You may have read about WIC in previous articles, how it works, their mission, and the WIC Benefits. That notwithstanding, this article is still going to give a recap of the program and also go extensively on the benefits of the WIC programs. The WIC Benefits are not just food supplemental assistance, although these food packages are part of the benefits the program gives out to its participants. The WIC Benefits also include nutrition education, referrals to health care at no cost. These benefits are however aimed at low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to the age of five but have to be eligible to receive these benefits.
The WIC Benefits are the assistance received by participants or can be received by eligible applicants of the WIC program. The WIC program is a federal assistance program that is available to residents of the United States of America. This program is known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and children.
The receive WIC Benefits from the program, you have to be eligible for them and also apply for the benefits. For eligibility, you have to meet the eligibility requirements. The eligibility requirements are; applicants must either be breastfeeding women, pregnant women, postpartum women, infants, and children up to the age of 5, applicants must be a resident of the state they are applying in, applicants must have done a nutritional assessment by a health professional that shows that they are at nutritional risk, and lastly, applicants must meet the income guidelines of the program which is at or below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines.
The income level requirement is based on family size. The basic level which is a family size if 1 is $23,107 as the annual income level, $1,926 as the monthly income level, and $445 as the weekly. However, for each additional member of the family, an amount of $8,177, $682, and $158 should be added to the annual, monthly, and weekly income level.
WIC Benefits List
The WIC Benefits which a participant stands to get from the program would be listed out below. These benefits include;
- WIC Food Packages
- Breastfeeding Promotion and Support
- Revitalizing Quality Nutrition Services (RQNS) in the WIC Program
- WIC Works Resource System
- Nutrition Services Standards
- VENA (Value Enhances Nutrition Assessment)
- Immunization screening and Referral
- WIC Special Project Grant
Breastfeeding Promotion and Support
The program WIC strongly encourages their women participants known as the WIC Mothers, to breastfeed their infants unless there is a medical reason not to. The WIC staff are all trained to promote this as an important part of the nutrition service benefits and also provide the necessary support new breastfeeding mothers and infants need for success. Some of the breastfeeding promotion and support in WIC includes;
- Anticipatory guidance, counseling, and breastfeeding educational materials
- A greater quantity and variety of foods
- Longer participation in the program
- Breastfeeding aids such as breast pumps, breast shells
- Trained staff
The local WIC agencies are also an award for the success of benefits and the impacts it has made on the participants under their administration.
Revitalizing Quality Nutrition Services (RQNS) in the WIC Program
This is an evolving process of continuous program improvement involving partners at the federal, state, and local levels. The goal of RQNS is to enhance and strengthen the effectiveness of WIC nutrition services so that WIC will continue to be the premier national public health nutrition program, helping participants to achieve and maintain optimal nutritional status.
The basis for RQNS includes;
- High-quality WIC nutrition services may entice each adult participant and parent/caregiver of infant or child participant to receive at least two nutrition education contacts during the certification period.
- All WIC local agency staff should have the appropriate education and/or training to prepare them to serve as part of the nutrition services team.
- Because Nutrition is Everybody’s Business in WIC!
- WIC participants’ nutrition knowledge base and needs have changed over time.
- Enable WIC nutrition services to better meet the public health challenges of today.
- WIC nutrition services should be made available to participants in appealing and accommodating ways that are relevant and responsive to their individual needs.
The process of Revitalizing Quality Nutrition Services (RQNS) was prompted by the following needs which include;
- Strengthening nutrition education.
- Focusing on healthy behaviors for life.
- Being more client-oriented.
- Adopting a more behavioral approach to nutrition education.
RQNS is an ongoing process of continual program improvement and with the deep involvement of the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), significant progress towards improving nutrition serves in WIC has been made.