Learn About WIC in North Dakota
North Dakota WIC is a government assistance program that is administered by the Department of Health, Division of Maternal and Child Health. The program’s full name is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and it is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This federal department sets some of the eligibility guidelines, but each state in the country is responsible for implementing the program individually. In North Dakota the WIC office provides important benefits to nutritionally at-risk and low-income pregnant women, new mothers and their young children.
Before assuming the WIC program will help them, potential applicants should review the eligibility guidelines of the program and the specific benefits provided. After learning that they may be eligible for assistance that could help them or their young family members, residents can follow the steps to apply for the program. To find out more about the program’s qualifications and how to apply for benefits, read the following sections.
What are the WIC requirements in North Dakota?
You must meet North Dakota WIC eligibility requirements in order to receive benefits through the program. Since this government assistance program is focused on nutrition, it provides several educational resources, financial assistance for healthy foods and other important benefits. However, to qualify for these useful benefits, you must prove you are nutritionally at risk and your household currently earns a low income. Additionally, you must fall into one of the following categories:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women, up to one year after having a baby
- New mothers, up to six months after giving birth
- Guardians, caretakers or parents of infants or children under 5 years of age
The low-income WIC qualifications are determined by the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines. Therefore, they can change over time and are based on your gross income, unless you are self-employed. If you are already enrolled in a qualifying government assistance program, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you may automatically meet the income guidelines. To find out about the low-income guidelines, review our comprehensive guide.
In addition to these guidelines, you must also prove you or your child are nutritionally at risk. This is usually determined by the WIC staff during your application appointment. A representative will record you or your child’s height, weight and dietary habits to determine if you could benefit from program assistance.
How to Apply for WIC in North Dakota
To complete a WIC application in ND, you must visit a local agency office and meet with a staff member. Since the nutritional assessment must be completed in person, there is no way to apply for WIC online or by mail. However, you can utilize the USDA’s helpful prescreening tool to learn if you qualify for benefits through the program. Keep in mind this online prescreening tool is not part of the application process and does not save your information or future use. If you are applying for assistance for your young child, you must bring him or her with you so the nutritional assessment can be completed.
If you are wondering how to apply for WIC quickly, keep in mind that making an appointment with the office is always best. While you can visit your local office without an appointment, it may take longer for you to be seen and for the process to be completed. Even if you are currently receiving benefits from a government assistance program that allows you to meet the low-income guidelines, you must still see a WIC staff member. The nutritional risk assessment must be completed, even if the other eligibility criteria are met. If you are eligible for WIC benefits in North Dakota, the staff member can provide information on the type of assistance that may help you and your family in your current situation.
What can you get with WIC in North Dakota?
Not only can you receive WIC checks in North Dakota to help pay for supplemental and nutritional food for your family, there are also additional benefits provided by the program. In addition to the financial assistance provided by the program, you may also be eligible to receive:
- Nutritional information. Help from nutritional counselors to ensure your family maintains healthy diets, including recipe tips and meal plans.
- Breastfeeding counseling. Information on breastfeeding, including its benefits, strategies and tips for success.
- Prenatal nutritional assistance. Counseling on the right foods to eat while pregnant, as well as assistance in purchasing these important nutrient-dense foods.
- Health screenings. Assistance in tracking your child’s growth and development to ensure he or she is staying healthy and thriving.
If you qualify for the program, you are awarded a specific WIC balance each month, dependent on your needs. These funds can be used to purchase pre-approved foods that are proven to be nutrient-dense and healthy. The types of foods you can purchase with your benefits depend on your current situation. Keep in mind, you must purchase these approved foods from grocers or retailers that participate in the program. To learn more about ND WIC benefits and foods, read through our informative guide.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in North Dakota
After you call the ND WIC number and make an appointment at a local agency, you should begin to gather documents that will provide evidence of your income and household claims. These documents include your identification and paycheck stubs or other proof of earnings. You should also consider bringing medical records for you or your child if you think they may prove that you meet the nutritional risk eligibility guideline. You are not required to prove your U.S. citizenship status but you must prove that you are a North Dakota resident.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in North Dakota
At your North Dakota WIC appointment, an agency staff member will explain how to use your financial assistance to purchase nutritional foods. If it is found that you qualify for the program, you will receive a check with your allotted financial assistance. You can take this check to a local participating grocer to purchase program-approved foods each month. Not only can the agency staff help you in checking your WIC balance and using your benefits, the store staff may also be helpful. The agency trains the retail staff on how the benefits are used so these workers can usually answer your questions about using your check as well.