The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is a very successful federal-funded initiative. Pregnant women and mothers with children under 5 years old are the recipients of this program.
WIC is funded through cash grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to WIC State agencies and administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Since more funding is available for this program than many others of its kind, it is often easier for single mothers to qualify for WIC.
The official mission of WIC is to provide support to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women and children under age five who are considered to be at nutritional risk.
The program does this by providing foods to supplement diets, healthcare referrals, and information regarding healthy eating.
Am I eligible for WIC?
To be eligible for WIC, your gross income (i.e. before taxes are withheld) must be below 185% of the Poverty Income Guidelines. The guidelines for WIC are shown here.
The WIC Prescreening Tool is often used to determine if you’re be eligible for WIC benefits. This online tool might ask you to enter the amounts of your household’s earned (wages, tips, etc.) and unearned income (child support, unemployment benefits, SSI, etc.).
How to Apply for WIC
To apply for WIC, you should contact their local or state agency or call the toll-free number to set up an appointment where the representative will tell you the location nearest your home and what documents you need to bring with you.
Recipients usually receive aid in the form of vouchers that can be used at designated food stores buy foods1 – milk, eggs, cereal, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, infant formula, etc, – each of these helps keep pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies and children healthy and strong.
WIC is designed as a short-term program, with eligible recipients usually receiving benefits for six to twelve months. At which time, you will need to reapply for the benefits.
If you move between states, you’ll still continue to receive WIC benefits until the expiration date of the certification period, as long as there is proof that you’re the recipient of WIC program in another state.
- Approximately 46,000 U.S. merchants accept these vouchers and various local and state organizations work to provide the health care and food benefits. [↩]