Learn About WIC in North Carolina
In North Carolina, WIC can assist low-income pregnant women or their young children who are facing nutritional risk. Officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, the program is administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) through the Division of Public Health (DPH). It provides important benefits to qualifying candidates, such as nutrition education and supplemental food.
A potential applicant must visit an NC WIC office to complete the WIC application process. However, before applying, he or she should review the program’s eligibility guidelines. Additionally, there are several documents and pieces of information that a potential applicant must bring to the appointment. Without proving need and eligibility for the program, an applicant may not be awarded benefits or assistance. To find out more about the WIC program, including the qualifying guidelines and what is needed throughout the application process, review the following information.
What are the North Carolina WIC requirements?
Before you ask, “Where is there a WIC office near me?” it is important to review the eligibility requirements of the program. First, to qualify for WIC assistance, applicants must fall into one of the following categories:
- A pregnant woman
- A breastfeeding woman who had a baby in the last 12 months
- A new mom who had your baby in the past 6 months
- An infant
- A child 5 years of age or younger
If you meet one of these WIC requirements, you must also have a household income that is equal to or less than the low-income guidelines set by the program. These income guidelines can change periodically since they are based on the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL) set by the U.S. government. If you are already receiving benefits from certain government assistance programs, however, you may automatically qualify for WIC without needing to prove your earned income.
Additionally, to meet NC WIC qualifications, you must be able to prove you are a resident currently living in the state and that you or your child is at nutritional risk. An agency representative will conduct a nutritional risk assessment to ensure you or your child meet this requirement.
Before applying, keep in mind there are certain certification periods that depend on your situation. For example, if you are a pregnant woman seeking benefits through the program and you meet all qualifications, you are only eligible for assistance throughout your pregnancy and up to six weeks after having your baby. After this period, you must re-apply for the program to ensure you still meet the eligibility guidelines.
To find out more about these WIC application guidelines, download and review our free guide.
How to Apply for WIC in North Carolina
You must visit a North Carolina WIC office in order to apply for benefits. The office you visit must be the one that handles applications in the county in which you live. Since a nutritional risk assessment must be conducted by an agency representative, you cannot apply for WIC online or by mail, and an in-person visit must be arranged.
You can set up an appointment by visiting the department’s website or inquiring about the location of the agency nearest to you. There are certain documents and information you must bring with you to the agency. If you are applying for benefits for your child, he or she must accompany you to the appointment.
To learn more about how to sign up for WIC in North Carolina, download our free guide.
What can you get with WIC in North Carolina?
Once you follow the process for how to get WIC in NC, you will find that the benefits offered to you are useful and diverse. The program is focused on ensuring low-income nutritionally at-risk families learn better eating habits and find out more about how to access nutritional food for themselves and their household members. Therefore, the program offers counseling, education and benefits that encourage and facilitate:
- Proper breastfeeding techniques.
- Education on providing nutritious meals.
- Proper health care.
- Lowering the fat content of diets.
- Eating more fruits and vegetables.
- Making family meals a top priority.
In addition to the WIC benefits that focus on education and counseling, the program will also provide food assistance if it is confirmed that you qualify for benefits. These benefits can be used to purchase supplemental foods that are approved by the department and sold at participating grocers throughout the state. If you apply for benefits for your infant, you may be authorized to purchase formula or infant cereals with this assistance. If you are a mother or are obtaining benefits for your young child, keep in mind that your North Carolina WIC checks can only be used to purchase foods that are nutritional and will help you to create healthy meals at home.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in North Carolina
When you call the WIC number in North Carolina to make your application appointment, you should also prepare the materials and information that you will need to bring with you. If you attend the appointment without this vital information or proof of your claims, you may delay the application process. The representative you speak with on the phone should review the items you must bring. Generally, you will be required to gather and bring proof of the following to your appointment:
- Identification, such as your driver’s license
- Residency, such as a mortgage or rent statement
- Income, such as paycheck stubs
To successfully complete the WIC application process, you must prove your identity and that you live in NC. To show your current household income, you must disclose and prove the earnings that all household members contribute to the family, including other government assistance you currently receive. You should also consider bringing any medical records with you that may prove you or your child is at nutritional risk. However, keep in mind that the agency representative will usually still be required to complete the nutritional assessment with you. If you are applying for WIC benefits for your child, you must bring him or her to the appointment with you.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in North Carolina
If you are approved for North Carolina WIC, you may receive funds to purchase nutritional food or infant formula. Recently, the program changed from providing beneficiaries with paper checks to providing them with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
Once you are approved for the program, your WIC balance is loaded onto this card, which can be used the same way a debit card is used. However, you can only use your benefits at authorized retailers for approved food or formula items. To learn more about accessing benefits through the EBT card, review our comprehensive guide.