How to Apply for WIC
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You can apply for WIC in 3 steps. You need to fill out the application form, send it in and schedule an appointment. WIC applications are different from state to state. So double-check the application process in your area before you get started.
Ninety state agencies oversee the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. But you will send your application to your local county agency. Only your local office can approve your application for benefits. The local office has to look at your documents, too. Learn more about the application process and how to get ready below.
Find Out What Documents Are Needed to Apply for WIC
To get WIC benefits, you have to fill out an application. You have to be able to prove the information on your form, too. Basically, your local agency will want to look at documents that prove the details you gave. WIC office workers will not be able to make a decision on your case until they can look at both the filled-out application and your documents.
Your documents will help answer questions about what you earned, your family makeup and more. Documents you will be asked to bring include:
- Proof of your identity, like a driver’s license or birth certificate.
- Proof of what you earned, like a pay stub or bank statement.
- Proof of your address, like a utility bill or rent agreement.
- The WIC referral form, to prove that you are qualified.
- Immunization shot records.
- The nutrition questionnaire.
You might have to give more information or documents depending on your situation. To learn more about how to apply for WIC, download our free guide.
How to Send in Your WIC Application
Some states will let you apply for WIC online through their website. To apply online, you have to fill out an online form with your information.
If you have the option of applying online, put together a list of documents that you need ahead of time. Important documents like proof of your ID, residency and earnings can help you fill out the application quickly.
You might still be able to apply online if English is not your first language. Most state websites have online applications with different languages. So you should be able to change the settings when you get started.
If you can’t apply online, you can ask for a WIC benefits application from your local agency. The physical application will ask you the same basic questions.
The next step in the application process is to fill out a WIC nutrition questionnaire. The questionnaire you get will depend on your situation. For example, if you are pregnant or you just had a baby, you will be asked about:
- Your child’s health.
- Your diet.
- When your child’s next health care appointment is.
Some states help you find out if you qualify before you apply. They offer screening tools online that you can use.
Note: Taking a pre-screening test and getting an answer of “not eligible” does not mean that you will not qualify for benefits. You may still qualify after you apply.
How to Get Ready for Your WIC Appointment
After you fill out the application, you have to meet with a WIC caseworker. You can call your local agency by using the WIC phone number and setting up an appointment to meet. You can walk into the office without an appointment, too.
Either way, remember to bring your documents with you and to check the WIC office hours before visiting.
An appointment at a WIC agency can take up to two hours. You and your caseworker will need to go through the following steps:
- Review your WIC requirements. Your caseworker will go over your application with you. He or she will ask for a lot of information about you and your family to see if you meet the program’s requirements.
- Talk about your nutrition habits. This next step will help determine the type of food package you get. Your caseworker will ask you about your diet and allergies and give advice on substitutes you can use in different situations.
- Do a WIC health screening. If you are signing up for WIC, you have to do a health screening. The health screening is free. A staff member at the agency will take your height, weight, blood pressure and blood work. Keep in mind that the screening is not the same as a medical referral.
- Talk about other resources. Your caseworker will talk to you about other free resources that might help. For example, if you have an infant, the caseworker will talk to you about breastfeeding services and they can recommend other assistance programs like Food Stamps or Medicaid.
After the WIC caseworker has written down all your information, your local agency will look at your application and decide if you will get benefits. If your application is approved, you will get an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card with your benefits. EBT cards work like debit cards. These cards are reloaded every month with your benefits as long as you qualify.