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Archived News Article: Information may be out of date
November 24, 2020

How do I apply for the WIC Program?

How do I apply for the WIC Program?
How do I apply for the WIC Program?

How do I apply to participate in WIC?

If you’re interested in applying for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, we encourage you to check your eligibility with the Benefit Finder tool or use the shortened questionnaire on the WIC Program page.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service administers the WIC Program at the federal level, state agencies are responsible for determining participant eligibility and providing benefits and services, and for authorizing vendors.

To apply to be a WIC participant, you will need to apply through your state (or local agency) to set up an appointment. To set up an appointment, find your state's website or call the toll-free number. If you call to set up an appointment, a coordinator will inform you of the nearest location to your home and instruct you on what to bring to your appointment.

You must meet the requirements under the following sections to receive WIC:

  • Categorical
  • Income
  • Nutritional risk

Who is eligible for the WIC Program?

The WIC Program serves specific groups of women, infants, and children. The following individuals applying for the WIC Program are considered categorically eligible:

  • Pregnant women may be eligible throughout pregnancy and up to six weeks after the birth of the infant or the end of the pregnancy.
  • Postpartum women may be eligible for up to six months after the birth of the infant or the end of pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding women may be eligible up to the infant's first birthday.
  • Infants may be eligible up to their first birthday. Children may be eligible up to their fifth birthday.

Who administers the WIC Program?

WIC is administered at the state level, with more than 47,000 vendors across the U.S. When applying for the WIC Program, you must live in the state in which you apply. WIC is also administered within Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) areas, and applicants must meet residency requirements established by the ITO.

In some states, applicants may need to apply at a WIC clinic that serves the area of the state that they live in. Applicants are not required to live in the state or local service area for a certain amount of time before applying.

What is the income requirement for WIC?

Individuals who are eligible for WIC must have income at or below an income level or standard set by the state agency. State agencies establish income standards based on poverty income guidelines issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Check out the 2020-2021 WIC income eligibility guidelines for the latest criteria.

Many applicants can be determined income-eligible for the WIC Program based on their participation in certain programs. These programs include individuals who:

What is the nutrition risk requirement?

Before being accepted into the WIC Program, applicants must be seen by a health professional such as a physician, nurse, or nutritionist. This health professional will determine whether the individual has a nutrition risk. Having nutrition risk means that an individual has medical-based or dietary-based conditions, such as anemia, being underweight, or a history of difficult pregnancies.

In many cases, nutritional risk can be established by the WIC clinic at no cost to the applicant. This information can also be obtained by another health professional, such as the applicant's physician. During these exams, the applicant's height and weight will be taken and bloodwork is done to check for anemia. Applicants must have at least one of the medical or dietary conditions on the state's list of WIC nutrition risk criteria to qualify for WIC.

Am I eligible for WIC?

Checking your eligibility for the WIC Program is quick and easy. Use the WIC Prescreening Tool, an online application intended to help potential WIC applicants determine if they are likely eligible for WIC benefits. After using the prescreening tool, users who may be eligible are provided with state-specific contact information for the WIC Program. For information on additional government assistance, use the Benefit Finder, to check if you may be eligible for over 1,000 benefits.

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