In case you may have been wondering what the Women, Infant, and Children Program entitles, then you have come to the right place. This page contains helpful resources on what WIC entails, how it works, and how you can enroll in this program.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is a federally funded initiative run by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). This program provides support to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and women with children under age five who are considered to be at risk of malnutrition. The mission of the WIC program is to provide benefits such as healthy food as a supplement, referrals to welfare, support and healthcare services, and general nutritional education. Visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/ to find out more about the WIC program.
How to Apply for WIC Benefits?
One of the ways to apply for WIC is to call the toll free line. A representative will then schedule a meeting and let you know the WIC center near you and the documents required.
What qualifies you for WIC?
They are four areas that applicants to the WIC program must meet. They are (1) Category (2) Residential (3) Nutritional Risk (4) Income Level
The category section stipulates that all applicants must fall into one of these categories to apply.
- Pregnant: That is during their period of pregnancy, six weeks after conceiving or at the end of the pregnancy.
- Postpartum: That is up to six months after birth or end of pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding Moms
- Children under 12 months of age.
- Children below the ages of five.
Applicants to WIC must be a resident of the state where they are applying for support.
This is a major criterion for the WIC program. Every applicant must be accessed by a qualified health practitioner (doctor, nurse, physician, or nutritionist) for risk of malnutrition. The test uses weight, height, growth levels, diet, and health history to draw results.
The gross income of applicants must be below 185 percent of the US poverty income guidelines. Some states may use between 100 percent and 185 percent of the poverty guidelines, though most use the maximum set. The 185 percent, when converted, is 45000$ annually for a family.
Also, applicants who are beneficiaries of other programs such as Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) automatically meet the income requirement. https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-eligibility-requirements
You could also use the WIC Prescreening Tool to determine if you are eligible for WIC benefits.
What services does WIC provide?
Once you meet up with all eligibility requirements for WIC, you can receive WIC benefits in any of the following areas?
- Nutrition Education
As the WIC program is mainly targeted at individuals with nutritional risks, they need to provide information to curb this. Participants are offered free health and nutrition education classes, which will assist them in understanding their dietary requirements better. This educates them on how proper nutrition could improve their health and general well-being.
- Food Supplements
Food supplements are mixtures – usually derived from food sources – whose major function is to supply a nutrient missing from a diet. Food vouchers or an EBT card are issued to participants to allow them to purchase these supplements at select stores that accept them as a means of payment. These supplements allow for every beneficiary to have a balanced diet.
- Baby Formula
Baby formulas help in adding necessary vitamins and minerals a child needs for growth. It also assists in developing the brainpower of a child and can be a nutritious alternative to breast milk.
As a single mom, it is not easy to find the best formulas that meet the needs of your child and also within your budget. WIC centers will recommend the best one for your ward and will provide cash for procurement/
- Healthcare Access and Social Services
Local WIC offices provide participants with guidance, counseling, and referrals to other important resources such as immunization and children’s hospitals, antenatal programs, and drugs and prescriptions. You can find a list of WIC clinics near you at https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/publications-resources-wic-clinics
- Breastfeeding Support
Beneficiaries will learn about the importance of breastfeeding and proper breastfeeding techniques. https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-breastfeeding-support
What types of items can I get from WIC?
There are food packages provided by the Women, Infant, and Children program. They are but not limited to juice, milk, cereal, cheese, eggs, fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread, whole grain items including brown rice and tortillas, fish (canned)(for Exclusively Breastfed Mothers), legumes (dry/canned), and peanut butter. Children and women with various diseases can also receive medical meals from this program. Another benefit is that the food packages give participant variety and choice. Various state agencies distribute items like tortillas, brown rice, soy-based beverage, canned salmon, and a wide choice of fruits and vegetables. Find out more about the WIC food ackages at https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/fr-030414