WIC - Frequently Asked Questions - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Frequently Asked Questions

Resources for WIC Authorized Grocery Stores

MN WIC Program

The following is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions, which we receive from WIC vendors, with the appropriate answers:

Can WIC customers use coupons for items they are buying with WIC vouchers?

Yes.  In fact, we encourage participants and their proxies to use coupons, since doing so can help them get in the habit of using their grocery dollars wisely, and can save money for the WIC Program

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Can WIC customers get an item free if they are using a buy one get one free coupon?

Yes they can.  If the offer relates to a product a WIC customer can purchase with his or her voucher, then you must allow the WIC participant to use the coupon too.  Please note that the “free” item will be given in addition to the other products on the voucher.  For instance, if a WIC customer has a coupon for “Buy one 18 ounce box of Cheerios, get a second 18 ounce box of Cheerios free”, and a voucher listing 36 ounces, he or she could purchase a total of 54 ounces of cereal (36 ounces, which includes an 18 ounce box of Cheerios) and then the free 18 ounce box of Cheerios. 

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If an item is on sale, do I charge the regular price or the sale price?

You must charge the WIC customer the same amount you would charge any other customer.  Therefore, you would extend any sales or discounts to the total price of the WIC voucher. 

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Does a WIC customer have to buy every item that is listed on the voucher?

No.  WIC customers should only purchase what they want from the voucher; it would be wasteful to require them to purchase foods they don’t want.  A WIC customer can choose not to purchase one or more particular items from a voucher (for instance, not purchasing any of the cheese listed), or can choose a lesser quantity of a particular item (for instance, one pound of cheese with a voucher that lists two pounds of cheese).

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Can WIC customers receive a rain check for an item if the store is out of the item or does not have enough to fill the amount listed on the voucher?

No.  If a store is out of an item, the WIC customer must either choose to receive a lesser amount of the item or not receive that item for the month, or he or she should go to a different store to use the voucher.  Providing rain checks is against the federal regulations; all food must be taken from the store by the participant at the time the voucher is transacted.

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What do I do if a WIC customer tries to purchase an unauthorized food item?

Politely tell the customer that the item is not WIC approved, and that you are not allowed to let them purchase it with their voucher.  If the customer is insistent or rude, you may complete and submit to the WIC Program a WIC Customer Incident Report (PDF).

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How should I handle a situation in which the WIC customer is abusive or not courteous to a store cashier?

If a WIC customer is rude, or attempts to violate WIC Program rules, you may complete and submit to the WIC Program a WIC Customer Incident Report (PDF).  Please make sure you fill in as much information regarding what happened as possible.  When we receive this form, the local agency which provides WIC services to the participant’s family will discuss the situation with the family or take more serious action, if warranted. 

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Can a WIC customer get milk in returnable gallons?

Yes, but the price of the deposit cannot be included in the total amount charged on the WIC voucher.  The WIC customer must pay the deposit by themselves.

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Can a WIC customer purchase 2 one-half gallon milk containers if the voucher lists a gallon of milk?

Yes.  Milk can be purchased in either half gallon or gallon containers. 

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Can a WIC customer buy sliced cheese?

No - only blocks, shredded or string cheese in an 8 to 16 ounce package is allowed.

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We forgot to get a signature on a voucher. Can anything be done? If we get the signature can the voucher be re-deposited?

Call the Local Agency WIC Program for further directions.  You cannot contact a WIC customer directly, but we may be able to do so for you, and ask him or her to voluntarily return to your store to sign the voucher.  If you forgot to get a signature on a voucher which lists formula, send it to us, and we will review it to see if we can pay for the voucher through alternate means. 

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Can I get reimbursed for a WIC voucher if the bank rejects the voucher?

We are sometimes able to reimburse a vendor if a voucher is rejected.  Contact the WIC Program to discuss the reason the voucher was rejected, and to receive further direction.

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Can low iron formula be substituted for iron-fortified formula?

No.  Stores are never allowed to substitute WIC foods.  Further, low iron formula is not healthy for the vast majority of infants, and should never be substituted for the WIC-allowed formulas listed on a voucher.  If a WIC customer says she or he wants low-iron formula for her baby, direct her to speak with a local WIC Program staff person.

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Our stamp is all gummed-up with ink and is illegible. What can I do?

Try cleaning it with acetone, or scraping off the build-up.  If you absolutely cannot get it clean send it to the State WIC office and we'll issue a new one to your store.  Please note that using a water-based ink may prevent the build-up of ink. 

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Why are stores required to stock a certain number of cans of WIC-approved formula? My store is too small/doesn't get enough formula vouchers to warrant this much stock.

By requiring certain minimum amounts of formula in stock, we are hoping to ensure that a WIC customer’s voucher could be filled when he/she comes into your store, rather than having him or her unable to use the voucher that day.  If you have not redeemed any vouchers for a particular type of formula for at least six months in a row, call the WIC Program to discuss the situation. 

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