The Women, Infants and
Children (WIC) program is a special nutrition program that provides
supplemental foods, nutrition counseling, and access to health services
to low-income women, infants, and children under the age of five.
You may apply for WIC if you are working or unemployed. You must have a low
or moderate income, and a nutritional need that can be addressed by the WIC
program. You do not have to be on public assistance to qualify for WIC.
WIC foods provide mothers and their children with some of the foods necessary
for their body to be healthy. WIC foods are meant to supplement the food you
currently buy; they are not meant to fulfill all of a woman, infant or child's
Eligibility – To be eligible to receive WIC assistance, you must
be a low-income, nutritionally at-risk:
- Pregnant woman (through pregnancy and up to six weeks after pregnancy ends);
- Breastfeeding woman (up to infant's first birthday);
- Non-breastfeeding, postpartum woman (up to six months after the birth of an
infant of pregnancy ends;
- Infant (up to first birthday); or
- Child under the age of five.
Nutritionally at-risk refers to medically-based health risks
(such as anemia, being underweight, maternal age, history of pregnancy
complications, or poor pregnancy outcomes) or diet-based risks (such as
inadequte dietary selections). Nutritional risk is determined through a free
health screening by a health professional such as a doctor, nurse or
Fathers may also bring their children to apply for WIC. A person or certain
family members who participate in other benefits programs such as the Food Stamp
Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
automatically meet the income eligibility requirements.
Once you are accepted into the WIC program, you will be issued vouchers to
use in purchasing foods at stores that have been approved to accept WIC
checks. Your local WIC office has a list of these stores. Keep your checks
in a safe place, because lost or stolen WIC checks cannot be replaced.
WIC foods include:
- Iron-fortified infant formula and cereal
- Iron-fortified adult cereal
- Vitamin C-rich fruit and or/vegetable juice
- Eggs, milk and cheese
- Peanut butter, dried beans or peas
- Tuna fish
Special infant formulas and certain medical foods may be provided when
prescribed by a doctor or health professional.
In addition to receiving vouchers for food, WIC participants also receive
nutrition education and counseling at WIC clinics and screening and referrals to
other health, welfare and social services.
Applying for WIC – Contact the WIC
agency in your area to schedule an appointment. You will be advised
about what to bring to your appointment to help the WIC staff determine
eligibility. If you do not know what agency administers the WIC program for your
area, you can call the toll-free phone number for the WIC agency in your state.