The WIC special supplemental nutrition program is designed to provide nutritional education, supplemental food, breastfeeding support, promotion and referral for women, children and infants. They also give access to social services and health programs to low-income women who are pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and children who are below five years of age that are found to be at risk of a lack of nutrition.
If you are eligible for this program, you must be checked by a healthcare professional first. This allows them to determine whether you are at nutritional risk. They also must verify that you meet the income and residency requirements of the state.
Your gross income, before tax, should also fall below 185% of the poverty guidelines as per the rules of the federal government. Visit the WIC website to view the income requirements and determine your eligibility. If you are already using other benefit programs such as SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, you automatically qualify for this program as well.
How Do You Apply For WIC?
To check if you are eligible, complete this prescreening tool. After completion, if you are eligible, the next step will be to receive the WIC benefits that are usually provided by the state. You are advised to make an appointment with the WIC clinic for a checkup immediately. This tool is available in a variety of languages, so, whichever background you come from, you will understand it well. The WIC program is usually available and administered per state, under the territory of the Indian Tribal Organizations or the state health departments.
How Long Does The Program Last?
Once you qualify for WIC, please note that this is a short-term program, and you will graduate at the end of a certified period. A certified period is usually the length of time that a participant is eligible for benefits. Depending on your status, whether you are in the postpartum, pregnancy, breastfeeding or if the program was approved for a child or infant, WIC benefits can run from six months to one year, after which you will be required to re-apply.
The Waiting List
Sometimes, the agencies may not have enough money and capacity to serve everyone eligible for the program. When this happens, however, they usually keep a waiting list. This list is comprised of individuals who have applied and are eligible for assistance. They then input the names in a special system known as the priority system which helps determine who will get the WIC benefits next after the first participant’s time has expired. The rule of thumb is usually to provide help to people who have the most serious health issues such as anemia, low weight, and pregnancy complications.
What If You Move?
As stated above, this program is given per state. Therefore, if you happen to move from one state to another, you will be placed at the top of the waiting list for the new state that you have moved to. You are then entitled to be served first when a vacancy emerges. WIC participants who move to new areas can continue receiving the benefits until their certification period expires. This is as long as they have proof that they were receiving the benefits in the previous state.
Before moving, you should inform the WIC offices. In most cases, the staff will give you a special card that shows proof that you participated in the program while living in the previous state. When moving, they will also call the WIC office in the state you are moving to and book you an appointment to meet the staff in the new office. Don’t forget to carry your special card to the appointment.
In Which States Is WIC Available?
WIC is available in all of the 50 states, and also in 34 Indian Tribal Organizations, the Virgin Islands, Guam, America Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and The District of Columbia. Each state is responsible for authorizing the stores in their areas to accept the checks from WIC. They usually consider the prices of foods, the integrity of the businesses or store owners and whether or not the owner may have been disqualified from other programs such as SNAP. They also consider the quantity and variety of foods in the stores. Currently, there are more than 46,000 stores that accept WIC checks.
The foods that you can buy include; adult and infant cereal, infant formula, fruits, baby food, whole wheat bread, meats and veggies, soft corn, brown rice, eggs, juice, whole wheat tortillas, cheese, milk, dried beans, peas, peanut butter, peas, tofu, soy beverages, and canned fish.
Kindly log on to the website we have linked above to check your eligibility for the WIC – Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Hopefully, this program is able to provide you with the assistance you are looking for.