May 26, 2022
Michigan retailers continue to experience challenges in sourcing formula for their customers. WIC staff have been visiting stores throughout the state and our office is finding Vendors continuing to do everything they can to provide options to support families in need. The situation is widespread and the challenges you face are experienced by stores across the country.
We understand that the operation of your store is unique and certain formulas are more available for you than others. Therefore, to provide you with greater flexibility, Michigan WIC is announcing a third expansion of powder formula options for our WIC families. CLICK HERE for a chart titled ‘Temporary Choices for Powder Formula,’ effective May 26, 2022.
Please note the following important details:
- Size of purchase: Powder formula may now be purchased from 12 oz to 36.4 oz. The typical unit size for powdered WIC formula is a single can containing 12-12.9 oz. This expansion marks an unprecedented change. The purchase of a single item may now deduct 1 can, 1.5 cans, 2 cans, or 2.5 cans from a WIC customer’s benefits depending on the size (see below).
- Additional brands and varieties: The Michigan WIC Program approved more brand options than were listed in the March 9 temporary formula expansion. The attached chart lists 5 WIC-approved varieties of Similac formula in the standard sizing on the left and all acceptable additional options for that benefit on the right. If you are unable to source standard WIC-approved formula, you may use this as a guide to source additional options, so customers do not have to continue to search at other stores.
- Replacing chart displayed on store shelves: Many Vendors posted a copy of the March 9 revision of ‘Temporary Choices for Powder Formula’ chart near the formula on their shelves. Please remove and replace with the attached chart to show your customers a full list of current options. Our website will be updated to reflect these change, and WIC participants will receive a phone notification regarding these changes on Tuesday May 31, 2022, but that does not guarantee the person shopping in your store has seen that formula options have changed.
- Updating the APL: To ensure successful redemption of these expanded options, it is important that all Vendors download the latest Approved Product List (APL) file. The expanded formula choice APL file is now available for download, effective May 26, 2022. If you have an integrated system, this may be done by your point-of-sale (POS) provider. If you have a stand-beside POS device, you may do a manual update by following theseinstructions.
- Troubleshooting: This benefit marks a change for your store and a change for our WIC families. We ask that your store staff scan any formula brought to the register for a WIC purchase and let the point-of-sale device determine whether the customer has the correct benefits for formula they brought to check out. If your point-of-sale shows an error, the customer will know it was an issue with benefits and not your store staff preventing them from purchasing the option they picked from the shelf. Then you may help in finding an appropriate formula.
If an item is listed as an alternative option for a WIC-approved formula and your point-of-sale continues to show an error, you may consider the following:
- Check to make sure the UPC on the item matches the UPC listed in the attached Temporary Choices for Powder Formula chart.
- Complete a balance inquiry to make sure the WIC customer has benefits remaining to purchase the formula. The larger sizes require more than 1 can of remaining benefits. If the customer has only .5 cans left, they will be unable to redeem any cans.
- Ensure your point-of-sale is properly updated with the recent APL.
- Contact the Michigan WIC office at (517) 335-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org.