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Food Package Frequently Asked Questions

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The following questions were submitted to WIC EBT regarding system modification requirements for Revisions in the WIC Food Packages, specifically the implementation of Cash Value Vouchers (CVV). We have attempted to answer each question as clearly as possible and hope this information will assist in your programming efforts.

Question 1: When will WIC participants be receiving the new WIC EBT Cards with the CVV addition?

Question 2: With a due date prior to July 1, 2009 for the system changes, when does Level 2 Certification need to be completed?

Question 3: Is the WIC EBT program fully rolled out to all counties in Texas?

Question 4: Will the CVV changes be rolled out on a county by county basis?

Question 5: What category/subcategory will be used for CVV? I think you want us to print the value from the CVV category with a $ sign. But will we have a way to know the category is a CVV or will we need to get it from the item and the APL?

Question 6: What happens if stores are not ready July 1, 2009? What if they are not ready October 1, 2009?

Question 7: Was the handling of coupons, discounts, etc. on CVV items ever finalized and documented?

Question 8: Is my documentation up to date? I have "WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) In-Store Processing" Version 3.0 August 2008.

Question 9: When will we be able to receive an APL that includes fruit and vegetable items and test cards that will allow their purchase?

Question 10:  Is New Mexico and Wyoming WIC making the same changes at the same time?

Question 11: Will CVV be rung up as “WIC” or another tender?

Question 12:  Will CVV have to be rung up as a separate WIC transaction?

Question 13:  Can the participant combine fruit and vegetable cash vouchers for a single purchase?

Question 14:  Will participants be able to receive change back if their purchase is less or add to the vouchers with real money if their purchase is more?

Question 15: Will the reimbursement be combined as one WIC payment or will the state reimburse us in 2 separate payments? (meaning 1 for food vouchers and 1 for cash vouchers).

Question 16: For planning for Cash Value Voucher (CVV) programming what dates should I be aware of?

Question 17: Is split tender a requirement?

Question 18: Where can we find a copy of “the FNS document” referenced in the conference calls?

Question 19: Will all store outlets be required to undergo an in-store certification (formerly level 3)?

Question 20: Are WIC participants alerted to differences between store systems?

Question 21: Is benefit maximization a requirement?

Question 22: When will the test/certification scripts (updated for CVV) be available?

Question 23: For CVV items that are not sold by weight, a bag of frozen corn for example, what is the content of these three fields in the Claim Addenda Record, Units, Purchase Quantity, Claim Price, when more than one of the items is sold? For example, if we sell 3 bags of corn at $1.00 each, is this what we put in the Claim Addenda Record?

Question 24: At what level and when will In-Store Certifications (formerly Level III Certification) start?

Question 25: When will In-Store Certification scripts be available?

Question 26: Are beans and peanut butter changing categories?

Question 27: Has the claim file processing logic been upgraded to handle CVV items?

Question 28: Test cards recently received included benefits for cats/subcats that are not currently on the test APL.  Will Texas continue to load benefits on a card when there are no items in the test APL file with the cat/subcat of the benefit on the card?

Question 29: Is the Texas WIC Authority allowing systems to map food items to a single, IFPS-compliant PLU code in the APL (partial mapping)?

Question 30: From May to the end of September Texas will take care of preventing duplicate rows in an APL but beginning in October developers are expected to address duplicate rows.  Is this correct?

Question 31: We were anticipating an APL to be placed in production with CVV items included in the Authorized Products effective May 1, 2009. Did that happen?

Question 32: Are stores required to use mapping for the purchase of fruits and vegetables?

Question 33: How do stores request training cards?

Question 1: When will WIC participants be receiving the new WIC EBT Cards with the Cash Value Voucher (CVV) addition?

Response: WIC Participants will receive cards loaded with CVV benefits beginning October 1, 2009. It will take approximately 3 to 4 months for all WIC participants to visit a clinic and have CVV benefits loaded on their card. All WIC participants should have CVV benefits loaded on their card no later than February 1, 2010.

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Question 2: With a due date prior to July 1, 2009 for the system changes, when does Level 2 Certification need to be completed?

Response: Lab certifications (formerly known as Level 1 and 2 certifications) should be scheduled as soon as your system modifications are complete. Time should be built in to your schedule to allow updates to be loaded to your stores once your system has been certified.  If you are an ECR developer of base code, please keep in mind that your customers may need time to customize the base code and then have the modified code certified and implemented in the stores. The Grocer System Certification team will be requesting an anticipated ready date for lab certifications during their individual communication with the developers. 

