By Ashley Cox

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– The Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Program will now be providing an increased dollar amount for fruits and vegetables through September 2021.

The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County is encouraging families to sign up for WIC benefits as soon as possible.

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“Many people who think their families won’t qualify are surprised to learn that they are, in fact, eligible for WIC,” said Jennifer Parker, Public Health Nutrition Program Director for DOH-Pasco. “Others think they will be taking benefits away from those who may need it more, but that’s not the case.”

Families who are already enrolled will not lose or receive reduced benefits if the number of enrolled families increases.

Eligible families for WIC include women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or recently postpartum, and children under the age of five.

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According to reports, on March 12, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) authorized State WIC Agencies to enhance the WIC benefit for a period of four months, expanding the fruit and vegetable dollars from $9/month for children and $11/month for women to $35 per month, per participant.

Florida will begin implementing the increase beginning June 1, 2021 and will go on until September 30, 2021.

All women and children who participate in the WIC Program will receive an increase in their fruits and vegetables cash voucher to $35 per participant, per month.

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For more information on enrollment and eligibility for the WIC Program at the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County (DOH-Pasco) please call 1-877-BEBY (1-877-942-2329).