We’ll look at what it takes to be eligible for such food assistance and reveal a handy tool you can use to see if you qualify.
The concept of food stamps is nothing new, as they’ve helped many families stay fed over the years when they found it tough to stay financially afloat.
While the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is not food stamps in the traditional sense, it can help certain people nutritionally. And even if you’ve never used it or are unfamiliar with WIC, the coronavirus outbreak could make it a necessity as you look for ways to fill your family’s nutritional needs.
Who can use WIC, and what does it take to receive benefits? Let’s take a look at that now.
How WIC Determines Eligibility
While food stamps are more mainstream, widespread, and well-known, WIC is more specialized, and this is reflected in the program’s name.
Women, infants, and children are groups of people for whom the program was created, and here is the breakdown of how each group can qualify:
Women (must meet one of the following):
If pregnant, the beneficiary can receive WIC during her pregnancy and six weeks after it’s finished or she gives birth. If in postpartum, benefits will be available up to six months after birth or the pregnancy’s end. If breastfeeding, benefits can be received until the infant reaches the age of one.
Infant eligibility lasts until they are one. WIC eligibility for children, meanwhile, continues until the age of five.
Beyond that first set of requirements of fitting into the women, infants, or children category, the applicant must also live in the state where they are applying. This meets WIC’s residential requirement.
For the income requirement, the applicant can get automatic eligibility if they are already receiving or are eligible for other assistance programs from either the federal government or the state.
For instance, if you or a household member receive or are eligible for SNAP, TANF, or Medicaid, you could automatically fulfill WIC’s income requirement. If not, you could meet it by falling within your state’s income standard, which can be found here.
Lastly, the WIC applicant must meet the nutrition risk requirement, which states that they have a medical-based issue, such as underweight or anemia, or a dietary-based problem, such as a poor diet.
If all four requirements of category, residential, income, and nutrition risk are met, the applicant may be eligible for WIC.
How to See If You’re Eligible for WIC Benefits
All it takes is about 15 minutes to see if you could be eligible for WIC food assistance. Simply click here, and you can use the WIC Prescreening Tool online.
It’s worth noting that the tool only offers a glimpse into your potential eligibility for these benefits. It’s not the actual application you’ll need to complete to get WIC assistance, as you’ll need to make an appointment with your local agency to do so.
To find the agency nearest you, go here. Select your state and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to be pointed in the right direction.