In the 1970s, Hubert H. Humphrey, who had served as Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson, returned to the U.S. Senate. As senator, Humphrey sponsored legislation known as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). It was launched as a small pilot program, but it has since expanded across the country. Today, it’s known under the name Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. There are a number of qualifications to receive WIC, but those who do can get help for pregnant women, postpartum women, mothers of infants up to age one, and children up to age five.
Many grocery stores accept WIC. Dollar General does sell groceries, and in some places it is one of the only locations selling food in a wide area. So does DG accept WIC?
I noticed that different websites give contradictory answers to this question, so I reached out directly to Dollar General for the answer. Here is the response I received:
“Unfortunately Dollar General does not work with [the] WIC program.”
So the answer is no. You can’t use your WIC benefits to purchase items at Dollar General.
Part of the reason may have to do with what foods are WIC-approved and how that compares to the kinds of foods DG sells. The WIC program is specific about what foods can be purchased under the program, with an emphasis on fresh foods and foods that aren’t as processed. What’s more, grocers have to go through a process to get approved, which is harder if you sell a lot of store brands as opposed to national brands. (This is one reason why Aldi, which is mostly house brands, is not currently participating in the WIC program.)
There certainly are some products that Dollar General sells that would fit what WIC is looking for, like milk and cereal. On the other hand, Dollar General also doesn’t sell fresh produce. In the end DG has, for various reasons, decided not to participate in the program.
Dollar General does take other forms of payment. The dollar store takes Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), and like most stores it takes cash, a credit card, or a debit card.
What Grocers Do Take WIC?
Dollar General is not the only major store that doesn’t take WIC. Other dollar stores, like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, don’t take WIC. The same goes for some grocers, like Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
That said, if you do need WIC-approved stores, there are a number of supermarket chains and independent grocers that accept WIC. Those grocers include:
- Ruler Foods
- Save A Lot
- Many large inventory regional grocery chains
Also, because the federal government tasks states with administering the WIC program, many states have lookup tools that you can use to find WIC stores inside their borders.
One Final Caution
I’ve been researching this subject for Dollar General as well as Family Dollar. In doing so, I stumbled on a lot of sites that claim to be “WIC Lookup Tools” or have “WIC-Approved Stores.” The problem is that the sites appeared to be inaccurate, listing stores that weren’t on state directories. Those stores included gas stations, convenience stores, and grocers I knew were not part of the WIC program. So just be aware if you’re using an online tool that isn’t connected to a state government.
It appears that the best place to find WIC grocers is to use the official state tools. You can also call your local WIC office for help.