How to Apply for the WIC

Are you a low income mother?

Being a mother is not an easy task. The difficulty of being a parent further widens when your monthly income becomes low, as you have to take the sole responsibility of your children’s nutritional needs. A mother has many responsibilities when it comes to taking care of children but if you are a breastfeeding mother of an infant, the responsibilities are even bigger. A breastfeeding mother or a non-breastfeeding postpartum mother should have a higher percentage of nutrition intakes than a regular woman.

Do you and your child intake adequate nutrition?

Some single or low-income mothers have neither an adequate income nor a proper knowledge on what nutritional supplements should be given to children let alone consume themselves. Therefore we believe it is quite important for you to get support, assistance and information on obtaining of nutritional food.

The information in this article provides you with a path that will grant you benefits and opportunities to help you avoid the risk of malnutrition and to stabilize your and your child’s future.

What is WIC?

Called the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, more commonly known as WIC is a program that supports the pregnant women and children who are in need of nutrition and nutritional education.

Who receives the benefits?

WIC is dedicated and committed to provide Federal grants for these people with a low income including pregnant and also breastfeeding and postpartum non-breastfeeding women. Infants and children under the age of 5 who are at a risk of malnutrition are also supported through this program.

What benefits are offered?

The support and benefits provided is mainly the provision of supplemental food, nutritional education, breastfeeding promotion and healthcare referrals.

Should you be eligible to apply?

If you are in need of any of these support services provided by WIC, applying for WIC is not as hard as it seems from the first look. But of course, eligibility matters. To apply to WIC and receive its benefits you should be either one of the above mentioned individuals.

The Prescreening tool

To make it easier, WIC contains a prescreening tool that can be used to find out if you are eligible to obtain WIC benefits.

Where can I find the tool?

The tool can be accessed through the WIC website and takes only a few minutes to complete.

How the tool works?

You are requested to enter some crucial details that will determine your eligibility for the program. These details include the earned and unearned income of your household. If you have any doubt what are included in these two sectors, the earned income is the earnings received by working and these are the salary, tips etc. that you might gain, whereas unearned income is mainly unemployment benefits, child support etc.

As you now have an understanding of what you might require to answer during the screening process, it is best advised to be ready with these information beforehand.

Does prescreening apply for the program?

One thing that should be kept in mind is that the screening process does not submit your application for WIC. It’s but just an eligibility check.

Eligibility Requirements

The main eligibility criteria for obtaining WIC benefits are given below.

  1. Categorical
  2. Income
  3. Residential
  4. Nutrition Risk

Let’s break these down specifically so you understand them.

Categorical

Given below are the categories of individuals eligible for the program.

-Women

Eligibility period for women is during pregnancy up to the end of the duration of pregnancy or up to 6 weeks after child birth

-Infants

Eligibility of infants is up to their first birthday.

-Children

Children are eligible for the program up to their fifth birthday.

Income

An income which is equal or lower than the level of income or the set Standard by the State agency is required for an individual to be eligible for the program. Certain individuals are determined to be income eligible automatically due to participation in some programs.

What is the income Standard?

The income standard must be between 100 percent to not more than 185 percent of the Federal Poverty guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.

How does automatic income eligibility work?

The individuals who are eligible to receive SNAP benefits, TANF, Medicaid for themselves or a family member and also the individuals who are eligible of participation in State administered programs become automatically eligible with regards to income requirement.

Residential

It is essential for the applicant to be a resident of the State they apply from. But there is no rule stating the applicant must have lived in the area for a given period of time. Application can be done at a WIC clinic serving the area.

But if the area’s WIC agency is administered by an ITO (Indian Tribal Organization), the applicant must meet the requirements of residency established by that organization.

Nutritional risk

All the applicants go through a process that determines whether they are at nutritional risk. This program is usually conducted by a physician, a nurse or any other nutritional professional.

Will this physical checkup cost money?

No, this can be done at a WIC clinic without a cost but is also possible to be conducted externally by a physician of choice spending money.

Are you at nutritional risk?

The individual’s height, weight is measured and a blood checkup is done to test for anemia. You will be concluded to be at nutritional risk if you have health or dietary based conditions. To be eligible from this category the applicant must possess at least one of the conditions specified by the WIC nutrition risk criteria for the state.

Application Procedure

To schedule an appointment, the WIC State agency or local agency should be contacted firsthand. And an agent will provide you information on what documents of proof should be brought to the appointment to prove your eligibility for the program.

Most State agencies provide toll free numbers you can call and obtain details about the WIC program specific to that area.

Program duration

After getting selected for the program, an individual may experience the benefits of the WIC program for a short period of time at the end of which the individual will obtain a certification of graduation from the program.

How is the duration determined?

As WIC is a short term program, the eligibility of receiving nutritional support and advice will range from 6 months to a period of one year depending on whether the individual is a pregnant woman, breastfeeding or postpartum mother, an infant or a child. If you believe that you need the program benefits again, reapplication is possible at the end of the program.

Waiting List and Priority System

Does every eligible applicant get selected?

Many people apply for the WIC program, but the WIC agencies do not hold enough resources to provide services for all applicants. Therefore a waiting list is maintained with the details of the applicants who are most likely to be served by the program.

Who gets the priority?

A special system called a priority system is then maintained in order to provide benefits to participants who need the benefits first such as individuals with serious health conditions, risks of malnutrition and problems with pregnancy.

Moving

What happens if I move during the program?

If you are an individual who receives benefits from the WIC program in one state, what would happen if you move to another state within the program duration? These participants who move are included at the top of the waiting list of the state they move to and are continued to be served till the end of their program duration when the agency has the possibility of providing benefits.

How to continue receiving benefits after move?

But it should be remembered that you should inform the WIC office prior to move. The WIC office will provide a card of identification to prove that you have been a participant of the program. Once you arrive in the new State, make an appointment with the new State’s agency to discuss about program continuation

For more information, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-how-apply.