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Vendor Operations

Vendor Operations

The WIC program was authorized by Public Law 92-433 which is a 1972 amendment to the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.  Congress recognized that the physical and mental health of substantial numbers of pregnant women, infants, and young children were at special risk because of poor or inadequate nutrition, health care, or both.  Therefore, WIC was authorized to provide supplemental nutritious foods and nutrition education as an adjunct to good health care during critical times of growth and development in order to prevent the occurrence of health problems and to improve existing health. WIC offers screenings for nutritional problems, nutrition and breastfeeding education, authorized supplemental foods, and referrals which are made to health or social services agencies.

The WIC program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, and is administered in Ohio by the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Nutrition Services (Women, Infants, and Children - WIC). Local health or human service agencies are awarded grants annually to operate the program at the local level. WIC is a nutrition education program. Participants can include working moms, or single dads on behalf of their children, or grandparents. Currently, Ohio WIC serves an average of 210,000 participants per month through the authorization of approximately 1,250 retail and pharmacy vendors as well as farmers authorized to redeem the fruit and vegetable voucher.

Based on a nutrition and health assessment, local WIC project health professionals determine the quantities and types of WIC authorized supplemental foods to be loaded onto the WIC Nutrition Card (WNC). These foods have been chosen because they meet the nutritional standards mandated by Title 7 Part 246.10 of the Code of Federal Regulations. If a food is not on the WIC Authorized Foods List, it may not be purchased with the WNC. WIC participants receive up to three months’ worth of benefits and are trained by local WIC project staff. The State WIC agency and local WIC projects are counting on your support in assisting approximately 210,000 WIC participants a month in the purchase of only those authorized foods.

If you would like additional information regarding contracting, training, payment or monitoring vendors, select the appropriate bookmark on the left of this screen or contact the State WIC Office at 1-800-282-3435.



The Ohio WIC program contracts with vendors twice a year, on a regional basis, for up to three years. The region for a store is defined by the county location (see map by clicking Vendor Regional Map). To view the regional contract periods click Regional Contracting Time Frames.

Interested parties must notify the State WIC office prior to the contracting begin date for their region. Contact a WIC Vendor Specialist, based on the County that your store is located in, for instructions on how to apply to become an authorized WIC vendor. Every vendor applicant must meet all the contracting criteria as defined in rule 3701-42 of the Ohio Administrative Code. Specifically, every vendor must submit:

  • A properly completed contract application
  • A copy of the store's Food Assistance (formerly Food Stamps) SNAP authorization permit
  • IRS documentation
  • A W-9 form
  • Price survey/Vendor Peer Group (New vendors)
  • An infant formula supplier invoice
  • A photo of the storefront
  • Photo identification
  • Proof of good standing with the Ohio Secretary of State

The Ohio WIC program offers three types of contracts – retail, retail/pharmacy, and pharmacy.

A retail contract means the store maintains the minimum quantities, sizes and types of authorized supplemental foods and can provide them to WIC participants or alternate shoppers at any time.

A retail/pharmacy contract means the store has a pharmacy within the building that can provide special formula within 24 hours of the participant’s request.

Click on the links below to view copies of the Preauthorization Site Visit Reports that are used during the application process. 

A pharmacy contract means the store provides only special infant formulas to WIC participants. Formulas must be available within 24 hours of a request.

There are a maximum number of pharmacy and retail contracts permitted per county. For information on this and other rules governing the WIC program, please click on the "Ohio Administrative Code" tab. Vendors may also review the latest newsletter The Vendor Register.

If you would like to request an application or speak to a WIC vendor specialist, click Vendor Specialists by County to find the specialist assigned to your county.


The State WIC office must ensure vendors remain compliant with federal regulations and the Ohio Administrative Code rules. To accomplish this, the State WIC office may conduct:

  1. Covert (undercover) compliance investigations; and/or
  2. Overt (unannounced) monitoring visits.

Covert Compliance Investigations

Covert compliance investigations are conducted by a contracted investigation firm. This firm utilizes trained representatives posing as WIC participants that enter contracted stores and transact the WNC.  Ohio WIC will review these buys and determine appropriate sanctions. 

Overt Monitoring

State staff may conduct announced and unannounced inspections of a vendor’s or applicant’s location at any time during business hours to determine compliance with WIC program requirements.  The vendor or applicant and its employees and agents shall cooperate with the department or local WIC agency or its designee conducting an inspection and shall provide access to records pertinent to the WIC program, including WIC transactions, shelf price records, and inventory records.  State staff will verify the vendor is in compliance with all contracting criteria including Minimum Authorized Stock Requirements, posting of prices, quality of food items, and purchases of infant formula through an authorized supplier. Click the links below to view the Minimum Food Stocking Requirements and samples of the Monitoring Site Visit Reports per store size.

A vendor shall maintain all records of purchases, gross sales receipts, and invoices for all authorized supplemental foods stored at any of its locations or that are otherwise under the vendor’s control for a period of not less than three years, and upon request, shall make available the records to the department and Food and Nutrition Service.  If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, or other action involving the records has begun during the three-year period, the vendor shall keep the records until all issues have been resolved.

Vendors who are not in compliance with state and federal regulations may receive a civil money penalty not to exceed eleven thousand dollars for each violation, or be disqualified from the program depending upon the type of violations detected.  To view the The Ohio Administrative Code rule 3701-42-08 provides the sanctions for vendors who violate the WIC program.


Vendors are required to attend a face-to-face training prior to becoming an authorized vendor. Once authorized, it is the responsibility of the vendor to ensure that cashiers and store personnel are trained on WIC requirements and responsibilities. Failure to do so can result in civil money penalties or disqualification.  Throughout the contracting period, vendors may request additional training by contacting their assigned Vendor Specialist at (800) 282-3435. 

The following training options are provided to vendors throughout the contracting period:

Training DVD for EBT

Transacting the WIC Nutrition Card (WNC)

  • Participants will be trained to separate WIC purchases from other purchases.  It will be up to vendors whether or not this will be required in order to conduct the WIC transaction.
  • Cashier will request that the participant insert WNC into terminal card reader.
  • When prompted, the participant will be required to enter the 4 digit PIN#. Only the participant can perform this function.  It is a violation of WIC policy if the PIN is entered by the vendor.
  • Once the PIN is entered, a Beginning Food Balance receipt will print.
  • After scanning of WIC purchases is complete, the cashier will ask the participant to review the Foods Purchased receipt or display screen.
  • Cashier will deduct manufacturer coupons, store discount cards, or other discounts from the total.
  • The participant will be asked to verify the WNC purchases are correct and will press “Yes” or “No.”  Only the participant can perform this function.   It is a violation of WIC policy if the purchases are verified by the vendor.
  • Once the purchase is confirmed the Ending Balance receipt will print.  All three receipts and the store receipt should be given to the participant and can be referred to at the time of the next WNC shopping trip.
  • The participant will be instructed to remove the WNC from the terminal card reader when prompted, which will complete the transaction.
  • Do not accept any out of state WIC Nutrition Cards. The State of Ohio is unable to pay vendors for WIC benefits issued by other states

If An Item Will Not Scan

  • If an item does not scan, it is either not WIC allowed, not on the participant's WNC, not on the authorized products list, benefits have expired, or the item exceeds the food item quantity or size.
  • The participant should not be able to use the WNC card benefit for an item that will not scan
  • If the item appears to be a WIC allowable product, it should be reported to a Manager for follow up.  The Manager can follow procedures for adding and/or updating UPC codes by clicking on this link.


Payment Process

Payment rules and regulations for the Ohio WIC program are set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS). The State of Ohio, Department of Health, Bureau of Health Services, WIC program administers all awarded WIC funds.

The Department will pay vendors for all EBT transactions submitted to the state WIC Program if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The WNC transactions occurred during the valid period
  • The transactions contained in the claim file are less than forty-eight (48) hours old at the time of claim file submission
  • The participant approved the transaction at the point of sale
  • The claim file includes transactions that occurred only at the authorized vendor
  • The WIC transactions occurred while the vendor was in a valid contracting period

The department shall pay the vendor the actual amount of sale or the maximum value as established by the department for each transaction, whichever is lower. 

Payments are made by direct deposit in an account established during the contracting process. New Vendors are responsible for setting up their banking institution through Ohio Shared Services located at http://www.ohiosharedservices.ohio.gov/ once they have been approved to be an authorized WIC vendor. Once you receive a confirmation email from Ohio Shared Services that your account has been activated, please email or notify your vendor specialist. If you are an existing vendor that needs to update or change your banking information you should log onto the Ohio Shared Services website and follow the prompts. If you have any questions, please contact Ohio Shared Services at 1-877-644-6771.

Payment Inquiries

Authorized vendors will be able to view the Remittance Advice through the Vendor Portal. The Remittance Advice details claim files that have been processed and includes corresponding reject codes and/or payment adjustments. 

Click here to view the Ohio WIC Omneity Vendor Portal User Manual.

Before calling the Vendor Specialist, please have the following information available:

1. The total dollar amount listed on the claim file

2. Deductions/Adjustments/error codes for each claim file

3. Four-Digit Store Number

4. Claim File Number

A Vendor Specialist will be available to answer your call at 1-800-282-3435, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Request for Reconsideration of Payment

Requests for reconsideration exceeding $500 require USDA approval. Requests must be submitted in writing and must include any supportive documentation (e.g., wholesale invoice, reason for request), the vendor’s four digit WIC identification number, claim file number, the dollar amount to be reconsidered, and the date on the claim file and the denial code. This information should be sent to the following address or the email below: 

The Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Health Services
246 N. High St. 6th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Attention: Vendor Operations Manager

E-mail: Scot.Wolever@odh.ohio.gov


In order to serve over 210,000 WIC participants per month, the WIC program must identify and eliminate program abuse by both vendors and participants. The state or local WIC office should be notified immediately of any suspected or known violations. Please complete the Bureau of Health Services Complaint Form if you identify any program abuse.

Complaints Filed Against Participants

Participant complaints are those complaints filed by authorized WIC vendors or others against WIC participants. These complaints include, but are not limited to:

  • Rude behavior or adverse treatment of a vendor's owner, manager or employees;
  • Purchase or attempted purchase of unauthorized foods with WNC;
  • Persistent attempts to purchase larger quantities of an authorized supplemental food item than included on the WNC;
  • Transaction of the WNC at an unauthorized vendor; and
  • Sale of the WNC or other Food and Nutrition Service (SNAP/FNS) benefits.

Complaints Filed Against Vendors

Vendor complaints are those complaints filed by WIC participants or others against a vendor. Vendor complaints include, but are not limited to:

  • Adverse treatment of a WIC participant by a vendor's owner, manager or employee;
  • Charging more to WIC participants than other customers;
  • Providing outdated or spoiled food items;
  • Refusal to accept manufacturers' coupons, or other store discounts; and
  • Inadequate variety and/or quantity of WIC-authorized supplemental food items.

Ohio Administrative Code

Chapter 3701-42
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program

Rule No.  Title
3701-42-01    Definitions
3701-42-02    Food delivery system
3701-42-03    WIC vendor authorization
3701-42-04    WIC vendor contract
3701-42-05    Authorized foods; required minimum foods
3701-42-06    WIC vendor responsibilities
3701-42-07    Payment for food instruments
3701-42-08    Abuse of the WIC program; sanctions - effective 1/15/2017
3701-42-09    Administrative review of adverse action affecting vendor and applicant participation
3701-42-10    Pharmacy vendor authorization
3701-42-11    Healthy pregnancy; healthy baby tips

All Formula Food Report Description Clarification for EBT