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WIC Benefits - Everything You Need to Know

Part 1 of 2 - Getting Started

Getting Started With WIC Benefits
If you are a new or expecting mom, or the parent of a young child, you may be interested to learn about a benefit program created specifically for you. This program is designed to provide your family with healthy foods at no cost. What is this program? You may know of it as WIC.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (or WIC) is a program that provides federal grants to states for a variety of different services. These services include supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education. Recipients are low income pregnant breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and infants and children under the age of five years old who are found to be at a nutritional risk.

Am I Eligible?
In order to be eligible for WIC you must meet all four of the following eligibility requirements..

Residential

Applicants must live in the State in which they apply and be able to prove their residency. Proof of residency can include a utility bill, driver's license or another similar document.

Categorical

The WIC programs goal is to serve certain categories of women, infants and children. Therefore applicants must be considered categorically eligible.

Women - A woman must be pregnant or postpartum (baby under the age of 6 months). Women who are breastfeeding a child under the age of one may also eligible for WIC.

Infants - Infants under the age of one year old may be eligible for WIC.

Children - A child under the age of 5 may be eligible for WIC.

Income

WIC applicants must meet certain income requirements to be considered eligible for WIC.

Income Standard - Those who meet an income level set by the state may be eligible for WIC. The state agency's income standard must be between 100% - 185% of the Federal poverty guidelines.

Automatic Income Eligibility - Certain applicants can be determined income eligible automatically due to their participation in programs like SNAP, Medicaid and TANF.

Nutrition Risk

An important part of the WIC program is ensuring that participating individuals are having certain nutrition needs met. This means that applicants must be seen by a health professional like a doctor, nurse or nutritionist. These professionals will determine whether or not the individual is a nutrition risk.

Nutrition risk means that the individual has either a Medical Based Need which can include being underweight, anemic, or a history of poor pregnancy outcome. Or a Dietary Based Need which can include a poor diet. The applicant's height and weight will be taken as well as a blood test to check for anemia.