Lab certifications have been scheduled for ECR systems requiring base code changes and ECR systems utilizing modified base code plus additional enhancements.  Lab Certification Joint Authority Test Scripts for CVV functionality are available and should be requested by sending an email to WICEBTSUPPORT@DSHS.STATE.TX.US


Please contact WIC’s Food Issuance and Redemption Section (FIRS) at 1-800-252-9629 if you have questions regarding the July 1, 2009 ready date.

Response Updated May 15, 2009 to indicate that lab certifications have been scheduled for ECR systems requiring base code changes and ECR systems utilizing modified base code plus additional enhancements.

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Question 3: Is the WIC EBT program fully rolled out to all counties in Texas?

Response: WIC EBT statewide rollout was completed on April 27, 2009 and paper vouchers are no longer being issued.  It will take approximately 3 to 4 months for all vouchers currently in circulation to be redeemed. 

Response Updated May 15, 2009 to reflect the completion of statewide EBT rollout.

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Question 4: Will the CVV changes be rolled out on a county by county basis?

Response: CVV will not be rolled out on a county basis the way EBT was implemented. CVV will be simultaneously rolled out statewide.

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Question 5: What category/subcategory will be used for CVV? I think you want us to print the value from the CVV category with a $ sign. But will we have a way to know the category is a CVV or will we need to get it from the item and the APL?

Response: The category/subcategory for CVV is 19-000 and will be included as such in the APL. The CVV items will be listed in the APL in the format that is currently used. The unit of measure to be used on the receipt will be dictated by the APL. The category description will be Cash Value Voucher and the Benefit Unit description is VALUE rather than the dollar symbol as previously anticipated. At this time, there is no requirement to show the dollar symbol as part of the Beginning/Ending/Utilization receipt format; however, it is NOT discouraged.

Page C-7 of the WIC EBT Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) In-Store Processing document specified a price type of ‘03’ for CVV items and ’01’ for non-CVV items. Therefore, in the APL, when a food item has the value '03' in the Price Type field, that will indicate the item is a CVV item.  Non-CVV items will continue to have the Price Type of '01'. 

Response Updated November 17, 2008

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Question 6: What happens if stores are not ready July 1, 2009? What if they are not ready October 1, 2009?

Response: Addendum 1 to the WIC Vendor Agreement – Electronic Benefits Transfer executed by and between the stores and DSHS WIC specifies that the stores shall accommodate CVV prior to July 1, 2009.  If a store is unable to accommodate CVV prior to July 1, 2009, they will not be in compliance in the WIC Vendor Agreement and risk their authorization to accept WIC.  Please contact WIC’s Food Issuance and Redemption Section (FIRS) at 1-800-252-9629 if you have additional questions regarding the ready dates specified in Addendum 1.

Response Updated May 15, 2009 to include FIRS’ contact information.

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Question 7: Was the handling of coupons, discounts, etc. on CVV items ever finalized and documented?

 Response: At the request of several national grocers (including members of Texas Retailer’s Association), FNS and offline WIC states (including Texas) have agreed to allow for flexibility in the specified utilization and reporting requirements related to discounts.  This will apply to WIC eligible items including CVV items. 

As an alternative for discounted items (including loyalty discounts, volume discounts and “buy-one-get-one-reduced” offers), the net price (shelf price minus discount) may be decremented from the card and recorded as the WIC Claim Price in the addenda record with no discount recorded in the claim detail record.  This alternative allows for optimal CVV benefit utilization.  Please note:  if this alternative is used and the reduced price of the WIC item is tied to the qualifying purchase of a non-WIC item, the store has no recourse to recover the discount if the non-WIC item is voided from the transaction after WIC has been tendered.

The original specification requires the full shelf-price to be decremented and reported as WIC Claim Price in the addenda record with the Discount Amount shown in the Claim Detail record.  Since full price is deducted from the card, this alternative, although still a valid option, may not allow for optimal CVV benefit use. Modified Texas system specifications will be forthcoming.

Developers and grocers who have already certified their POS applications may contact the Texas WIC-EBT Development Branch ( WICEBTSUPPORT@dshs.state.tx.us ) to discuss this alternative and certification requirements if there is a desire to change discount functionality in their respective POS systems.

