Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

 

 

MyWIChildCare Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from Parents and Child Care Providers mwcc-card-sample-web.jpg

Read the many frequently asked questions about MyWIChildCare, the EBT Card, and much more.

 

Overview of MyWIChildCare

  1. When will the MyWIChildCare process begin?
    The program began in three phases. Phase 1 began in October of 2016 in (WREA) Buffalo, Clark, Jackson, Monroe, Pepin, Trempealeau, Vernon, and La Crosse Counties. Parents in these counties will receive their EBT card in October. Phase 2 included all other counties, except Milwaukee County, and began in February of 2017. Phase 3, Milwaukee County, began in April 2017.
  2. Can providers do anything to prepare for MyWIChildCare?
    Providers must participate in YoungStar to receive Wisconsin Shares payments. Make sure your YoungStar contract is up to date. Fidelity Information Services (FIS) will send you their provider contract to sign. Ensure the FIS contract is completed, signed, and sent back to FIS with as much lead-time as possible. The FIS agreement requires providers to have a bank account in order to be paid. Please have your checking account routing and account numbers handy to fill out the FIS provider agreement.

Parents - General Information

  1. When will parents who have Wisconsin Shares authorizations begin receiving the MyWIChildCare EBT cards?
    Parents residing in select counties (Phase 1) received their MyWIChildCare EBT card in the mail in October. Parents in other counties across the state received their card in January 2017 (Phase 2). Milwaukee County parents (Phase 3)received their EBT cards in March 2017. The card was sent with instructions and a brochure. Parents can call the number on the EBT card to activate it and establish a PIN, just like setting up a regular debit card.
  2. If a family receives a Wisconsin Shares authorization, how long will it take for a card to be mailed to the family?
    FIS will mail new cards to eligible families the same day the card request is received by FIS, or the next day if the request is received after 2 p.m. The Department of Children and Families will send new card requests daily to FIS.
  3. What if there is a change in the family’s child care needs? (For example, there is an increase or decrease in the hours of care that a child needs.)
    The parent must contact the local –County / Tribal Human Services agency that processed their Wisconsin Shares authorization regarding any change in their child care needs. The local agency may create a new authorization for an additional child, or change a child’s existing Authorization to a different provider or amount.

Parents - Payment Information

  1. When will the parents begin receiving the EBT cards?
    See question 1 in the Overview section or question 1 in the Parents – General section for the date the system began in your area. The vendor sent out MyWIChildCare EBT cards the month prior to the starting month. The card was sent with instructions and a brochure. Parents can call the number on the EBT card to activate it and establish a PIN, just like setting up a regular debit card.

  2. When will the funds be available for parents to pay providers?
    For Phase 1 (WREA), funds were available beginning on October 3, 2016. For Phase 2 (balance of state except Milwaukee County), funds were available beginning on February 1, 2017. For Phase 3, Milwaukee County, funds were available beginning on April 1, 2017. The monthly child care subsidy amount is typically available on the first of every month.

  3. What are the ways that parents can pay a provider?
    There are three (3) easy ways for parents to pay a provider.
    Online: Parents can use a computer or mobile phone to access the FIS website at http://www.ebtEDGE.com and authorize payments.
    Telephone: Parents can contact the FIS IVR system (877-201-7601) using any telephone and authorize payments.
    Swipe: Participating providers may have a Point of Sale (POS) device in their location that will allow the card to be swiped to initiate payments.

  4. What if the subsidy amount isn’t enough to pay the full cost of child care?
    The subsidy does not cover the full cost of child care – the remaining cost is called the “parent share.” It is the parent’s responsibility to talk with the child care provider about the cost of child care and payment policies.

  5. Will the direct payments affect Social Security benefits received by clients? Are the payments considered income? Will the direct payments affect BadgerCare or Marketplace benefits?
    No, the MyWIChildCare EBT funds are not considered income. They will not affect other benefits.

  6. I am a parent that works two different shifts with two different employers and I need to use different providers to care for my son. Can I use all of the funds on my EBT card to pay one of the providers and pay the other provider in cash?
    No. The new MyWIChildCare system authorizations are tied to a specific child and provider. In this situation, the parent would request two authorizations. The parent would pay each provider using the MyWIChildCare EBT card and would be responsible for the difference between the subsidy amount and the child care provider’s rate.

  7. I noticed that my February 2017 child care subsidy seems to be less than I expected. Has something changed?
    The February 2017 child care subsidy amount that was loaded onto your MyWIChildCare EBT card was only for part of the month (from February 5-28). The rest of the subsidy (for February 1-4) will be paid directly to your provider using the old system. The subsidy amount loaded onto your card for March will be for the full month.
     
  8. When I looked at my latest child care notice, I found that my authorization hours seem to have gone down, but my approved activity schedule hasn’t changed. Why are my authorization hours reduced?
    The new MyWIChildCare program calculated hours differently than the old system, and considers the provider's hours of operation. The previous system authorized care based onapproved activity, and didn't consider the provider's scheduled hours of operation.

Parents - YoungStar Quality Adjustment

  1. I have two children. One attends a 4 Star provider and the other attends a 5 Star provider. When I received my child care subsidy notices, the subsidy amounts appear to be less than they were last year. Why are the amounts less?
    The total amount of the subsidy has not changed, but under the new MyWIChildCare program, the YoungStar Quality Adjustment is paid directly to 4 and 5 Star providers instead of being part of the parent subsidy amount.

