Learn the Steps After Applying for WIC
After they apply for WIC services at a WIC center, applicants will find out whether they are approved or denied at the end of their appointment. This is because there is no extended review period, as applicants’ eligibility for WIC benefits is determined during the WIC appointment. Those who are denied may follow the appeals process and possibly have their denial reconsidered. However, applicants who are approved will most likely have questions about what comes next.
After approval, recipients will either receive a limited-time voucher or a WIC EBT card depending on what their state offers. They will have a set allowance and be able to purchase only certain nutrient-rich foods. Applicants whose WIC application was denied will receive WIC’s decision in writing and be given the option to appeal. After receiving benefits, participants can also have their benefits revoked for various reasons. Participants who have had their benefits revoked are also allowed to appeal the decision. Continue reading below to learn about the various scenarios that WIC participants often have questions about after applying to the program.
Find Out About WIC Service Locations
Accepted applicants will find that there are many services and benefits available to them at WIC service locations besides allowances for food purchases. WIC benefits encompass breastfeeding education, support and equipment, referrals to health care providers and other community services, and nutritional classes and online resources.
WIC offices are located in many different places. WIC has standalone clinic locations, but offices can also be found at state health departments and hospitals. There are many other organizations that partner with the WIC nutrition program to make nutritious food services and assistance more accessible in local communities. These partners include churches, non-profit organizations, community centers and locations within Tribal Nations. Most locations require appointments, but many also allow walk-ins and offer extended times for applicants and recipients to access their benefits. Current and prospective participants are encouraged to always double-check the hours of operation of their local WIC offices before making a trip to one.
Learn more about WIC and finding a location in our comprehensive guide.
Learn About the WIC EBT Card
WIC recipients receive their food benefits in the form of cash, voucher or WIC EBT card. Not all states administer benefits through the WIC card, but current policy is transitioning all states to the card and away from cash or vouchers. An EBT card, or Electronic Benefits Transfer card, is similar to a debit card. It gives WIC recipients the freedom to purchase their food with the convenience of a card. Like a debit card, it comes with a PIN that participants create themselves. The benefit of an EBT card is that participants can receive their allowances digitally and automatically. Since several government programs disburse financial benefits through the EBT card, recipients can use the same card for more than one benefits program.
An EBT card also makes checking the card balance easy. Benefit recipients can either call the EBT service number, call their WIC number or check online. Recipients have the benefit of using their card in many stores, even farmers markets. As long as the store accepts EBT cards at their registers, then WIC participants are able to use them to purchase authorized products.
How to Replace a Lost WIC Card
A lost WIC card is not uncommon. The card is small and easy to lose or misplace. The first step that card holders should take is to call the EBT customer service line and report a WIC card lost. In some states, card holders can call their WIC offices directly. Doing this ensures that the lost or stolen card is unusable so that no one can make fraudulent purchases with someone else’s benefits. The second step is to contact a local WIC office and inquire about obtaining a new EBT card. There may be a delay in using benefits because WIC offices typically do not issue WIC cards the same day as the theft was reported. It may take as long as a one week to receive a new WIC card at some offices. WIC participants are advised to bring a photo ID or some other valid form of identification with them when picking up their new card.
How to Transfer WIC Benefits to Another State
Many WIC participants wonder how to transfer WIC benefits to another state when they move. Fortunately, the WIC program does allows participants to complete WIC transfers when they move from state to state. This is because the WIC program is available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Thus, families can continue receiving benefits even if they move. This procedure to complete a WIC transfer is simple. Participants first need to fill out a WIC transfer form, which can be acquired from a current local WIC office. The office will also give the participants an identification transfer card or a Verification of Certification (VOC). This information will inform the future WIC center of the recipient’s participation in the program.
Once the participant moves to the new state, he or she will have to set up an appointment at a new WIC center to complete the WIC transfer. It is not necessary to complete an intake interview or become recertified when transferring as long as the recipient’s current certification period has not ended. However, without a WIC transfer form, or if a recipient did not have the opportunity to notify the previous WIC center about the move, the transfer process will take much longer.
Get details on transferring benefits if you move to another state in our in-depth guide.
Find Out About WIC Denials & Appeals
As mentioned above, not all WIC applicants are accepted into the program, and some receive WIC denials. Still, others who are accepted may have their benefits revoked any time they stop meeting eligibility requirements. In both cases though, the participants have the opportunity to undergo a WIC services appeal.
When applicants are denied, they receive a letter detailing why WIC denied them and informing them of their right to appeal. Common reasons for denial include not meeting state income requirements or not supplying all of the appropriate paperwork and verification documents. Some reasons for disqualification include not attending follow-up appointments or making multiple unauthorized purchases with WIC benefits.
A WIC appeal can be initiated by contacting a local WIC office. WIC will require the applicant or participant to undergo a fair hearing in which he or she can submit evidence of eligibility to help the case. There is a limited amount of time that a hearing can be requested. After the fair hearing, the participant will be notified of the decision in approximately 45 days.