WIC is a federal assistance program administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children under the age of five. This WIC program means Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children has a mission to be a partner with other services that are key to childhood and family well-being. This program is only available to residents in the United States and not beyond it. To become a participant of the program, one has to first apply to the program, meet the eligibility requirements, and become eligible in order to get benefits from it.
WIC provides breastfeeding promotion and support, nutritious foods, information on healthy eating and referrals and access to health care and social services to pregnant women, postpartum and breastfeeding women and children up to five years of age, who are found to be at nutritional risk.
The WIC program was first created as a two-year pilot program in 1972 before it was permanently established in 1974 as a Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. While it was still a pilot program, the eligibility was limited to children up to the age of four and non-breastfeeding postpartum women were not included. When it was finally established as a permanent program, the eligible age limit for children increased to 5 years, and non-breastfeeding women up to six months of postpartum was included.
Getting WIC eligibility means being qualified to received benefits or assistance from the program. To get the eligibility, one has to first apply to the program. The applicant has to also meet up with the eligibility requirements in order to become eligible.
The eligibility requirements for the WIC program are majorly in four different areas. If an applicant can meet up with these four areas, that applicant would undoubtedly become eligible to receive benefits from the program.
The four major areas for eligibility requirements are;
- Category: in the area of category, an applicant hoping to receive benefits from the program must either be a child below five years of age, infants up to their first birthday and women (pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding).
- Residential: for the area of residence, you must apply to an agency in the state you currently reside in. this means when you apply in California, you must be a resident in the state of California.
- Income: in the area of income, the annual gross income of the household of an applicant, before the deduction of taxes, must be at or less than 185% of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines.
- Nutrition Risk: the applicant must have a nutritional risk assessment by a qualified health professional. The assessment is based on height, growth, hemoglobin levels, health history, and a diet.
Meeting up with all these criteria does not mean that immediate receipt of the benefits. The program is not sufficient enough to cater to every eligible applicant. This cause brought about the Waiting List. This waiting list is a list of the entire eligible applicants that are yet to receive benefits from WIC. As soon as the program has met with the need of an applicant, it goes back to the waiting list and picks the next applicant waiting on the list.
An applicant that participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), automatically meets the WIC income eligibility requirement
The WIC Website is the official web page of the program. On this website, you can get most of the important information about the program. Information like how to apply for the program, where to find local agencies around you and also toll-free numbers to call in case of application can all be gotten from the web page.
On the web page, there is a link to the WIC State Agency Directory page which contains a list of toll-free numbers. Also on the page, WIC Contacts are linked there. This contains all the addresses of the state agencies of WIC for the easy location of the one nearest to you.
To find out if you are eligible to receive WIC benefits, you must have compared to the criteria and have met up with all of them. If you are certain of meeting up with the criteria, you would need to call a toll-free number of any agencies closest to your area of residence. The agent answering the call would book an appointment with you, giving you details of where to meet and what to bring along with you to the meeting. Aside from calling, you can also visit the local agency to book this appointment.
If you are not sure of meeting up with the eligibility requirements, you could take and complete the WIC Prescreening Tool. The v Prescreening Tool is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Somali, and Vietnamese.
Upon completion of the WIC Prescreening Tool, the applicant who is likely to be eligible is provided with State-specific contact information and you would also be encouraged to make a certification appointment with the local WIC agency. The next step of action would be determined from the outcome of the appointment/ meeting.
The WIC locations are available in all the states in the United State of America. Whichever state you are currently residing in, you can get to a local agency around you, to get inquiries, information, and also to process applications.
On the official web page of the WIC program, there is a link to the WIC Contacts which contains all the list of WIC local agencies address. On the page, all you need do is type in or select your current state of residence in the space provided for it and then select the WIC from the drop menu below it. The location address and other contact information regarding all the local agencies/ offices in that state would be displayed.
This number is important when you want to contact any of the agencies to make inquiries or to book an appointment. The WIC number includes;
- Director’s phone number
- Agencies’ phone number
- Fax number
- Toll-Free number
- VOC Contact
- Email Address
All these contact information is available to be used to contact any of the agencies in your current state of residence.
The official page of this program links a WIC State Agency Directory page to it. On this page, you can get all the above-listed numbers and contact information. You can choose any of the above numbers to get in contact with the agency. However, it is advisable to contact the agency via toll-free numbers since is it free of charges.
A recipient of WIC benefits can receive an average amount of $47 monthly. However, the benefits of infants under v are better typically $100 for the infant and $50 for the mother. That aside, some of the benefits of the WIC program are;
- 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 grants
These are some of the benefits of the program an applicant stand to gain from.