Parents - Language Questions

  1. Many of our parents don’t speak English.
    Training information and brochures will be provided in English, Spanish, and Hmong.

Providers - General Questions

  1. Who will manage payments to providers under the new program?
    The vendor, Fidelity Information Services (FIS), under contract with the state, will manage payments to providers using MyWIChildCare EBT cards.
  2. There is currently one school district in La Crosse that has all year school, how will these authorizations be calculated if attendance-based authorizations are eliminated?
    The child care worker and the parent will write the authorization to reflect the child care needs of the eligible family.

Providers - Payment Information

  1. Can a provider set up a computer or telephone in their location to facilitate payments?
    Providers can set up a computer or telephone to facilitate payments as long as they do not capture the parent’s account information or PIN..
  2. The parents do not have a computer or do not have Internet access. What are the ways that parents can pay a provider?
    There are three easy ways for parents to pay providers.
    Online: Parents can use a computer or mobile phone to access the FIS website at http://www.ebtEDGE.com and authorize payments.
    Telephone: Parents can contact the FIS IVR system (877-201-7601) using any telephone and authorize payments.
    Swipe: Participating providers may have a Point of Sale (POS) device in their location that will allow the card to be swiped to initiate payments. FIS charges the provider $14.50 per month for the optional POS device.
  3. Does this mean that Attendance-Based authorizations will go away, and all EBT Authorizations will be Enrollment-Based?
    Under MyWIChildCare, attendance-based authorizations will no longer be used. The new authorization type for all families will be most similar to the current enrollment-based authorization. The benefit will be paid monthly allowing the parents to pay for the service before it is rendered. Each EBT Authorization will be written based on the family’s need for child care in an average week. The weekly amount is multiplied to make it a monthly amount. This process allows the parents to pay in advance of receiving the service.
  4. How long will it take for a provider to receive payment?
    If you are already enrolled with FIS, the funds will be electronically transmitted to your bank account within 2-3 banking business days of when the parent initiates payment. You will be able to see any payments in real-time on the provider portal to verify transactions that are in process.
  5. How will FIS know the provider’s bank account?
    The Department of Children and Families (DCF) will send an electronic file of child care provider information to FIS. FIS will send child care providers the FIS Provider Agreement. The FIS Provider Agreement that the provider completes and sends back to FIS must include their tax ID and bank account information.
  6. Can I still be paid by check?
    No. The new MyWIChildCare EBT system processes transactions electronically. Paper checks will be discontinued.
  7. I’m afraid that some parents won’t pay me on time. Can I hold the EBT Card or have the parent’s PIN so I can be sure that my payment is made?
    No. It is the parent’s responsibility to make the payment. Providers may not hold a parent’s EBT Card, nor may a provider ask a parent for the parent’s account number or PIN. All payment transactions must be made by the parent. Each transaction will have a confirmation number that can be verified by the provider.
    Providers are encouraged to have a business contract with parents that fully explains the payment arrangements and expectations. Providers may require Wisconsin Shares parents to pay in advance of services being rendered.
  8. What if a parent who is receiving benefits through the Wisconsin Shares program does not pay me for care provided?
    Providers are encouraged to enter into a contract with parents using your services that include rates and payment terms. If a parent fails to pay a provider, the provider will use their established business practices to collect unpaid child care amounts from parents. DCF will not settle disputes between providers and parents.
  9. Will providers be able to request that the parent pay for the full month?
    Providers are responsible to develop business practices and engage parents in the payment process. If a provider’s business practice is to collect the full monthly payment from the parent, that arrangement between the parent and the provider is acceptable to DCF. Providers are encouraged to use the same payment practices they require of private pay families.
  10. Housing authorities frequently ask providers what parents pay out of pocket for child care. This affects their housing benefits. With the new system, how will providers report this to the housing authority since the parent will be paying the benefit now versus the state? Will they only need to report their parent share or the total amount received from Wisconsin Shares plus their parent share?
    The parent or provider should only report the parent share in these situations. The parent is initiating the payment but the funds loaded by the State of Wisconsin on the MyWIChildCare EBT card for child care expenses are not considered income.
  11. Under the current system, providers receive a 1099 from DCF. Will I continue to receive the 1099?
    Providers will continue to receive 1099s. However, the 1099 will come from the EBT Vendor FIS.

Providers - YoungStar Quality Adjustment

  1. I have heard that the YoungStar Quality Adjustment for 4 Star and 5 Star providers will be issued to the parents via the EBT card. Is that true?
    No. To promote quality in child care, Wisconsin includes a YoungStar quality adjustment to be paid directly to 4 and 5 Star rated child care providers who have current Wisconsin Shares authorizations:
    • 5 Stars = A separate YoungStar quality adjustment, for up to 25% of current Wisconsin shares authorization amounts, will be made directly to the selected child care program
    • 4 Stars = A separate YoungStar quality adjustment, for up to 10% of current Wisconsin shares authorization amounts, will be made directly to the selected child care program
  2. I have heard that the amount on the EBT Card will be capped at the provider’s private pay rate. Is that true?
    No, this is false. The YoungStar Quality Adjustment will not go on the EBT card. The YoungStar Quality adjustment will be paid directly to 4 and 5 star providers. 2 star providers will continue to see authorizations to their child care business reduced by 5%. The YoungStar Quality Adjustment will be prospective based on the monthly subsidy load authorized for Wisconsin Shares parents at their facility.