WIC - Women, Infant, and Children benefit program.
Low-income parents and single moms can get help from WIC benefits. Get free infant formula, help with infant care, gift cards or vouchers and other support. The federal government funds the WIC program, which stands for Women, Infant, and Children. This nutritional and food assistance program provides support to infants as well as new mothers or pregnant women. Find how to apply for WIC near you
Applications are provided in each state by a social service - - DSS office or Department of Heath. WIC is administered locally, with many local stores such as WalMart, Target, Kroger, Publix, WalGreens and many others that provide formula, cereal, hygiene supplies and food to people on WIC. There is usually a check or debit / EBT card given to low-income families.
WIC provides free food, formula and help for both the mom and baby. In order to be eligible for aid, applicants must meet income guidelines that are established by the federal government. In addition, individuals applying need to be pregnant women, must be a new mother, and have infants or children under the age five years of age. Several million individuals across the nation currently receive food from the Women, Infant, and Children program.
Benefits provided by WIC
The federal government provides states with funds to run the program. While each state may be able to slightly modify the terms and conditions of the assistance they provide, in general the WIC programs will be able to help families and individuals by providing them with free debit cards or checks for buying healthy supplemental foods, formula and groceries from WIC-authorized vendors. The vendors will be determined at the state level but will tend to be almost every grocery store, retailer, or supermarket, including WalMart, Alberstons, Target and others/
In addition, one of the main conditions of the program is that when applying participants are required to agree to receive nutrition education. This will help learn learn how to eat healthy on a budget. This part of WIC is all about wellness and healthy living. The program can even help families and individuals with finding healthcare or other community services that can provide help during difficult times.
Free food from the WIC program
The exact listing and types of food provided will vary by state. However, in general the food items provided to participants for free by WIC are the following. Program participants will get some or all of the following with a monthly cash stipend. Or look here for free cash for single moms.
- milk and some dairy products
- juice (single strength)
- Infant formula and cereal
- breakfast cereal
- fresh produce including fruits and vegetables
- peanut butter, natural fruit juice (not syrup)
- whole wheat bread
- fish (canned)
- canned fruits, legumes (canned and dry).
Various other groceries and food can be offered as well, including meat, dairy, or breakfast cereal. The previous list is just a sampling of what can be obtained from vendors and grocery stores.
One of the significant differences between the federal government funded WIC program and other food assistance programs that provide groceries is that participants will be required to receive nutrition education as well as counseling. Low-income families, or a pregnant woman, will receive this service along with the free food and grocery vouchers, usually on a WIC debt card or free coupons. The nutrition education that is provided to families will include topics such as appropriate infant feeding, healthy eating, shopping practices, and breast-feeding.
Apply for WIC near you
While the federal government does fund the program, as indicated it is administered at the local state level. So the exact application process and conditions to the WIC benefit program near you may vary a little by state or maybe even county. The main application phone numbers for WIC are below.
State government agencies are responsible for determining exact participants eligibility and the application process. Each local government agency, such as DSS, are also responsible for providing benefits and services. In general, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program will help the following.
- Women who are currently pregnant, who just had a baby or newborn, or who are currently breast feeding.
- A low-income family with at least one child who is under 5 years old. This can include foster or adopted children as well.
- Families who are considered low to moderate income and who are at nutritional risk, including what are called working poor families.
- Single mothers who need help feeding a new born.
If an individual has previously applied for and currently participates in other state or federal government benefit programs, or if the family member has other immediate family members who participate in the federal government Food Stamp Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid, they will automatically meet the eligibility requirements of the WIC program. But they still should call the state agency to formally apply for WIC, or ensure there are no hold ups in the process.
State organizations to apply to for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC)
- Alabama: 1-888-942-4673
- Arizona: 1-800-252-5942
- Arkansas: 1-800-235-0002 or (800) 462-0599
- California: 1-888-942-9675
- Colorado - Dial 1-800-688-7777 for information on Infants and Children
- Connecticut: 1-800-741-2142
- Delaware - Dial DHSS at 1-800-222-2189 or (302) 605-4066
- District of Columbia 1-800-345-1942
- Florida: 1-800-342-3556
- Georgia WIC applications are processed by the Division of Public Health. Call 1-800-228-9173
- Hawaii: 1-888-820-6425
- Idaho - Call the Department of Health and Welfare at 1-800-926-2588 for WIC benefits.
- Illinois: 1-800-323-4769
- Indiana: 1-800-522-0874
- Iowa - Dial DHSS at 1-800-532-1579
- Kansas - Call 785-296-1320 or 1-800-332-6262
- Kentucky - Call 1-800-462-6122 or (877) 597-0367
- Louisiana - Dial 1-800-251-2229 or 504-568-8229
- Maine: 1-800-437-9300
- Maryland: 1-800-242-4942
- Massachusetts: 1-800-942-1007
- Michigan applications for WIC are at DHHS. Call 1-800-942-1636
- Minnesota: 1-800-657-3942
- Mississippi: 1-800-721-7222
- Missouri applications are from the Department of Health Services. Call 800-392-8209 or 1-800-835-5465
- Montana: 1-800-433-4298
- Nebraska: 1-800-942-1171
- Nevada: 1-800-863-8942
- New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has WIC applications. Call 1-800-942-4321
- New Jersey: 1-800-328-3838
- New Mexico: 1-866-867-3124
- New York - Call the Department of Health at 1-800-522-5006
- North Carolina: 1-800-367-2229
- North Dakota: 1-800-472-2286
- Ohio WIC customer service number is at 1-800-755-4769
- Oklahoma: 1-888-655-2942
- Oregon: 1-800-723-3638
- Pennsylvania: 1-800-942-9467
- Rhode Island: 1-800-942-7434
- South Carolina: - Dial (803) 898-3432 or 1-800-868-0404
- South Dakota: 1-800-738-2301
- Tennessee: 1-800-342-5942
- Texas has applications online and with approved staff. Call 1-800-942-3678 for WIC benefits.
- Vermont: 1-800-464-4343
- Virginia has WIC applications at the Department of Health. Call 1-888-942-3663
- Washington: 1-800-841-1410
- Wisconsin: 1-800-722-2295
- Wyoming: 1-800-994-4769
Additional WIC application information
There are other local and national WIC application sites, including both online and a hotline phone number. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) overseas the benefit on the national level, with more information at Health and Wellness or Social Service offices. Get more details on USDA WIC here as well as additional intake information.
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