Organizations call on Congress to prioritize child health
The National WIC Association, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, Vouchers 4 Veggies – EatSF, and 95 of the nation’s leading food and nutrition security, health policy, retail and agriculture, and child health organizations sent a letter to congressional leaders urging an extension of the short-term increase to WIC benefits for healthy foods that expires on Sept. 30.
After four months of increased access to vegetables and fruits, over 4.7 million WIC participants will see a benefits cliff on September 30.
Prior to this summer, the monthly Cash Value Benefit for vegetable and fruit purchases was $9 per child and $11 for pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act, this summer, state agencies provided a monthly benefit of $35 per child and per adult – more than triple the previous value.
The president’s budget called for a yearlong extension of this benefit bump, and both the House and Senate appropriations bills provided adequate funding to extend this increase until September 2022. Congress has not yet taken final action to authorize the increase and ensure families can access these benefits on Oct. 1.
The 98 organizations that signed onto this letter urge Congress to act swiftly – before Sept. 30 – to extend the WIC benefit increase so that mothers and their children have adequate resources to ensure nutrition security for the next 12 months.