The WIC application helps state agencies determine who qualifies for benefits. WIC eligibility requirements look at the following: the applicant’s category, such as an infant younger than one year of age, a young child between one and five years of age, or as a pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding woman. A woman is in the postpartum category until six months after her infant’s birth. She may be in the breastfeeding category until her infant’s first birthday.
Residency. Applicants must apply to the state where they live. Those in Indian Tribal Organizations may apply directly to the ITO. Agencies do not require residents to live in the area for a certain period, so individuals can apply as soon as they move to the state.
Nutritional risk. A health professional must see applicants determine if they are at nutritional risk. The free health screening can include a height and weight measurement, bloodwork, and a review of their medical history.
Income. Residents must have household earnings that meet their state’s income requirements. Wage requirements are typically between 100 and 185 percent of the federal poverty income, but states determine income eligibility guidelines.
Income thresholds depend on the applicant’s residency. Alaska and Hawaii residents, for example, can earn more than applicants in the 48 contiguous states and still qualify since it is more expensive to live in those areas.
Likewise, the number of household members influences income thresholds. Larger families can earn more than smaller households and still qualify for enrollment. Household members include every person who lives in the home and shares income and expenses.
Interested individuals can use the WIC PreScreening Tool online to check if they potentially qualify for benefits. The tool is not a WIC application, and it does not guarantee enrollment in the program. However, it can give applicants information about what the application needs, the local WIC agency, and other assistance programs.
Some applicants may automatically qualify for benefits if they participate in other assistance programs. Households with members who enrolled in benefit programs like Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families automatically meet income requirements.
Demand for food assistance is very high in some areas, and local agencies may not have funds to help all qualifying applicants. In these cases, WIC offices may prioritize specific applicants, such as nutritional-at-risk infants and pregnant women, over others, like non-breastfeeding mothers.
Residents will need to submit proof that they meet the requirements. They may need to furnish documents that establish identity, benefits enrollment, and pregnancy status. Find out how to apply for WIC benefits and what documents to submit at the appointment.