The Vermont WIC program is a food assistance program that offers a number of benefits to growing families who qualify. Administered by the Vermont Department of Health, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is both federally funded and nationally recognized.
Today, there is a WIC office located in each of the 12 local health offices, as well as smaller clinic sites throughout the state. Qualifying women, infants and children can receive benefits such as free nutritious food items, breastfeeding support, health screenings, personalized nutrition education and referrals to other social service programs.
Before applying for the WIC program, it is important to learn more about the eligibility requirements associated with the program. Qualifications include categorical, residency, income and nutritional risk requirements, each of which must be met in order to receive benefits. By learning more about each requirement and how to sign up for WIC, you may better prepare yourself for the application process and determine whether or not you qualify for benefits.
What are the WIC requirements in Vermont?
While you should ask, “Where is there a WIC office near me in Vermont?” it is worth reviewing eligibility requirements for the program prior to scheduling an appointment with your local office. WIC eligibility is related to residency, maternal status, income and nutritional risk, so it is important to learn more about each of these requirements.
The following individuals meet categorical requirements for the program:
- Pregnant women
- Postpartum women who are breastfeeding (up to one year after a child is born)
- Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding (up to six months following the end of a pregnancy)
- Children who are younger than five years of age
Fathers, grandparents and foster parents can apply for eligible children and infants who are in their care.
There is a WIC program within every state of the United States, as well as some U.S. territories. In order to receive program benefits in Vermont, you must be a resident of the state. Your state residence will be determined by your residential address. If you are not a resident of Vermont, you must apply for benefits in the state in which you live.
To meet income-related WIC qualifications, you must not exceed the income limits that have been set by the state. Income limits are separated into various tiers by household size. Therefore, larger households will have higher income limits. These limits are reassessed on a yearly basis, as limits are determined by the current year’s Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
Deductions are automatically made to limits, so you will not receive deductions for shelter and household costs. When determining your household size and income limit, it is important to know that an unborn child will be considered an additional household member when applying for this program.
When reviewing your WIC application, your local office will determine whether or not you or your children are at nutritional risk. A nutritional risk can be caused by various medical and dietary conditions, including anemia, poor pregnancy history or outcome, low birth weight, being overweight or underweight, and poor diet. If a nutritional risk is not present at the time of your application, benefits will be denied for the individual who does not meet WIC requirements.
Learn more about the requirements in our comprehensive guide.
How to Apply for WIC in Vermont
It is important to learn how to apply for WIC in Vermont if you think you qualify for benefits, as the program can provide children with a healthy start in life as well as provide breastfeeding support, social services and in some cases, supplies.
A WIC online application is not available within the state at this time, so you can only apply in person at your local office or clinic location. However, before visiting the office, it is important that you call ahead and schedule an appointment, as walk-ins are not generally accepted.
What can you get with WIC in Vermont?
The Vermont WIC program offers qualifying women, infants and children a variety of benefits from the first day that an application is approved. WIC benefits include:
- Personalized nutrition education. You will receive nutrition information, tools and solutions for parenting, as well as learn how to implement nutrition education into a healthy lifestyle.
- Breastfeeding support. Should you choose to breastfeed your child, you will receive information, education and support about breastfeeding. In some cases, you may also receive supplies if you need them.
- Free healthy foods. With WIC, you will receive financial assistance toward the purchase of healthy and nutritious food items, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, cereal, juice, infant foods and formula.
- Health care referrals. Your local office will provide you with referrals to health services and other community resources that your family may qualify for.
You may be wondering how to get WIC checks in the mail. However, Vermont no longer uses WIC checks, as the state has implemented Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards for the program. These cards may be used like debit cards, because benefits are added to the account on the first of the month for a three-month cycle.
To continue to receive WIC benefits, you will need to visit your local office four times within a one-year period. Benefits are issued every three months after completing an in-person appointment. This essentially “renews” benefits. As stated previously, new mothers can receive benefits for between six and 12 months, depending on whether or not the mother is breastfeeding. Children can potentially receive benefits until their fifth birthday.
Learn more about what you can buy with your WIC benefits in our informative guide.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Vermont
During your initial appointment at your local office, you will be provided with further information about WIC assistance. You will also be offered nutrition education, and your eligibility for benefits will be assessed. During this initial appointment, you will meet with a nutrition staff, who will:
- Review your eligibility for the program.
- Review program rules, as well as your rights and responsibilities.
- Measure the weight and height of each family member applying for WIC.
- Screen for anemia.
- Speak with you about your nutrition interests and goals.
- Issue your initial food benefits, if you are found eligible.
- Connect you with additional health and community services.
- Schedule your next appointment with you.
When visiting your WIC office, you must bring any children with you who may qualify for benefits. Each child must have his or her weight and height measured and be screened for anemia. You must also provide the following documents:
- Proof of income for the entire household.
- Proof of residency.
- Proof of identification.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Vermont
Vermont WIC utilizes an electronic card that will be provided to you during your initial appointment if you are found eligible for benefits. Food benefits are distributed onto your card on the first day of each month, and any remaining benefits will expire at midnight on the last day of the month. Therefore, it is important to use benefits prior to that expiration date.
You can check your WIC balance in one of the following ways:
- By contacting the phone number on the back of your card and entering in your card number.
- By going online to review benefits.
- By reviewing your last receipt given to you after a purchase with your benefits.
- By visiting a customer service area of any store that allows the use of benefits.
- By utilizing the WICShopper mobile app.