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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Stamp Program is intended to help low-income individuals and families obtain a better diet by supplementing their income with benefits to purchase food.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), authorizes retail grocers, called regular WIC vendors, to provide the food benefit. Recently, some states have seen an increase in vendors called WIC-only vendors, who stock only WIC food and accept only WIC vouchers.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides food, nutrition education, and health care referrals to close to 8 million low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children each year.
In fiscal year 2003, the federal Food Stamp Program made payment errors totaling about $1.4 billion in benefits, or about 7 percent of the total $21.4 billion in benefits provided to a monthly average of 21 million low-income participants.
The Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provided about $3 billion to state agencies in fiscal year 2001 for food assistance, including infant formula, through its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
To help states administer their Food Stamp Programs, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) offers options and waivers to their program rules and regulations. Almost all states used options or waivers in their food stamp eligibility determination process.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) serves almost half of all infants and about one-quarter of all children between one and four years of age in the United States.