If you are looking for assistance, particularly if you are a woman with young children under 5 and you are struggling financially, then you absolutely should apply for the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). This is one of the best federal food supplemental resources you can apply for in the United States
As a single mother you appreciate any assistance that is available, and it is important to be aware of the help available to you.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a very good program for low income single mothers and their children. This article will teach you all about WIC, including how to apply.
WIC is a food-help program designed specifically for low income women, infants, and their children from birth up to 5 years of age.
What the WIC Offers
• free supplemental nutritious foods for you and your children
• nutrition advice
• health care and social care referrals
The eligibly requirements are as follows:
• children from birth up to age 5
To qualify, a woman has to meet any one of the following:
- Be pregnant
- Be breastfeeding (covers all the way to the infant turns 1)
- Be postpartum (covers the first six month period after child is born)
Additionally, you must meet these requirements:
- Income requirement: household income less than the low income level qualification set by the specific state. This is usually about 185% of the poverty guideline set by that state.
- Nutritional Risk requirement: must qualify by seeing a nutritionist a physician who will access whether or not you (and or your children) are at a nutritional risk. The assessment is free for those looking for it.
- Residential requirement: any applicant must reside in the state from which the application is sent
How Long Can You Receive WIC Benefits?
The total time you can receive these benefits will vary, anywhere between a six month to one-year period in total. However, you can still re-apply after your period of WIC benefits expire, though you must still qualify as nutritionally at risk by a physician or nutritionist.
This is also means you can be at risk for poor nutrition, so if you are of low income, struggling for proper food you will be deemed at risk and likely qualify.
Also, you don’t have to worry about the cost of the examination — you will be seen by a doctor free of charge to determine if you are a nutritional risk. Keep in mind if you require a special diet due to stomach issues etc., that is deemed a health risk and you would qualify.
Can You Combine WIC with Other Federal Benefit Programs?
If you are already receiving other federal programs such as SNAP, or TANF you will automatically be eligible for WIC. Also if you move to a different state, you can have the benefits carry over to your new state.
How to Apply for the WIC
If you would like to see if you would quality for WIC, you can use this useful WIC Prescreening Tool. You will have to enter your income on the prescreening tool. To apply for WIC you must get in contact with your nearest WIC office. Check out this WIC OFFICE locator and enter your location to find the office nearest you.
How Will I get My Food Benefits?
You might be wondering how the WIC benefits are administered to you. You will receive a plastic card called an electronics benefits transfer card (EBT) that works very similar to a debit card. Your EBT card will be loaded with funds that you will swipe at participating WIC locations when you are paying for you food.
Not all foods are eligible, as the food has to be nutritious and healthy. Many of the foods included are milk and dairy, cereals, whole grain, fruits, vegetables and more. You cannot buy candy, chips, and pop with your WIC EBT Card.