The Virginia Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Food Programs is currently involved in a United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service initiative to develop a WIC State Agency Model (SAM) information system. The Crossroads SAM system will support all aspects of the WIC Program including local agency participant services, caseload management and appointment scheduling as well as State agency retailer, operations and financial management.
The Crossroads SAM system will support food benefit issuance and is required by USDA to be Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ready. As an EBT ready system, Crossroads includes all functionality required to interface with an EBT system that would support electronic food benefit issuance.
In Virginia, the Crossroads SAM system will be implemented as fully EBT functional. It will be supported by the concurrent development of WIC EBT, an EBT system that includes the use of electronic food prescription. The prescription specifies particular food items, quantities of the food items that can be purchased, the time period within which the food items must be purchased, and the maximum value associated with the food item purchases. The WIC EBT system is the system responsible for the issuance, redemption, payment, and reconciliation of food benefits prescribed by the Crossroads system.
For retailers, the interaction between the Crossroads system and the WIC EBT system is of particular interest. WIC EBT provides for a more streamlined POS transaction, as on average a WIC EBT transaction takes only 1.5 minutes to complete, compared with over 4 minutes for most paper WIC transactions. Crossroads communicates pricing information, approved product UPCs, and benefit data to the WIC EBT system through daily batch file transfers. Additionally, in a WIC EBT environment, Crossroads communicates with the WIC EBT system to issue the Approved Product List (APL), which is based on WIC approved food UPCs. UPCs from products purchased by WIC participants are then compared to the APL, and then approved or rejected by the system. Conversely, at the end of every day, the WIC EBT system provides Crossroads with a batch file, (this file is termed the "Daily Interface Batch File") so that Crossroads may validate the Benefit transactions from which it has records and match the data in this file. This data becomes the redemption detail data which is used to then issue payment to retailers. Once the data is verified, Crossroads then issues payments through a Third Party Processor to retailers, in most cases the retailer payments are received within 48 hours of purchase.
Retailers will benefit from improved transaction controls, faster in-lane service, and daily payment settlement. It is the hope of the Commonwealth that through Crossroads and WIC EBT, our participants will shop more often, redeem more benefits, and become loyal customers at our authorized retail stores.
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) development has been a key long-term goal of The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), The WIC Program, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Under WIC EBT, an electronic system replaces paper checks or vouchers with a card that can be used at the Point of Sale (POS). An EBT based benefits solution is superior to the traditional paper based solution in a number of different ways, which will be discussed below. Specific dates for EBT roll out have not yet been determined as of yet. The Commonwealth will be in contact with retailers moving forward to advise them of any important dates of note.
In a WIC EBT environment, the WIC EBT transaction is approved or rejected based on the Commonwealth's Approved Product List, (APL) which is downloaded to the retailer POS daily. Universal Product Codes (UPCs) are then compared to the APL for approval.
Our retailers will benefit from improved transaction controls, faster in-lane service, and daily payment settlement. In a WIC EBT environment, the cashier is no longer responsible for policing the WIC transaction. The APL reflects all approved products, and takes the decision out of the cashier's hands. WIC EBT provides a more streamlined POS transaction, as on average a WIC EBT transaction takes only 1.5 minutes to complete; compared with over 4 minutes for most paper WIC transactions. Also, WIC EBT transactions are settled daily, so the retailer is often reimbursed the next business day. Additionally, maximum price adjustments are made at the time of the transaction, so the retailer knows the reimbursement amount immediately and can reconcile all WIC EBT transactions. In addition to direct retailer benefits, WIC EBT facilitates a better customer service experience for WIC participants through benefit redemption flexibility. Participants will not have to shop for the entire contents of a Food Instrument all at one time, as WIC EBT will allow for multiple visits to the retailer to purchase different benefits on the same prescription. It is the hope of the Commonwealth that through WIC EBT, our participants will shop more often, redeem more benefits, and become loyal customers at our authorized retail stores.
Xerox Program Manager of State Enterprise Solutions
Phone - (405) 812-9862
Fax - (405) 947-2990
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
The eWIC Implementation team is currently interested in speaking with any Retailers or Manufacturers interested in submitting UPCs for inclusion in the Virginia Approved Products List (APL). Parties interested in submission should contact: