Florida WIC is a federally funded nutrition assistance program that is designed to aid low-income women, infants and children who face nutritional risk. The program provides numerous benefits, including free healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals to other assistance programs, including health care and community services. A WIC office must be visited in order to apply for benefits and, generally, you will be required to make an appointment prior to your visit.
The WIC assistance program has strict eligibility requirements that must be met in order for benefits to be received. Therefore, it is important to review these requirements in order to determine whether or not your family may be eligible. In addition to only serving certain groups of individuals, the program contains residency, income and nutritional risk-related requirements.
Learn more about WIC benefits and requirements when you download our helpful guide.
What are the WIC requirements in Florida
Florida WIC only provides benefits to the following groups of individuals:
- Women who are pregnant
- Women who are not breastfeeding, up to six months after the end of a pregnancy
- Women who are breastfeeding, up to the first birthday of an infant
- Infants and children who are younger than five years of age
While WIC does not provide benefits to fathers, grandparents and other caretakers, these individuals can still apply for benefits for a qualifying child or infant.
To meet WIC qualifications in Florida, you must have a low to very low income as this assistance program is designed to provide nutritional assistance to low-income families that meet other qualifications. Income limits are reassessed on an annual basis as limits are based upon the current federal poverty line. If you are currently pregnant, your household size will include an additional person for each unborn baby. Additionally, it is worth knowing that you may automatically meet this requirement if you are currently receiving assistance from another state program, such as food stamps (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid.
WIC requirements also include residency. Florida benefits are not extended to anyone who lives outside of Florida. If you do live outside of Florida, you must learn how to get WIC in your own state, even if you work within Florida.
The final WIC qualification that you should be aware of is nutritional risk. Nutritional risk will be assessed during your initial appointment at your local office, but nutritional risk is defined by a medical or dietary condition such as anemia, overweight, underweight, poor diet, low birth weight and history of poor pregnancy outcomes.
How to Apply for WIC in Florida
A WIC application may only be submitted at your local Florida office location. When learning how to sign up for WIC, it is important to know that most county offices will require that you contact the office by phone in order to schedule an appointment prior to your visit. While some counties do authorize walk-in appointments, most offices will require you to make an appointment. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the initial appointment, including what to expect from the appointment and the documentation that you will need to bring with you.
At this time, WIC online applications and by mail applications are not available within the state. However, once you are approved for the program, it is strongly recommended that you register your eWIC card online in order to take advantages of the benefits of an online account, such as further information on authorized foods and a convenient way to check your food balance.
What can you get with WIC in Florida?
Florida WIC provides numerous benefits to recipients at no cost, including:
- Healthy, nutritious foods.
- Nutrition counseling and education.
- Breastfeeding information and support.
- Referrals to other services that a family may be eligible for, including health care, immunizations and community services.
WIC benefits will allow you to purchase authorized nutritious foods that are essential to body health and growth. WIC checks are no longer provided in Florida. Instead, you will be provided with an eWIC card if you or your children are approved to receive benefits from the program. These cards are considered far superior to the checks that were once issued as you will no longer be required to visit your local office on a monthly basis to pick up checks and it is easier for you to review your remaining food balance.
Your WIC office will provide you with a list of authorized foods upon the approval of your application. Generally, authorized foods include items such as:
- Whole grain items like bread, oatmeal, oats, wheat pasta and tortillas.
- 100 percent fruit juice.
- A variety of breakfast cereals.
- Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Canned and dried beans.
- Peanut butter.
- Baby food and formula.
- Canned fish.
Review your WIC benefits prior to each purchase as each food category will have specific rules and regulations that must be met in order for a food to be authorized. For example, you can purchase canned light tuna, pink salmon or mackerel, but there are restrictions on the size of cans as well as additives that are permitted.
Learn more tips for using WIC and details about the application process when you download our comprehensive guide.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Florida
As stated previously, a WIC appointment is generally required in Florida before you can apply at a local office. Your families eligibility will be determined at this time, so it is important to review the documentation that you will need to bring with you to your appointment. If you or any of your children are approved for benefits, you will need to learn how to use your eWIC card and further information regarding your benefits and foods that are approved for the program.
When applying for WIC, you must bring any children that may qualify for the program with you to your scheduled appointment. Additionally, you will need to bring the following documents:
- Proof of income for the last 30 days for each household member. Additionally, it is important to bring documents related to alimony, child support, foster care payment and any unemployment compensation.
- Proof of address that is recent, shows your name and your address. You can utilize documents such as a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, lease agreement, driver’s license or mortgage agreement.
- Proof of identification for yourself and each child or infant that may qualify for benefits, such as a birth certificate, drivers license, identification card or Social Security card.
- A WIC Medical Referral Form, if your doctor has completed this form.
- Immunization records for each qualifying child.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Florida
Your WIC balance can be easily checked in Florida as the state has opted to use eWIC cards. You will find a number on the back of your card that you may call to inquire about your current food balance. Alternatively, you may also visit the WIC EBT website and register your card to check your balance at any time. Whenever you use your benefits for a purchase, you will receive a receipt that will include your remaining food balance.