Georgia WIC is a supplemental nutrition program that provides benefits to low-income infants, children, new mothers and pregnant women. A federally funded health and nutrition program, WIC provides healthy food items, education about nutrition and health, breastfeeding support and referrals to other health care and community services that a family may qualify for. You must visit your WIC office by appointment to apply for benefits, at which time your eligibility for the program will be assessed and you will be provided with further information about the program and its benefits.
To be eligible for the WIC program, you must meet categorical, income, residency and nutritional risk requirements, as the program is designed to provide assistance to Georgia families that are in need. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the eligibility requirements of the program, as well as the benefits that the program provides to families.
What are the WIC requirements in Georgia?
Numerous Georgia WIC eligibility requirements must be met in order to receive benefits from the program. Therefore, it is important to learn more about each of these requirements in order to determine whether or not you and your family may be eligible to receive assistance. The first form of eligibility that you should familiarize yourself with is the category of individuals that may be eligible to receive assistance, which includes:
- Pregnant women.
- Breastfeeding mothers (up to the child’s first birthday).
- Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding (up to 6 months).
- Infants and children up to 5 years (including foster children).
Other Georgia WIC qualifications include state residency, income and nutritional risk. While a WIC program exists in each state, you may only participate in Georgia’s state program if you are a resident of the state. If you are not a resident of Georgia, you must apply for your own state’s program.
As stated previously, WIC provides assistance to individuals who are of low or very low income in order to provide benefits to families who need it the most. Therefore, you must meet income limits that are determined each year by the federal poverty line in order to receive benefits from this Georgia program.
Finally, you must be considered to be at nutritional risk. Whether or not a nutritional risk is present will be determined at your initial appointment with your local office. However, a nutritional risk is generally defined by any condition related to medical or dietary factors. Therefore, a nutritional risk could be considered being overweight or underweight, having a poor diet, anemia, low birth weight and a history of poor pregnancy.
To learn more about WIC requirements, download our free guide.
How to Apply for WIC in Georgia
A Georgia WIC application can only be submitted in person at a local office. You must contact your local WIC office for an appointment prior to your visit in most cases. While some local offices may allow walk-in applications during established hours, that is not usually the case. At this time, online and by mail applications are not available.
When learning how to apply for WIC, it is important to learn more about the initial WIC appointment as your eligibility for the program will be determined at that time. You will be informed whether or not you and your family is eligible for assistance as well as receive further information regarding benefits and how to access them.
What can you get with WIC in Georgia?
The Georgia WIC program provides numerous benefits to qualifying applicants, including:
- Special checks that can be used to purchase healthy food items.
- Information and education regarding health and nutrition.
- Information and support about breastfeeding.
- Referrals to other community services, including health care, which a family may be eligible for.
WIC checks are provided to qualifying applicants on a monthly basis. These checks are issued by the type of food that you wish to purchase. However, it is important to learn more about authorized foods as, in addition to the types of foods that you may purchase, there are rules and regulations such as brand, dollar amount and additives within a food item. Generally, you may purchase authorized food items of the following types of foods:
- Peanut butter.
- Dried and canned beans.
- Frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- 100 percent juice.
- Canned fish.
- Various whole grain products.
- Baby food and formula.
In Georgia, WIC foods must be separated at a register from other foods or items that you may be purchasing. You must inform the cashier that you will be using checks from the program. It is also worth knowing that food items purchased with a check cannot be returned for cash, credit or exchange.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Georgia
During your Georgia WIC appointment, your eligibility for the program will be determined and you will be provided with additional information about the program and its benefits. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the documentation that you will need to bring with you to the appointment. It is also worth knowing that you must bring each of your children that may qualify for assistance to your appointment with you.
To apply for WIC, you must be able to provide the following:
- Proof of identity for you and each of your children, such as birth certificates, identification cards and drivers licenses.
- Proof of address, such as with a utility bill, lease agreement or mortgage agreement.
- Proof of income, such as with a letter from your employer, a recent tax form or paystubs.
- Proof of pregnancy, if you are currently pregnant.
To find out more about WIC appointments, download our comprehensive guide.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Georgia
After you have been approved for WIC benefits in Georgia, it is important to know how to use your checks and how to determine the amount of benefits that you have remaining. The state of Georgia currently uses paper checks that can be exchanged for the purchase of authorized food items. The dollar amount of these items that you can purchase will be displayed on the check. There is an individual check for each type of food item, making it easy to review your remaining food balance for the month.
WIC checks contain a start and end date for their validity. You may not use a check prior to the date listed on the check and benefits will expire on the final day of the month. Unused benefits do not roll over onto the next month.