The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers a program through the Food and Nutrition Service division that helps moms of small children provide for their nutritional. WIC, or Women, Infants, and Children offer benefits to the families for six to twelve months. After that time, the family may still be eligible for the program and can apply again.
State agencies take on the responsibility of determining who is eligible to participate in the WIC program, even though it is administered at the federal level. The state also authorizes the vendors for the program and provides the benefits and services.
To find the WIC program in your area, contact the state or local agency and they will provide you with the nearest location. They will also set up your appointment to apply for the benefit.
If you apply for WIC and meet the guidelines, you can’t automatically expect to actually receive the benefit. Often there are more qualified applicants than there are funds available. This is especially true in localities that are hard hit by unemployment and lower wages. If the funds have run out, you should ask if a waiting list has been started. The list will be prioritized by need, not by time of application. If you are put on a waiting list, ask how long you will remain there and if there is any need to reapply in the future.
There are only four requirements that have to be met to qualify for the WIC benefit. Women who are breastfeeding, postpartum or pregnant will be eligible. A child or an infant who has not yet reached their fifth birthday will also qualify.
All applicants must live in the state in which they are applying for the WIC benefit, and the gross income must be within the eligibility guidelines set by the state. If the applicant is eligible for Medicaid or TANF, they are usually eligible for the WIC program.
Applicants must be nutritionally at risk. A poor diet, being underweight or suffering from anemia are all symptoms of being at risk for poor nutrition.
If you move to another state while you and your family are receiving the WIC benefit, make sure that you notify the office that you applied at so that you do not automatically lose the benefit. You will be given a card by a staff member of WIC that identifies you as a participant in the WIC program. After you have moved into your new location, contact the local office of WIC and take the card to your first appointment. As long as there are funds available in the local program, you can continue receiving the benefit until the time limit is reached. At this point, you will have to reapply and meet the guidelines that have been established by the state in which you are applying.
If, after you relocate, you find that you cannot continue to receive the benefit because funding has run out, you will be placed at the top of the waiting list so that you can continue when the funds are available.