ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) — New York is launching a new initiative to improve food benefit access for women, infants, and children, also known as “WIC.”
The state department of health will partner with Code for America to run a live, online chat program.
“Despite being a critical resource for struggling families, the WIC program isn’t used by nearly as many New Yorkers who are eligible for these food benefits or by many families who are already enrolled in the program,” Governor Hochul said. “This initiative will help us identify ways to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles, simplify the enrollment processes and implement new technology so that struggling families have better access to healthy, nutritious foods.”
“By gathering input from families participating in the WIC program, we can enhance the customer experience and make it easier for New York families to access the nutritious foods required for healthy growth and development of children,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “By collaborating with Code for America to test live chat and other techniques for gathering input, we can seek ways to help increase participation and make the program more user-friendly for those who depend on WIC.”
The state says the program will help the agency gather feedback to improve the WIC program and enrollment statewide. Based on the feedback, the state will determine what is preventing eligible families from participating and taking full advantage of the program.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s found that roughly 706,000 New Yorkers were eligible for WIC in 20-20, but only 363,000 in the program.