If you are a new mom or an expectant mother, you might be wondering what WIC is all about and how to locate a WIC store. This guide is here to help you understand what WIC is, how it works, and where to find a WIC store.
What is WIC?
WIC is the USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. WIC provides nutrition and breastfeeding services and supplemental foods to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to their 5th birthday.
WIC gives you resources, knowledge and tools to help you and support your family.
It’s free for moms, dads, grandparents, foster parents and all families who qualify.
Eligibility for WIC
To be eligible for WIC , you must meet the following criteria:
- Live in the state where you apply for WIC.
- Be a pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum woman, an infant, or a child under the age of five.
- Be at nutritional risk, which means that there is a medical or dietary condition that can be improved by participating in the WIC program.
- Meet the income guidelines , which vary by state.
Benefits of WIC
There are four key parts to the WIC program:
1. Healthy Foods. WIC foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter/beans, cereal, juice, infant foods and formula.
2. Breastfeeding Support. WIC provides breastfeeding education, support, and breast pumps to qualifying participants.
3. Nutrition Education. Nutrition information, tools and solutions for parenting, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
4. Health Care Referrals. Personalized referrals to health services and other community resources.
How to apply for WIC
To apply for WIC , follow these steps:
1. Find a local WIC agency: Use the WIC agency locator on your state Department of Health and Human Services website to find a WIC agency near you.
2. Make an appointment: Call the WIC agency to schedule an appointment. Be prepared to provide information about your income, residency, and family size.
3. Attend the appointment: At the appointment, you will meet with a WIC staff member who will assess your nutritional risk and provide nutrition education.
4. Receive WIC checks: If you are eligible, you will receive WIC checks that can be used to purchase WIC-approved foods at a WIC store.
What to expect during the WIC appointment
- Check your height and weight to determine your body mass index (BMI).
- Take a blood sample to test for anemia.
- Discuss your medical and dietary history to determine your nutritional risk.
- Provide nutrition education on healthy eating, breastfeeding, and infant feeding.
WIC benefits are widely accepted for eligible food items at various stores :
WIC Stores By State
Each state also provides food for other local organizations, such as community partner agencies. These partner agency then distribute the foods assistance directly to low-income households
They also do a food drive to serve meals in a low-income neighborhood.
Tips for shopping at a WIC store Nationwide
Here are some tips for shopping at a WIC store Nationwide:
1. Plan ahead: Before going to the store, make a list of the WIC-approved foods you need to purchase.
2. Check expiration dates: Make sure to check the expiration dates on all food items before purchasing them.
3. Don't forget your WIC checks: Make sure to bring your WIC checks with you to the store.
4. Ask for help: If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to ask a WIC store staff member for help.
Free Food Programs Summary
|Acronym||Name||For Moms & Kids||For Seniors||For Food Bank|
|SNAP||Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program||Yes||Yes||No|
|WIC||Women, Infants, and Children||Yes||No||No|
|TEFAP||The Emergency Food Assistance Program||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|CSFP||The Commodity Supplemental Food Program||No||Yes||Yes|
|CACFP||The Child and Adult Care Food Program||Yes||Yes||No|
|NSLP||The National School Lunch Program||Yes||No||No|
|SBP||The School Breakfast Program||Yes||No||No|
|SFSP||The Summer Food Service Program||Yes||No||No|
Federal Poverty Limit in
|POVERTY LIMIT FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA|
|Persons in Family||Poverty Limit(100%)||Poverty Limit(200%)|
|For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,140 for each additional person.|
FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)
1.What is the income limit to qualify for WIC ?
The income limit to qualify for WIC varies by state and household size. Check Federal Poverty Limit above for your state.
2. Can I apply for WIC if I am an undocumented immigrant?
Yes, undocumented immigrants may be eligible for WIC if they meet the other eligibility requirements. WIC is a non-cash benefit, so it does not affect immigration status.
3. How often can I visit a WIC store ?
WIC participants are typically required to visit a WIC store once a month to pick up their food benefits.
4. Can I use my WIC benefits at any grocery store?
No, WIC benefits can only be used at WIC-approved stores .
4. Can I use my WIC card in another state ?
You can not use one state WIC card in another state. However if you relocate to another state can go to that state WIC agency to update WIC card for that state.
The new agency will verify your eligibility, and you can continue to receive benefits in the new state.
5. What should I do if I lose my WIC checks?
If you lose your WIC checks, contact your local WIC agency immediately to request replacement checks.