The following bullets summarize the discount alternative:

  • Manufacturer coupons, coupons identified in print with the words 'manufacturer coupon', issued by a manufacturer, and for which a retailer may be reimbursed by a third party, must be reported in the Discount Amount  field within the WIC File Claim Detail (D4) record; and
  • For any other discounts (store coupons, promotions, loyalty, volume, mark-downs, etc.) the retailer may, at its option, reduce the Claim Price field within the WIC File Claim Addenda (E3) record by the value of the discount to prevent a WIC participant from being charged a different price for WIC foods than a non-WIC participant.

Section 4.3 of the Integrated WIC EBT Grocer Systems document Version 3 dated August 2008 and Section 3.7 of the WIC EBT Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) In-Store Processing document Version 4 dated October 2008 will be updated to include the discount alternative.

Response Updated May 15, 2009 to reflect the discount alternative addressed in the April 30, 2009 all send message.

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Question 8: Is my documentation up to date? I have "WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) In-Store Processing" Version 3.0 August 2008.

Response: The latest version of the Integrated WIC EBT Grocer Systems document is Version 3 dated August 2008. The latest version of the WIC EBT Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) In-Store Processing document is Version 4 dated October 2008. Future specification versions will be provided via email from John Hannemann, Texas WIC EBT Development Manager. The same email group used to send this FAQ will be used to email future versions of the specification documents. If you would like to have additional email addresses added to this list, please email John Hannemann at WICEBTSupport@dshs.state.tx.us

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Question 9: When will we be able to receive an APL that includes fruit and vegetable items and test cards that will allow their purchase?

Response: A WIC CVV APL and test cards including items in category 19 (CVV) are available.  Please send an email to WICEBTSupport@dshs.state.tx.us  to request a copy of the WIC CVV APL and/or test cards.  Please include in your request the number of test cards that you need and when you will need them. We are requesting that all test cards not currently being used be sent back to us to in order to use those cards for CVV. They should be shipped to Texas WIC EBT, Attention Mike Johnson, 4616 Howard Lane, Suite 840, Austin TX, 78728.

Response Updated May 15, 2009 to indicate the availability of WIC CVV APL and test cards.

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Question 10:  Is New Mexico and Wyoming WIC making the same changes at the same time?

Response: The USDA mandate regarding the implementation of revisions in the WIC food packages no later than October 1, 2009 is a nationwide mandate that also applies to New Mexico and Wyoming. Although Texas shares many of the same ECR system developers with these states, there are changes required in each of the states’ clinic systems that will affect their schedules. Therefore, Texas can not speak to the New Mexico or Wyoming schedule for the implementation of CVV. Please contact them directly for their requirements and implementation plans. 

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Question 11: Will CVV be rung up as “WIC” or another tender?

Response: CVV will be incorporated into the current food packages as a new food category and loaded to the WIC EBT card as a new food category.  CVV items will be rung up as WIC. 

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Question 12:  Will CVV have to be rung up as a separate WIC transaction?

Response: No

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Question 13:  Can the participant combine fruit and vegetable cash vouchers for a single purchase?

Response: The food category will be an aggregate dollar amount that can be used the same way any of the WIC benefits are redeemed; all at once or one at a time.

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Question 14: Will participants be able to receive change back if their purchase is less or add to the vouchers with real money if their purchase is more?

Response: The participant may not receive change back per USDA policy. Split tender (paying for part of a single item with WIC and the remaining balance with another tender) will not be allowed at this time but may be revisited in the future.

The participant may receive change back per USDA policy. Split tender (paying for a single itme with WIC and the remaining balance with another tender) will not be allowed at this time but may be revisited in the future.

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Question 15: Will the reimbursement be combined as one WIC payment or will the state reimburse us in 2 separate payments? (meaning 1 for food vouchers and 1 for cash vouchers).

Response: Reimbursement will be combined as one WIC payment.

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Question 16: For planning for Cash Value Voucher (CVV) programming what dates should I be aware of?

Response: Please see the dates listed below:

  1. December 6, 2007 - Revisions in the WIC food packages published in the Federal Register.
  1. August 8, 2008 - Texas WIC released specification documents that support Texas’ implementation of the Revisions in the WIC food packages to EBT ECR developers.
  1. November 2008 - Texas WIC will make available EBT cards that will include CVV benefits and an Authorized Product List (APL) that will include fruit and vegetable UPCs and PLU (product look-up) codes.
  1. February 2009 – Texas WIC anticipates beginning lab certifications (formerly referred to as Level 2 certifications).   
  1. April 2009 – Statewide rollout of EBT will be completed and new paper vouchers will no longer be issued to WIC participants.
  1. October 1, 2009 - Texas WIC participants will begin receiving cards with the new food package food items (CVV).

