The WIC program — also known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — is a nutrition assistance program that provides funds and other benefits to qualified applicants. Overseen by the Department of Health, this program is nationally recognized and federally funded.
Your local WIC office will oversee your application, should you choose to submit one. However, before embarking on the WIC application process, it is important to learn about the benefits that the program offers, as well as the eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to receive assistance.
The Virginia WIC program offers numerous benefits to qualifying applicants, including financial assistance toward the purchase of healthy foods, breastfeeding education and support, referrals to other social services and personalized nutrition education and more. To learn how to sign up for WIC and qualify for benefits, you must meet residency, income and nutritional risk requirements. You must also meet the categorical requirements. If you do not meet these requirements, you may still be able to apply for benefits for your child.
What are the WIC requirements in Virginia?
Before asking, “Where is there a WIC office near me in Virginia?” it is strongly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the program’s eligibility requirements, because it may help you determine whether or not you should schedule an appointment with your local office.
The first Virginia WIC eligibility requirement that you should be aware of is categorical. This program was established to provide benefits to certain women, infants and children who meet other qualifications. Therefore, in order to receive benefits from the program, you must fall within one of the following categories:
- Women who are currently pregnant.
- Postpartum women who are breastfeeding, up to one year from the birth of a child.
- Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding, up to six months after the end of a pregnancy.
- Children who are younger than five years of age.
To participate in the WIC program in Virginia, you must be a resident of the state. While the program exists in every state, you must apply in your own state because of federal regulations.
Note: You can get details on WIC requirements in our in-depth free guide.
WIC qualifications also include income requirements. This program is designed to assist individuals and families of lower income. Therefore, you cannot exceed the income limits that are set each year. Limits are determined by the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). However, there are different income limits for each family size. Larger households will have a higher income limit. When determining your household size, it is also important to know that each unborn child will be considered an additional household member.
Finally, to qualify for WIC, you must be at nutritional risk. This will be determined in your initial appointment at your local office. However, it is worth knowing that there are a number of medical and dietary conditions that can put you at nutritional risk. Conditions such as anemia, a history of poor pregnancies, being underweight or overweight, and poor diet can all pose a nutritional risk.
How to Apply for WIC in Virginia
You can submit a Virginia WIC application at your local office. When learning how to apply for WIC in the state, it is important to know that an in-person application is currently the only way that you can apply for benefits, as online and mail-in applications are not accepted within the state.
To submit an application, you must contact your local office by phone to schedule an appointment. This initial appointment will present the opportunity for you to learn more about the program and benefits, as well as allow staff to determine whether or not you are eligible for assistance.
What can you get with WIC in Virginia?
There are numerous WIC benefits provided to successful applicants, including:
- Breastfeeding support and information.
- Referrals to other health care and social services that the whole family may qualify for.
- Personalized, one-on-one nutrition education and information.
- Financial assistance toward the purchase of healthy and nutritious food items that are essential to growth.
You may be wondering how to get WIC checks in Virginia. However, the state no longer uses them because they were replaced by the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. An EBT card can be used in a similar fashion to a debit or credit card.
This change has provided further convenience to participants, as checkout times are generally shorter and it is easier to check the remaining food balance.
The type of WIC foods that you will be allowed to purchase will depend on a variety of factors, such as your age, the number of children under your care who are receiving benefits and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
In addition, you will be provided with an authorized food list and an explanation of the rules and restrictions regarding food types at your initial appointment with your local office. You may be eligible to purchase food items like:
- Baby food and formula.
Learn more about WIC-approved foods in our informative and comprehensive guide.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Virginia
Your initial Virginia WIC appointment will generally take between 30 to 60 minutes. During this time, you will receive more information about the program, and your eligibility for benefits will be determined. To find out whether you are at nutritional risk, a staff member will measure your weight and height and take a blood sample. If you are eligible to receive benefits, you will receive an authorized food list, nutrition education and your eWIC card that can be used for purchases.
When visiting your WIC office for the first time, you must bring the following with you to your appointment:
- Your children that may qualify for benefits
- Proof of identity
- Proof of income or proof of receiving benefits from another assistance program
- Proof of residency
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Virginia
Now that you know how to apply for WIC in Virginia, it is important to learn how to check your balance, how often benefits are distributed and when they are set to expire. In Virginia, benefits are distributed onto your card on a monthly basis, with deposits made at midnight on the first day of the month. Benefits will expire at midnight on the last day of the month.
To get your balance and additional WIC assistance, call the customer service number located on the back of your card. If you have chosen to receive text messages from the program, you may also send a balance inquiry text. A balance inquiry can be performed at any customer service desk at a participating store location. For your convenience, your receipt will also display your remaining food balance each time you make a purchase with your EBT card.