Learn About WIC in Wisconsin
WIC is a nationally recognized nutritional program designed to provide benefits to women, infants and children who qualify. Benefits include but are not limited to personalized nutrition education, breastfeeding support, free health screenings and immunizations, referrals to other social services and free healthy food items.
If you want to know how to get WIC, you must reach out to a local office in order to submit an application and have your eligibility for the program reviewed.
Before applying for WIC in Wisconsin, you are strongly encouraged to review eligibility requirements. This will help you learn more about the program and determine whether or not you may qualify. This program has categorical, residential, financial and nutritional risk requirements, all of which make a difference in the approval process. It is also worth reviewing the program benefits so that you may learn more about food assistance and other WIC services.
What are the Wisconsin WIC requirements?
In Wisconsin, WIC eligibility requirements cover categorical, residential, financial and nutritional risk criteria. In order to receive assistance, you must meet all four requirements. If you do not meet them but a child in your care does, you may apply for benefits on behalf of that child. He or she may then receive benefits that you can use to buy approved foods.
This federal program is designed to provide benefits to certain women, infants and children. Therefore, in order meet WIC requirements and receive benefits, individuals must fit into one of the following categories:
- Pregnant women.
- Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding, eligible for up to six months following the end of a pregnancy.
- Postpartum women who are breastfeeding, eligible for up to one year following the birth of a child.
- Children who are younger than five years of age.
While WIC is nationally recognized and exists within every U.S. state, you may only apply for benefits in your state of residence.
Note: Learn more about Wisconsin’s WIC requirements in our informative guide.
Wisconsin WIC qualifications also include income limits that are reassessed on a yearly basis. These limits are based on the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL), so limits are subject to change each year. Your family’s income limit will be determined by the size of your household, with larger households granted higher income limits.
In order to receive assistance, you must be at or below the gross income limit for the program. When counting your household size, it is important to know that each unborn child will count as an additional household member when determining your family’s income limit.
When submitting a WIC application at your local office, staff members will review whether or not you or your children pose any nutritional risk. A nutritional risk must be present in order for benefits to be granted. However, there are a number of dietary and medical conditions that pose a nutritional risk, including but not limited to:
- Low birth weight.
- A history of poor pregnancies or outcomes.
- Being overweight or underweight.
- Poor diet.
Not only will your nutritional risk determine whether or not you are eligible for benefits, but it will also help determine your nutritional needs and the types of foods you may purchase with your WIC benefits.
How to Apply for WIC in Wisconsin
By learning how to sign up for WIC in Wisconsin, you can better prepare yourself for the application process and ensure that you are able to provide the appropriate documentation to your local office during your initial appointment.
At this time, online WIC applications and by-mail applications are not accepted. The only way to submit an application in Wisconsin is by contacting your local office and scheduling an appointment. During this appointment, you will receive further information about the program and have your eligibility assessed. While you cannot apply online, you can utilize an eligibility pre-screening tool in order to see whether or not you may qualify for benefits.
What can you get with WIC in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin WIC benefits aid in successful pregnancies and give children a healthy start in life by providing nutrition education to parents and healthy foods that are essential for growth. In Wisconsin, eligible applicants can receive:
- Breastfeeding information, support and encouragement.
- Free health screenings and immunizations.
- Referrals to other health, dental and social services that a family may qualify for.
- Personalized, one-on-one nutrition education.
- Financial assistance toward the purchase of healthy foods.
Wisconsin no longer provides WIC checks, as the state has opted to use electronic cards called eWIC cards. The eWIC card can be used like a debit or credit card and provides numerous benefits to program participants. Beneficiaries no longer have to visit a local office to pick up benefits each month. Additionally, checkouts are generally faster, and it is easier to keep track of food balances.
As stated previously, eligibility for food-related WIC benefits will be determined by nutritional risk and need. Other factors that are considered include a child’s age and whether or not the mother is choosing to breastfeed. Once you have been approved for benefits, your local office will provide you with a list of foods that you may purchase each month. Those foods may include items like:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Whole wheat and whole grain foods.
- Beans, peas and lentils.
Learn more about the types of foods you can purchase with WIC benefits in our in-depth guide.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Wisconsin
To apply for WIC in Wisconsin, you must schedule an appointment with your local office. Your initial WIC appointment is an important step in receiving benefits, as benefits cannot be issued without an appointment. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the appointment in order to fully understand the application process.
During your initial WIC appointment, you will be provided with further information about the program, how to use benefits and more. To test for nutritional risk, the height and weight of each applicant will be measured. Additionally, a blood test will be required to check for conditions such as anemia. For this reason, you must bring any children who may be eligible for benefits with you to your appointment.
When visiting your WIC office, it is important to bring:
- Proof of identity for yourself and each child.
- Proof of address.
- Proof of income.
- Proof of pregnancy, if applicable.
You will need to visit your local office every three months to receive additional WIC assistance including nutrition education, referrals to health care services and benefits.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Wisconsin
After you meet all the Wisconsin WIC qualifications and receive approval for benefits, it is important to know how to track your food balance in order to be prepared when you shop at your local grocery store. In Wisconsin, your WIC balance can be checked in several ways, including:
- By contacting the phone number listed on the back of your eWIC card.
- By using the free Wisconsin MyWIC app.
- By reviewing your last receipt after a eWIC purchase.