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Question 17: Is split tender a requirement?

Response: Per section 4.20 of the Integrated WIC EBT Grocer Systems document “The WIC EBT Grocer System must not ‘split’ a food item or allow the purchase of a single food item with two or more tender types.”  Split tender will be revisited after CVV is implemented and may be a required addition at a later date.

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Question 18: Where can we find a copy of “the FNS document” referenced in the conference calls?

Response:  The WIC EBT Cash Value Voucher Business Rules and Technical Requirements Document can be found at the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service website http://www.fns.usda.gov/

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Question 19: Will all store outlets be required to undergo an in-store certification (formerly level 3)?

Response: WIC staff will complete an In-Store Certification on a minimum of one (1) store for each modified EBT ECR system.  In-Store Certifications will be conducted by WIC staff.  Self Service In-Store Certifications will not be permitted.

Response Updated May 15, 2009 to indicate approved In-Store Certification process as defined in March 12, 2009 all send message.

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Question 20: Are WIC participants alerted to differences between store systems?

Response: Our efforts at this time are to guide developers to a similar approach in order to minimize differences in the WIC participant’s in-lane experience. Training provided to WIC participants is non-store specific.

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Question 21: Is benefit maximization a requirement?

Response: Shuffling (re-ordering) and the presentation of a “best value” combination of items to the WIC participant that would most closely utilize their available CVV benefit is not a requirement. However, systems should allow the participants to spend the maximum amount available without exceeding it. Please reference the email sent on October 28, 2008 (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/wichd/ebt/correspondence.shtm), for additional detail regarding benefit maximization.

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Question 22: When will the test/certification scripts (updated for CVV) be available?

Response: Lab Certification Joint Authority Test Scripts for CVV functionality are available and should be requested by sending an email to WICEBTSUPPORT@DSHS.STATE.TX.US.

Response Updated May 15, 2009 to reflect the release of Lab Certification Joint Authority Test Scripts.

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Question 23: For CVV items that are not sold by weight, a bag of frozen corn for example, what is the content of these three fields in the Claim Addenda Record, Units, Purchase Quantity, Claim Price, when more than one of the items is sold? For example, if we sell 3 bags of corn at $1.00 each, is this what we put in the Claim Addenda Record?

Response: The claim file addendum for the example will be as follows:

Units - 00300
Purchase Quantity - 00300
Claim Price - 00300

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Question 24: At what level and when will In-Store Certifications (formerly Level III Certification) start?

Response: The following In-Store Certification (formerly Level III Certification) process has been approved by USDA to be used by Texas WIC EBT for revisions in the WIC food packages system changes.

Electronic Cash Register (ECR) systems requiring base code changes and ECR systems utilizing the modified base code plus additional enhancements will be required to complete a Lab Certification (formerly Level II Certification) and an In-Store Certification. Lab Certifications will test existing functionality as well as new functionality required for the implementation of the revisions in the WIC food packages. In-Store Certifications will be conducted to validate the viability of lab-certified ECR systems in a live environment.  

In-Store Certifications will be conducted by WIC staff.  Self Service In-Store Certifications will not be permitted.

WIC staff will complete an In-Store Certification on a minimum of one (1) store for each modified EBT ECR system.

We anticipate beginning In-Store Certifications no later than August 1, 2009. In-Store Certification dates will be coordinated with the system developers and corporate contacts.

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Question 25: When will In-Store Certification scripts be available?

Response: The USDA has approved the steps to be performed during the In-Store Certifications.  These steps were emailed to the system developers on March 12, 2009.

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Question 26: Are beans and peanut butter changing categories?

Response: No. In addition to being issued in cat/subcat 06/001 and 06/002, beans and peanut butter will be issued in 06/000 allowing the participant to choose either product while in the store instead of requiring them to choose in the clinic and having the specific cat/subcat loaded to their card.

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Question 27: Has the claim file processing logic been upgraded to handle CVV items?

Response: The claim file processing logic has been upgraded to accommodate CVV. Accommodations of the other revisions in the WIC food packages (whole grains, soy milk, tofu, canned fish, etc) are forthcoming.

