WIC Eligibility Criteria
The Special Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) is a federal initiative to help low-income families with pediatric nutritional risks to achieve proper care and financial guidance.
To qualify for WIC benefits, applicants must meet Categorical, Residential, Income and Nutritional Risk Requirements. This article will discuss how applicants can comply and prepare before reaching out to the nearest WIC clinics.
A web-based tool is now available to help prospective WIC applicants determine if they are qualified for WIC benefits. For more information, click here.
WIC assists financially impaired pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women as well as infants and children who have nutritional risks. Specific parameters must be met in order for a WIC healthcare professional to tell that a child has a nutritional risk. Health and dietary assessments will be done at the time of certification.
An applicant should be any of the categories below when applying for the WIC services:
- Pregnant women
- During pregnancy until 6 weeks after giving birth
- Breastfeeding women
- Up to the baby’s first birthday
- New Moms/Postpartum
- Until six months after the birth of the baby
- From infant’s birth to their first birthday
- Until the child’s fifth birthday
Applicants should live in the State where they are applying and look for a nearby WIC clinic that serves near their area. There is no requirement for the minimum amount of time for residency.
To be eligible, a family’s gross household income should be below the standard set by the State agency. This standard should be 100 to 185 percent of the U.S. poverty income guidelines that is issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services.
For updated salary brackets accepted by the WIC program, please check the link:http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/wic/WIC-IEGS-WEB.pdf
There are applicants who can be automatically eligible with regards to income criteria based on their participation in certain government programs.
Accepted involvement are as follows:
- SNAP benefits, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly known as AFDC, Aid to Families with Dependent Children),
- other State-administered programs
Nutritional Risk Requirements
WIC defines an individual to be at a nutritional risk when he or she has existing deficiencies or malnutrition. The conditions that WIC considers are: underweight, poor pregnancy outcome or anemia and poor diet.
Applicants for WIC services will be screened by a health care professional (doctor, nurse or nutritionist) to know if they are at a nutritional risk. This can be done in a WIC clinic with no cost. However, diagnoses made with private family physicians are also considered.
What to do
Interested applicants must seek the nearest WIC clinic near the neighborhood and contact them for a certification visit.
Once the local WIC office has provided a schedule, applicants must bring the following documents:
- Identification cards of the mother and/or child applying for WIC benefits
- Valid documents include birth certificates, crib card, driver’s license, military IDs, Social Security card and hospital records
- Pregnancy and/or health records
- Ultrasound or other diagnostic results, Universal Child Health Record, Vaccination records
- Proof of income
- Valid documents include net monthly salary or certificate of employment, child support and alimony, foster care allowances, unemployment compensation, military earnings and other related proof of eligibility
- Proof of residency (P.O. boxes are strictly prohibited)
- Valid documents should be current and must show name and address of the applicants. Other accepted documents are utility bills, bank/insurance statements, or driver’s license.
- WIC Medical Referral Form accomplished by your physician (if available, not a strict requirement)
For inquiries and more information, visit the nearest WIC clinic or office. You may also contact your local WIC by searching through this link or call toll free number: 1-800-342-3556.