WIC Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the WIC program. If you cannot find the answer to your question then we suggest you contact your local WIC office.

Who is eligible for the WIC program?
People who are eligible for the WIC program are, pregnant woman, postpartum and breastfeeding woman, infants and children up to 5 years old. They must meet the income eligibility requirements, state residency and be determined to be at nutritional risk by a health professional. For income eligibility, they must fall at or below 185% of the United States Poverty Income Guidelines.

What is considered a nutritional risk?
There are 2 major types of nutritional risks that is recognized for WIC eligibility requirements. Those are medically based risks such as anemia (low blood level), underweight, and history of pregnancy issues or poor pregnancy outcomes. The second one is diet based risks, such as inadequate dietary pattern. Nutritional risk is determined by a health professional such as a physician, nutritionist, or nurse, and is based on Federal guidelines.

Who gets first priority for WIC participation?
If WIC cannot serve all the eligible people who apply for benefits, so a system of priorities has been established for filling program openings. Once a local WIC agency has reached its maximum caseload, vacancies are generally filled in the order of the following priority levels:

  • Participants who are determined to be at nutritional risk because of serious medical problems
  • Infants up to 6 months whose mom could or did participate in WIC and major medical problems
  • Children (up to age 5) at nutritional risk because of serious medical problems
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women and infants at nutritional risk because of dietary problems
  • Children (up to age 5) at nutritional risk because of dietary problems
  • Non-breastfeeding, postpartum women with any nutritional risk
  • Individuals at nutritional risk only because they are homeless or migrants
  • Participants who without WIC foods could continue to have medical and/or dietary problems

What is the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program?
The FMNP (WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program), provides coupons to WIC participants that can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at participating local farmers markets. FMNP goals are to provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables, from farmers markets to WIC participants who are at nutritional risk; and to expand consumer awareness and use of local farmers markets.

What is the WIC infant formula rebate system?
Mothers who receive WIC benefits are encouraged to breastfeed their infants, if possible. However if this is not the chosen method to feed their infants, the local WIC office can provide an alternative with infant formula. WIC state agencies are required by law to have competitively bid infant formula rebate contracts with infant formula manufacturers.

This means WIC state agencies agree to provide one brand of infant formula and in return the manufacturer gives the State agency a rebate for each can of infant formula purchased by WIC participants. The brand of infant formula provided by WIC varies by State agency depending on which company has the rebate contract in a particular state.

What do I do with my WIC benefits if I move out of state?
If you are moving out of state you can continue to receive WIC benefits until your certification period expires as long as there is proof that the individual received WIC benefits in another area or State. Prior to moving, you should contact your local WIC office. In most cases, the WIC staff will give you a special card that shows you participated in the WIC Program. Once you have moved the next step is to call the new WIC office for and schedule an appointment. Make sure you take the special card to the WIC appointment in the new area or State.

What is the length of time I can receive WIC benefits?
WIC is considered a short-term program. People who receive WIC benefits will "graduate" at the end of one or more certification periods. A certification period is the length of time a WIC participant is eligible to receive benefits. Based on the current condition of the participate, such as being pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, an infant, or a child, an eligible individual usually receives WIC benefits from 6 months to a year, at which time she/he must reapply.

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