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Question 28: Test cards recently received included benefits for cats/subcats that are not currently on the test APL.  Will Texas continue to load benefits on a card when there are no items in the test APL file with the cat/subcat of the benefit on the card?

Response: Test cards produced for CVV testing include benefits in subcategories that are not currently in the APL in order for developers to utilize the same set of test cards with multiple iterations of the APL. 

Benefits included on a WIC participant’s card are generated from the same database that is used to create the production APL. Therefore, there should not be any benefits loaded on a participant’s card that are not currently in a production APL.

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Question 29: Is the Texas WIC Authority allowing systems to map food items to a single, IFPS-compliant PLU code in the APL (partial mapping)?  

Response: The Texas WIC Authority is not allowing for partial mapping.  Retailer assigned PLU’s must be mapped to an IFPS compliant PLU code at the same commodity level.  The IFPS PLU’s defined as “For Use with All Commodities,” “Other Fruits,” and “Other Vegetables” are not included in the Texas APL.

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Question 30: From May to the end of September Texas will take care of preventing duplicate rows in an APL but beginning in October developers are expected to address duplicate rows.  Is this correct?

Response: Please refer to the following excerpt from the email sent to the developers on March 26, 2009:

Item #4 - Texas WIC will implement an internal process to prevent duplicate rows from being included on an APL when an item’s cat and/or subcat value changes.  The process will include timing the changes so the items aren’t on the APL at the same time, or by moving an item from a specific subcat to a broadband back to a new subcat.  The process should not require any changes to the developer’s current system.   

Developers should be aware that upon implementation of CVV, Texas WIC will move away from this process and require that systems be able to accommodate duplicate rows (distinguish between the original and the modified item).  

Developers are encouraged to contact other offline WIC authorities (New Mexico and Wyoming) to determine how their systems will accommodate cat and/or subcat value changes.

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Question 31: We were anticipating an APL to be placed in production with CVV items included in the Authorized Products effective May 1, 2009. Did that happen?

Response: A Production APL including CVV items was available for download beginning July 30, 2009. 

The primary issue should be whether your system can import an APL where the PLUs are included. PLUs use all 17 digits – the first digit is always going to be a “1” and the last digit will be the check digit (calculated without the leading “1”). Early on, we discovered that some systems would truncate some of the digits so we issued the test version of the APL in January to let developers test and hopefully modify their import routines.

Response Updated August 12, 2009 to reflect the availability of the production APL including fruits and vegetables.

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Question 32: Are stores required to use mapping for the purchase of fruits and vegetables?

Response: Stores are not required to use mapping for the purchase of fruits and vegetables. However, they are contractually obligated to sell WIC authorized foods available to a non-WIC participant to WIC participants. This would include cut produce, locally grown produce, packaged produce that includes a UPC that is not included on the APL, etc. If any of these items are available in the store, they must be available for purchase by the WIC participant and therefore, must map to an IFPS PLU code contained in the Texas WIC APL.

A list of PLUs and UPCs to be effective on October 1, 2009, can be viewed via the following link:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/wichd/vo/vo1.shtm

A New WIC Food Package & WIC EBT Produce PLU Mapping Vendor News Flash was released on 9-11-09.  This document provides additional information related to mapping and can be viewed via the following link:
http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/wichd/vo/ProduceMappingVNF9-11-09accessible.pdf

Response Updated 9-17-09 to reflect the New WIC Food Package & WIC EBT Produce PLU Mapping Vendor News Flash

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Question 33: How do stores request training cards?

Response: FIRS mailed letters that included the following instructions to stores the week of August 12, 2009.

The New WIC Food Package will be effective October 1, 2009. The categories/subcategories for the new food items are not on your existing WIC EBT training cards.

In order to afford you the capability of having training cards with the new food items, we request you send to our office one-half of your existing WIC EBT training cards so we can replace them with the new food package training cards. The new training cards will be loaded with cash value for fruits and vegetables, jars of infant fruits/vegetables, whole grains, new sizes for juices, milks and other new foods.

If you have any questions regarding WIC EBT training cards you may contact Tina Siller (Diamantina.Siller@dshs.state.tx.us) at 1-800-252-9629 ext 2298 or Tamika King (Tamika.King@dshs.state.tx.us) at 1-800-252-9629 ext 2379.

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Last updated January 09, 2014