Spring 2024 Quarterly Vendor Call Minutes

Annual Training for 2024

  • The first round of training was completed in April, and most of our vendors completed the training requirement.
  • If you did not attend annual training, an email was sent to your store at the end of April asking you to participate in the second round of training, which will take place this week and next week before the Memorial Day holiday.
  • Completing the annual training is a crucial part of our partnership. At least one person from each store MUST complete this requirement yearly, as it is a USDA requirement. Failure to do so may result in your store's inability to be authorized WIC beyond September 2024. We trust in your commitment to this process.

FFY2025 Reapplication Process

  • Reapplication forms are due back to us by May 15th. We are still missing quite a few. If you have not returned this already, please do so ASAP.
  • Reminder emails with a one-time extension to the end of May will be sent out later this week. Still, any reapplications not received by the end of May risk losing authorization at the end of the current contract period.
  • It is a USDA requirement for all vendors to complete a reapplication to remain a WIC Vendor at least every three (3) years.
  • If you are part of a chain or have a corporate office, all reapplication information was sent to the corporate office, which is responsible for completing this process.

APL Requirements

For Vendors with Integrated Cash Register Systems

  • It is part of the EBT Operating Rule standards for Integrated vendors that the APL be retrieved and applied to their systems within 48 hours of the APL file creation date.
  • Illinois can update the APL every day. Therefore, we strongly recommend that your POS system pulls down the APL daily.
  • Failure to update the APL regularly is a violation of the EBT Operating Rules but also means that participants may not be able to purchase WIC Eligible items that have been added to the APL recently or may have transaction errors that cause frustration and loss of benefits for participants, and poor customer service from the vendor.
  • We strongly recommend that you work with your POS provider to ensure that the APL you are using is the most current one (from the last 48 hours); if not, please work with them to fix this as quickly as possible.

For Vendors with Stand-Beside Cash Registers

  • It is crucial to leave your stand-by-side device on and connected to the internet every night to push updates to the machine daily.
  • Failure to do this may result in transaction issues and frustrations for customers and participants.

Store loyalty cards, coupons, and discounts

  • IL WIC Vendor Administrative Code requires that all WIC participants be afforded the same treatment and opportunities as non-WIC shoppers. This includes using store loyalty cards and access to store discounts or coupons.
  • EBT Operating rules section 4.7.5 provides information about the requirements for Discounts and Coupons.
  • We have recently had multiple situations where participants have attempted to apply discounts using loyalty cards or other promotions to their WIC Baskets, which has caused errors in transactions.
  • Discounts and coupons must be applied to the purchase transaction before payment from the WIC cardholder is accepted.
  • Discounts and coupons that cannot readily be applied to a specific WIC-eligible food item are recommended for use as Transaction discounts.
  • If your store's POS system is not able to process transactions with discounts of any sort applied to them, please make sure to notify us at DHS.WICVendor@illinois.gov and also provide us with any workaround that you have in place until the issue has been resolved.
  • We will be following up to make sure that these transaction issues are resolved promptly, as these discounts have multiple benefits:
    • They lower the cost of foods that the state pays, allowing more WIC redemption dollars to be available statewide.
    • They lower the cost of fresh produce items, which allows WIC shoppers to purchase more fruits and vegetables with the dollars they are given.
    • They greatly help in creating store loyalty for WIC Shoppers. If a shopper feels like they can't benefit from options given to other shoppers, they are unlikely to want to return to your store, which can result in a loss of business to the vendor.

Minimum Stock Requirements

  • All vendors must adhere to current Minimum Stocking Requirements based on their Peer Group Assignment.
  • As a reminder, failure to maintain minimum stock may result in sanctions up to and including fines or disqualification from the WIC Program.
  • If you struggle to obtain any specific items from your supplier due to supply chain issues, please get in touch with us at DHS.WICVendor@illinois.gov as soon as possible.
    • We can then try to work with the supplier and or manufacturer to determine why there may be an issue
    • We can also assist with ideas for alternative ways to meet minimum stock.
  • Notifying us of stocking issues after a citation will NOT remove the citation or sanction but will help us better understand supply chain issues as they arise.


WIC Vendor Contacts: 

  • Jeff Peddycoart, Assistant Bureau Chief
  • Lisa Cunningham, EBT Coordinator
  • Harry Lobb, Compliance Coordinator
  • Josh Grace, Compliance Staff
  • Anna Sabin, Vendor Relations Coordinator
  • Lisa Brockmeyer, Jessica Reynolds, Chastity Durbin, Vendor Relations Staff

Q & A

Open for questions from vendors on call.

Where can I find the minimum stock requirements for my store?

The minimum stock requirements can be found on the WIC Vendor Website. You can search for an IL WIC Vendor or visit www.dhs.state.il.us/wicvendor to look up requirements and responsibilities. If you have trouble finding the minimum stock requirements document, please get in touch with us at DHS.WICVendor@illinois.gov, and we will gladly share the link with you.

Should WIC Participants know what they can purchase with their benefits?

Participants are given education at the local agency when they are given their benefits and what types of food they can purchase with their WIC Benefits. They are also given a shopping list that identifies the items they can buy and a copy of the Authorized Food List, which should help them understand what they can / can't purchase with their WIC Benefits. Finally, participants are given the option to use the BNFT App. They can scan any items that are not fresh produce to determine if they are WIC eligible and if they have the benefits available for the item on their card.

That said, we know this is not always perfect or effective, so if multiple participants struggle to understand a specific food benefit, please let us know. We can help the agencies adjust their training approach or give more guidance.

When we void a transaction at the store, how long does it take for the benefits to return to the participant's card?

Thank you for asking this question. Transactions at the store are instant. So, purchases, voids, reversals, and anything you do at the store will show on the card immediately. WIC EBT Cards in Illinois do not work like debit/credit cards, where holds on accounts may take days to reflect. The benefits will be returned to the participant's card if a transaction is voided. We receive this quite a lot from participants who say that they were told the benefits would be put back on the card later… this is NOT true. So, if you are working with a WIC Shopper and the transaction is voided for whatever reason. If you do a subsequent balance inquiry and see that the benefits are not back on the participants' card, the void was unsuccessful, and the participant's benefits were deducted. The participant should be allowed to leave the store with the purchased WIC items.