Proration of Food Package in Information System
The following is some general information about why proration of the food package is necessary, how it occurs in the information system, and how to communicate with participants about it.
WIC Food Package Amounts
Talking points for WIC staff and participants:
- The amount of food and formula provided must not exceed the monthly maximums of the Minnesota WIC Program which are governed by WIC Federal Regulations.
- The WIC Program is a supplemental nutrition program, and the amount of food and formula available through WIC will not be enough to meet the nutritional needs of a participant, particularly as children grow and require more calories and nutrients.
- Allowed monthly formula amounts are specified in the WIC Formula Contract and the rebate. The formula company audits issuance and redemption to assure MN WIC is receiving the appropriate monthly quantities and rebates.
- Encourage participants to pick up their benefits prior to their next set of benefits starting, however, participants can choose to pick up their benefits anytime during the month. Benefits will be prorated based on days left in their benefit cycle. If their benefits typically start on the first of the month and they choose to come in on the 15th, then their benefits are prorated.
WIC Information System
- The Information System functionality provides food package prescriptions and limits based off federal regulations.
- Proration occurs as participants move closer to the Printed First date to use (PFDTU) of their next set of benefits.
- In general, due to the potential for over-issuance, especially of formula, if the Information System suggests a prorated cycle, the food package should be issued as suggested.
- MN WIC prorates milk, formula, infant fruits/vegetables, and meats. Infant proration starts later and is never less than a half package.
Proration - Package Sizes Based on Late Issuance
Women and Children: If there are 31 to 24 days between the First Date to Use (FDTU) and the Last Date to Use (LDTU), the system suggests a full package, 23 to 16 days is three fourths, 15 to 8 days is a half package, and 7-1 days is a quarter package.
Infants: Their proration starts later and is never less than a half package. If there are 31 to 16 days between the FDTU and LDTU, the system suggests a full package, 15-8 days it suggests three fourths, and with 7 to 1 day left they receive a half package.
What WIC Staff Can do
- WIC staff can inform caregivers that additional food and formula, beyond what WIC provides, will be necessary as their child grows.
- Be familiar with food packages, including the appropriate quantities of food items. Refer to MOM, Chapter 7 for more information about individual food packages.
- In rare occasions, it may be appropriate for WIC Staff to use their professional judgement and edit the suggested proration. For instance, scheduling conflict due to no fault of the participant.
- WIC Staff should always review the Aggregate Issuance screen to verify the correct food package is issued prior to issuance.
- If you have questions about Information System functionality, please call the MN WIC Help Desk (1-800-488-8799, press 2,2).
Explaining Prorated Food Packages to Participants
When issuing benefits "late" to women and children, the Information System prorates the food package, indicating a "three-quarters", "half" or "one-quarter" food package. However, only the amount of milk is reduced; the other food items are not. CPAs should specifically mention this to participants, informing them of the amount of milk they will receive, and that the amount of other food items is not less.
We suggest not using the terms "half" or "three-quarters" food package with participants since such terms are inaccurate and likely to be confusing. If you have questions, please contact your State Consultant.