How to Apply for WIC
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You can apply for WIC in 3 simple steps by completing the required form, submitting it and scheduling an appointment. WIC applications vary from state to state. As a result, be sure to review the specific application procedures in your area.
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is administered by 90 state agencies. However, you apply for WIC through your local county agency.
Make sure that you visit the WIC location in your county, because a different county office may be unable to review your application and provide you with approval for benefits.
After you visit or contact your local agency for application instructions, you must complete an application form and submit required documents. This includes proof of your U.S. citizenship or legal presence in the country.
Learn more about the application process and how to prepare below.
Documents Needed to Apply for WIC
To sign up for WIC in your state, you must be able to verify the information that you provide on your application. Essentially, you are required to bring certain documents to your local agency for verification.
It is important to collect these documents before you apply for a quick and seamless process. Staff members at your local agency will not be able to make a decision on your case until they are able to verify the information on your WIC forms.
Your documents will help answer questions about your income, family makeup and more. Required verification documents include:
- Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or birth certificate.
- Proof of income, such as a pay stub or a recent bank statement.
- Proof of address, such as a recent utility bill or lease agreement.
- The WIC referral form, in order to prove that you are medically qualified.
- Immunization records.
- The nutrition questionnaire.
You may need to present additional documents depending on your circumstances. To learn about additional required documentation for the WIC application, download our free guide.
How to Submit Your WIC Application
Some states will allow you to apply for WIC online by filling out an initial online application. To fill out this form, you must visit your state’s WIC portal and follow the instructions.
If you have the option of completing an online WIC application form, make sure you gather important verification documents beforehand. These will help you fill out the form quickly and reduce the likelihood that your online session expires before you have a chance to save or finish.
You can still complete the application online even if English is not your first language. This is because most state portals that have online application forms offer different language settings. Therefore, you may change the language on the site before filling out the application.
If your state does not offer an online WIC benefits application, you may request a hard copy from your local agency. As with an online application, the hard copy of a WIC form will ask you basic identity questions as well as questions that are more involved. For example, you will be asked if you are currently enrolled in other government assistance programs.
In the application process, you will also complete a WIC nutrition questionnaire. The questionnaire you receive will depend on your eligibility category. For example, if you are pregnant or postpartum, you will be asked about:
- Your child’s overall health.
- The date of your child’s next health care appointment.
- The number of times each week an adult eats a meal with your child.
- Your diet and vitamin regimen.
Your state may also offer an online pre-screening test which you can take before scheduling an interview. This test is not mandatory. However, it may help you determine your chances of meeting all the WIC eligibility requirements.
Note: Taking a pre-screening test and receiving a prediction of “not eligible” does not necessarily mean you will not qualify for benefits. You may still qualify after you submit an application.
How to Prepare for Your Appointment After You Sign Up for WIC
You may use a WIC phone number for your local agency to schedule an appointment, which can save you time later on. A staff member will also be able to tell you the best times to visit the office.
If you do not call to schedule an appointment, your local agency is likely to still welcome a walk-in visit. In either case, remember to bring your verification documents with you and to check the WIC office hours before visiting.
An initial appointment at a WIC agency can take up to two hours. You and your caseworker will need to set aside time to complete all the steps of the appointment. Fortunately, you can avoid delays and ensure that you finish your process in one visit by clicking here.
At your appointment, a caseworker will go through the following steps:
- Review your WIC qualifications. During this first step of the WIC application appointment, your caseworker will go over your application with you. He or she will try to gather as much relevant information about you and your family as possible.
- Discuss your nutrition habits. This next step in the process after you apply for WIC will help determine the type of food package you may receive. Consequently, your caseworker will ask you about any dietary restrictions or allergies that you or your family members have and suggest substitutes in such cases.
- Perform a WIC health screening. If you are signing up for WIC, you must undergo a health screening. A staff member at the agency will collect basic health information about you by taking your height, weight, blood pressure and blood work. After you sign up for WIC, a health screening is free. However, it is not a substitute for required medical referrals.
- Provide you with information on other resources. Depending on your circumstances, your caseworker will discuss additional free resources that can benefit you. If your child is an infant, for instance, you will receive information on breastfeeding. Furthermore, your caseworker may recommend other federal assistance programs such as SNAP, TANF or Medicaid.
Once you complete the appointment and provide all the required information on your WIC application form, your local agency will review your case and determine your eligibility. If you qualify, you will receive your benefits in the form of an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card.
EBT cards recently replaced WIC vouchers, making it much easier for recipients to access their funds after they apply for WIC benefits and are approved. These cards are reloaded each month as long as the beneficiary maintains eligibility.