Louisiana WIC is a nutritional assistance program that provides free nutrition education, financial assistance for healthy foods and referrals to other social services to qualifying applicants. In order to receive benefits, you must either be a pregnant woman, postpartum woman or a child under the age of five as well as meet additional eligibility requirements. Your local WIC office will determine whether or not you are eligible for benefits, but you must meet income, residency and nutritional risk requirements.
If interested in the WIC program in Louisiana, it is important to know that you cannot apply online or by mail. Applications can only be submitted at a local office in person. However, before asking, “Where is a WIC office near me?” it is worth taking a closer look at the program’s eligibility requirements and benefits in order to know what to expect from the program.
Download our helpful WIC guide to get information on requirements and the application process.
What are the WIC requirements in Louisiana?
Louisiana WIC eligibility requirements can only be met by certain groups of individuals, including:
- Pregnant women
- New mothers who are breastfeeding, up to the baby’s first birthday
- Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding, up to six months following the end of a pregnancy
- Infants and children up to age five years old.
Other caretakers, including fathers, are not eligible for benefits for themselves. However, other forms of caretakers may still apply for a qualifying child.
To meet WIC qualifications, you must be a resident of Louisiana. There is a WIC program in every state throughout the U.S. as the program is recognized nationally, however, to apply for benefits in Louisiana, you must be a resident of the state.
The WIC program provides benefits to families who considered to be of low income. Therefore, you must be at or below income limits that are set by the state each year, which are determined by the year’s federal poverty line. Income limits are based upon your household size and when determining your household size, it is important to know that each unborn child counts as an additional household member.
To qualify for WIC in Louisiana, each applicant must pose a nutritional risk. A nutritional risk can be brought on by a number of medical and dietary conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to poor diet, over or underweight, anemia and a history of poor pregnancy outcomes.
How to Apply for WIC in Louisiana
A Louisiana WIC application can only be submitted in person. At this time, online and by mail applications are not available within the state. In most cases, you will need to schedule an appointment with your local office prior to your visit by contacting the office by phone. When learning how to apply for WIC, it is important to understand the importance of this initial WIC appointment. Not only will you receive additional information about the program, benefits and how food benefits are used, but your eligibility for the program will be determined. Therefore, it is imperative that you prepare for this appointment and that you have all of the required documentation necessary to complete your application at your local office.
What can you get with WIC in Louisiana?
There are numerous Louisiana WIC benefits provided to successful applicants who are approved for the program. If approved for benefits, you can receive:
- Breastfeeding information, support and supplies.
- Personalized nutrition information and education.
- Special checks that can be used to purchase nutritious food items.
- Referrals to other social services and programs that your family may qualify for.
Louisiana WIC checks are distributed on a monthly basis. You will have to visit your local office to obtain your checks each month. These checks can be used to purchase nutritious food items that are essential for healthy growth. You will receive a variety of checks, based upon your nutritional needs, with each check specifying a food category that you may use the check for. Each check will also display a date that you can begin using the check as well as a date that the check will expire. If any of your checks do expire, you cannot receive additional benefits the additional month to make up for expired benefits as benefits do not roll over to the following month.
WIC checks may include food categories such as:
- Whole wheat bread
- Breakfast cereal
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Baby food and formula
As stated previously, your WIC benefits will be determined by your nutritional needs as well as the age of any eligible children that are receiving benefits. To learn more about requirements for WIC, download our helpful guide.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Louisiana
Your Louisiana WIC appointment is an important step in receiving benefits from the program. During this appointment, you can expect to receive further information about the program and the benefits that are offered as well as discover whether or not you are eligible to receive benefits. Due to the fact that eligibility is determined at the appointment, you will need to bring any children with you that may qualify for benefits. To apply for WIC, you must also be able to provide the following documents to your local office:
- Proof of identification for yourself and each additional person (including children) that you are applying for such as driver’s licenses, identification cards, birth certificates, birth records or immunization records
- Proof of residency, such as with a valid voter registration card, current rent or mortgage receipt, current utility bills or state or local documents indicating your residency
- Proof of income for all household members, such as with paystubs or written statements from an employer
- Immunization records for all infants and children, if available
As stated previously, WIC eligibility requirements related to income will be automatically met if you are currently receiving assistance from another applicable program, such as SNAP, TANF or Medicaid. If you are receiving assistance from one of these programs, you may instead bring an acceptance letter or another document that indicates that you receive benefits from one of these services instead of providing proof of income.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Louisiana
Your Louisiana WIC balance will be based upon the remaining checks that you have prior to the date that you will be eligible to obtain more from your local office. As stated previously, each check that you are given will be for a particular food category and you do not need to use all of your checks during one purchase. However, you are strongly recommended to use checks prior to the expiration date listed on the check, because expired benefits will not roll over to the following beneficiary month.