Selling and trading WIC benefits illegal, Iowa public health officials warn

Some ads for WIC vouchers showing up on social media sites

Published: January 17 2014 | 8:59 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:16 am in

The Iowa Department of Public Health is warning people not to sell or trade WIC benefits as they continue to see people do so on social media sites.

WIC — the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children — is issued to pregnant, postpartum women, infants and children who have been certified to participate in the program with federal regulations. The instruments and vouchers WIC provides are only intended to be used by the participant, caregiver of an infant or child, or someone who has been designated to purchase WIC items for the participant to use.

Posting the benefits for sale or trade  online is illegal, according to a letter from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Doing so is considered a participant violation which could lead to sanctions.

The warning comes after local WIC agencies informed the Iowa Department of Public Health they were seeing advertisements and receiving information from the public regarding the sale of WIC vouchers, particularly baby formula, on social media sites. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, is also requesting all social media sites post a notice informing users that these sales are illegal, the letter said.

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