Learn About WIC in New Jersey
WIC in New Jersey is a government assistance program that provides access to healthy foods and nutrients to low-income women and children around the state. This federal program is formally known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children and carries many benefits for eligible recipients. For pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding mothers, this program provides vital food and nutritional supplements that help them and their children stay healthy.
WIC eligibility is determined at the state level, so the specific benefits, program requirements and approved food items vary. The New Jersey WIC office is responsible for determining these conditions and oversees the application and interview processes. To learn more about the program and discover how it can benefit you and your family, continue reading the following sections.
What are the WIC requirements in New Jersey?
All applicants are held to the same eligibility requirements in New Jersey. In order to enroll and receive WIC assistance, all candidates must meet designated residency, income and health conditions. There are certain eligibility requirements for infants and children. Some of these requirements include having a medical or nutritional need.
Eligibility for the program is determined through an appointment process, during which you meet with a health worker at a clinic to show proof of meeting all program requirements. To see who meets WIC qualifications, download our informative guide.
How to Apply for WIC in New Jersey
To enroll in the program, you must submit a WIC application in person to one of the state’s office locations. The application requires you to submit identification information so that your eligibility can be verified.
If you are wondering, “Where can I find a WIC office near me?” there are multiple locations around the state. Simply find a location that is convenient for you to begin the application process.
Now that you know where to apply for WIC, you can continue with the rest of the application process. The interview is another requirement of the program and is completed at one of the clinics across the state. A health worker will meet with you to confirm the information you provide on the application. Call the WIC number of a clinic near you to make an appointment. Do not forget to bring the required paperwork, including:
- Proof of identity (i.e. a birth certificate or state ID).
- Proof of pregnancy.
- Proof of income (i.e. recent pay stubs or a tax form).
- Proof of address (i.e. rental agreement or utility bill).
- A health care referral form (if referred by a doctor).
- Children’s vaccination records.
For more details on how to sign up for WIC in your state, download our free guide.
What can you get with WIC in New Jersey?
The NJ WIC program carries many benefits for low-income women, infants and children. Through the program, candidates gain access to important health services and foods. The WIC online system allows participants to complete required nutritional education courses with fun games.
Infants and children deemed at risk of nutritional deficits also benefit from the program by receiving vital food and nutritional supplements, formula and other items that promote proper growth. For pregnant mothers WIC also provides support and education on breastfeeding.
The New Jersey WIC office determines which foods and items are approved by the program. It spans a variety of food categories. Some approved items for infants and children include baby formula, baby food, cereals, snacks and nutritional powders. Other approved food items include meat, vegetables and cheese.
However, there are restricted food types and brands not covered by the program. Make sure you understand what is WIC approved and what is not before you purchase food. All covered foods will be funded through the program, but you will be responsible for paying for any restricted items in your shopping cart.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in New Jersey
All candidates for the program must attend a WIC appointment at one of the clinic locations throughout the Garden State. This interview is required in order to confirm that participants provide accurate information on the application form. Health officials meet with applicants to review their documents and determine their eligibility. Additionally, they perform health screenings to determine if there is a nutritional or medical need. Before attending the WIC interview, candidates must gather documents that prove:
- Income (i.e. a tax form or pay stub).
- Residency (i.e. utility bills or rental lease).
- Pregnancy (if applicable).
- Identity (i.e. a birth certificate or Social Security card).
- Referral (i.e. a health care referral by a doctor).
- Children’s health history (i.e. vaccination records).
To keep yourself organized and prepared for the WIC certification appointment process, begin collecting the above documents well in advance. Also, please note that the documents listed above must be submitted for each person who will benefit from the program. If you forget to bring one or more of these documents, it may take longer for the state to process your file. Also, the New Jersey WIC office requires everyone who plants to benefit from the program to attend the appointment, including infants and children.
To make for a quicker appointment process, separate everyone’s documents into individual file folders. You can keep your documents separate from your children’s to help the health official review your information more quickly.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in New Jersey
WIC checks are distributed to approved candidates shortly after the interview concludes. These vouchers can be used to purchase approved food and nutritional items on a monthly basis. Applicants may also receive cash value vouchers to use at farmers’ markets.
The state is in the early phases of converting paper checks to electronic balance transfer (EBT) cards. The card works like a debit card and can be used at many approved retailers. The exact amount loaded onto the card is determined after the interview process.
The WIC balance on the paper checks and EBT cards expire at the end of the month. To check your WIC balance using the EBT card, locate the remaining balance at the bottom of your most recent store receipt. Checking your WIC balance is also easily done online or through the app. The switch from paper to electronic cards is expected to be completed within the next two years.
The card is assigned a personal identification number, or PIN. Do not share your PIN with anyone. Call the office immediately if your card is lost, stolen or damaged. It will be deactivated and you can complete the WIC card replacement process.
Our free guide has more information on how to get WIC and use your benefits.