The Women, Infants and Children’s program, frequently referred toas WIC, is a supplemental food and nutrition program for pregnantwomen, new moms and children under the age of 5yrs old. Through theWIC program, women and children receive financial assistance in purchasingfood, counseling and information on healthy eating, breastfeedingsupport and information and referrals to health care and other communityresources.
Who is eligible for WIC?
WIC assists pregnant women, women who have recently given birth,infants and children under the age of 5 years old. Participants arerequired to meet income guidelines, show proof of state residencyand be considered a “nutritional risk.” WIC will provide a free healthassessment to determine if you are considered a nutritional risk.(Even if you doubt you might fit this requirement, you should stillcontact WIC for services if you meet the other criteria.) WIC willprovide for women and children under these guidelines:
- Pregnant women– During pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after givingbirth or after the pregnancy has ended.
- New Moms/Postpartum—Up to six months after the birth of the baby.
- Infants—Up to their first birthday.
- Children—Up to their fifth birthday.
What are the income requirements for WIC?
To be eligible for WIC based on income, applicants gross income (income beforetaxes) must fall at or below 185 percent of the US poverty income guidelines.The following chart is the income guidelines for most states from July 1,2009 to June 30, 2010. To verify your states income guidelines, contactyour local WIC office. (*Regarding income eligibility guidelines for2010-2011: There has been a delay in publication of the 2010-2011 guidelinesby HHS, which are used to create the WIC income eligibility guidelines.WIC program offices have been advised to use the 2009-2010 guidelines fornow.)
|48 Contiguous States, D.C., Guam,and Territories|
|Family Members||Annual||Monthly||Twice Monthly||Bi-Weekly||Weekly|
|Each Add’l Member Add||+6,919||+577||+289||+267||+134|
Certain individuals and families may automatically qualify for WICif they already participate in programs such as Medicaid, TANF (Temporaryassistance for needy families) or certain other state programs. Contactyour local WIC office for more information.
What type of help does WIC specifically provide?
WIC provides much of its assistance through checks or vouchers thatparticipants can use in their local grocery stores. Many grocers havesigning in their stores that identify what is covered by WIC vouchers.Foods included are items such as eggs, fortified cereal, infant cereal,milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried beans, canned vegetables, etc…WIC also provides vouchers that can be used at local farmers marketsso that families can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
WIC encourages all mothers who are participating to breastfeed theirinfants. Women who breastfed their babies are provided with ongoingeducation and support, enhanced food packages and may qualify forbreastfeeding supplies such as breast pumps. If a woman cannot breastfeedher baby, WIC can provide vouchers for certain types of formula.
How do I apply for WIC?
To apply for WIC, you will need to contact your local WIC officeto make an appointment. Items that you may need to bring with youmay include proof of pregnancy if you are pregnant, proof of residency,proof of income and valid identification. You will need to verifywith your local office what types of documentation they specificallyneed.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
USDA: Food and Nutrition Services, http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/aboutwic/