Maine WIC is a nutrition program that provides aid to thousands of families within the state with a variety of benefits such as financial aid for nutritious foods, personalized nutrition education and breastfeeding support and information. This program is federally funded and recognized on a national level as each state has its own version of the program. Your local WIC office will ultimately determine whether or not you or your children are eligible to receive benefits, however, you can better prepare yourself for your visit to the office by learning more about the benefits of the program as well as the eligibility requirements.
To qualify for the WIC program, you must meet income, categorical, residency and nutritional risk related eligibility requirements. Each requirement has strict guidelines, making it imperative that you learn more about each additional requirement in order to determine whether or not you may be eligible for services.
What are the WIC requirements in Maine?
While a WIC program exists in each state, you must be a resident of Maine in order to receive benefits within Maine. If you are not a resident, you will be referred to your home state’s program. Additionally, it is important to know that it unlawful to attempt to receive benefits in more than one state at any given time.
Maine WIC eligibility requirements also include income as the program provides benefits to low-income families and individuals who need aid the most. However, it is important to know that most individuals who receive benefits are working as income limits are not as low as you might initially think. Income limits are based upon the current federal poverty line and determined by the size of your household. When determining your household size, it is also worth knowing that unborn children each count as an additional household member.
WIC qualifications also include nutritional risk. To receive benefits, you must pose a nutritional risk due to a medical or dietary condition. Nutritional risk will be determined for free by a health professional during your visit to the office, but conditions such as anemia, underweight, overweight, a history of pregnancy complications and dietary risks are all generally considered a nutritional risk.
Finally, in order to get WIC in Maine, it is important to understand that the program has categorical requirements. This program only provides benefits to individuals who fall within certain categories of individuals, such as:
- Women who are currently pregnant.
- Postpartum women 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 who are up to the age of five.
You can submit a WIC application for your children if you are a father or another form of caretaker, however, you will not be eligible for benefits for yourself.
To learn more about WIC requirements, download our comprehensive guide.
How to Apply for WIC in Maine
When learning how to apply for WIC in Maine, it is important to know that you can only submit an application in person by appointment at your local office as online and by mail applications are currently unavailable within the state.
Your WIC office will provide you with additional information about the program when you visit for your appointment. If you are determined to be eligible for assistance, you may even receive benefits the same day as your visit. Therefore, it is important to learn more about this initial appointment, including the types of documents that you must provide to staff members in order to complete your application.
What can you get with WIC in Maine?
Maine WIC benefits are numerous as the program provides:
- Personalized nutrition information. This information can aid you and your family in achieving and maintaining health related goals. A nutritionist will provide you with information that is tailored to you and your family as well as discuss various topics that are relevant to good health.
- Breastfeeding information and support. Your local office will provide you with information related to the benefits of breastfeeding as well as community resources for breastfeeding support. In many cases, the office may be able to provide supplies, including breast pumps for mothers in need of one.
- Referrals to other community resources. Staff can connect you with resources in your community that you and your family may qualify for. These services include, but are not limited to health care, dental services, heating assistance and DHHS programs.
- Food benefits. This program provides financial assistance towards the purchase of healthy foods that meet the nutritional needs of program participants. Some of the foods that may be authorized for purchase include cereal, juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, canned fish, soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, baby food and baby formula.
WIC checks are no longer issued in Maine. Instead, the state provides eWIC cards to beneficiaries of the program. This change serves several benefits to both the state and participants. With eWIC, the state can issue benefits on a monthly basis without requiring participants to visit a local office as well as keep better track of benefits that are issued. Beneficiaries also gain additional benefits from the use of eWIC as checkout lines are generally faster, authorized foods are deducted from a purchase automatically after the use of the card and it is easier to check food balances.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Maine
Your WIC appointment must be scheduled with a local Maine office if you would like to submit an application for benefits. Generally, walk-in applications are not accepted. During this appointment, your eligibility for benefits will be assessed and you will be provided with further information about the program. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with what to expect from the appointment.
Your initial WIC appointment may take an hour, but you can expect the following:
- Verification of your income, residency and identification.
- The completion of a health assessment in order to determine if there may be a nutritional risk.
- A review of your rights and responsibilities as program participant.
- The discussion of any additional services that you may be eligible for within your community.
- A review of WIC food lists and how to use benefits at the store.
When visiting your WIC office for the first time, you must bring any children that may qualify for benefits with you. Additionally, be prepared to provide the following documentation:
- Proof of income for the entire household.
- Proof of residence.
- Proof of identification for everyone applying for benefits, including children.
If you do not have the appropriate documentation, you will likely be asked to reschedule your appointment or your application may be denied entirely. For more information about preparing for a WIC appointment, download our guide.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Maine
Maine WIC provides benefits through eWIC cards rather than paper checks. This provides beneficiaries with prominent benefits that allow ease of access when reviewing food balances. To check your balance, simply contact the phone number listed on the back of your card. You will also receive your balance on the receipt of any purchase made with eWIC. WIC benefits will expire, so it is important to be aware of your food balance and use benefits prior that expiration date.