is opened to the public.
The use of EBT payments is permitted through Sam’s Club membership for the SNAP program. However, it is not permitted for the WIC program.
Significantly though, Walmart does accept WIC payment at all their stores across the nation through their regular checkout lines, but not for online purchases.
What is WIC?
WIC is a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. It is a funded at a federal level and aims to support the healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under the age of five.
The basic eligibility requirement is assessed through family income, but those families already participating in benefit programs are usually automatically approved.
The program partners with other services that are key to childhood and family well-being such as supermarkets and pharmacies. However, Sam’s Club is not one of these partners.
The program provides nutrition counseling, parenting advice, breastfeeding support, food assistance, and referrals to help families life a health everyday life.
Current WIC services and benefits include:
- Nutrition counseling
- Breastfeeding counseling and support
- Support with purchase of healthy food
- Referrals to childcare and health insurance programs
- Medical and dental care referrals
- Health and social service resources
- Immunization screenings
- Health eating advice
Food items currently approved through WIC include:
- Peanut butter
- Canned vegetables
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Infant formulas and foods
- Whole grains
Is WIC The Same As Snap?
The WIC program is similar to the SNAP program (Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program) in the way it supports low income families to purchase nutritional food. However, the WIC program has tighter restrictions on the types of food which can be purchased with the funds.
Both programs issue funds via EBT cards: hence the confusion over which retailers accept which cards. For example, while Sam’s Club does accept SNAP EBT payments, it does not accept WIC EBT payments.
Note also, that while Sam’s Club currently accepts SNAP at all club locations they do not accept it for SamsClub.com (a paid plus membership program with extra benefits) purchases.
The Sam’s Club Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program information webpage includes an access button to further information about WIC benefits and lists of qualifying products and sizes.
Lists of participating retailers differ from state to state, and the number of approved participants is constantly increasing. The best way to access retailer partners is to ask your local WIC office. They will provide you with updated lists for authorized stores and WIC shopping guides.
How Do I Use My WIC Card?
If you’re an approved member of the WIC program, you’ll once have received a monthly food check. Now you’ll have been issued with an EBT card, you’ll be able to use it instore at participating agencies, and at a small number of approved online agencies.
Your card is used as a swipe card in the same way that you would with a debit or credit card. Every month, your family’s WIC food benefits will be deposited onto your card. Eligible things you purchase will be subtracted from your benefit total, and you don’t have to use all the benefits at one time.
Some useful things to remember when using your card include:
- The card benefits last for 30 days before expiring. Unused items do not carry over to the next month
- WIC transactions are separate from your normal purchase transaction.
- You can view your WIC account balance and expiration dates on your receipts
- Always keep your card in a secure place
- Shop early in the benefit period to get the things you need
- Each state official health services have published information pages regarding applications for and use of WIC cards. For a good example of a typical (and useful) WIC resource page, you can read through the California WIC Card page here.
Does Sam’s Club Accept EBT?
EBT or electronic benefit transfer is a system which allows state welfare departments to issue benefits electronically. The benefits are distributed using a magnetically encoded payment card, which is used in the United States.
Therefore, EBT is the system used by WIC to issue benefits to participants. Each eligible participant is issued with an EBT card which allows them to purchase nutritious food at participating stores.
However, although Sam’s Club accepts EBT payments, they do not accept EBT payments for the WIC program.
Sam’s Club is one of the companies which has contracted with the government to accept EBT payments for the SNAP program, which although similar to WIC, is a completely separate program.
Both programs once used associated coupons or food checks: these have now been replaced almost completely with the electronic benefit transfer system, which uses plastic cards.
Want to learn more about Sam’s Club? Check out our related articles to learn:
Sam’s Club retail warehouses sell a range of groceries and beverages and everyday household goods.
However, although they hold lines of common family need items, they are not participants in the WIC program.
To get a current list of WIC approved retailers in your area, it’s best to ask at your local WIC centre.