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WIC: Receiving food assistance

Posted In:  low income assistance  family

how to apply for wic

In simple terms, the WIC program provides free staple items like milk, bread, baby formula, yogurt, cereal, and cheese, and other food to pregnant women and new mothers.  Want to know how to apply for WIC assistance? Read on...

Officially, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (commonly known as WIC) is an assistance program regulated by the federal government under Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).Their stated mission is "To safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care."


Traditionally, ideal candidates for WIC are low-income and nutritionally at-risk pregnant women, breast-feeding women (Up to infant's first birthday) and non-breastfeeding postpartum mothers (Up to 6 months after birth of infant), and children ages 5 years and younger. The program is available nationwide, but differs slightly by state and region. Research has proven that the assistance WIC has provided to the mothers and children in need has reduced infant mortality & fetal death rates, improved growth rates of underprivileged children.

How does it work?

In the majority of WIC state agencies and offices, beneficiaries recieve checks or food instruments to purchase only specific foods that provide maximum nutritional benefits for a person's specific dietary needs(Example:Soy baby formula for a lactose intolerant infant). Some agencies have private warehouses and give the food directly to participants. WIC program food must have high daily value percentages in AT LEAST one of the following categories: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium,Protein, & Iron. At the grocery store, items that can be gotten through WIC checks display a sign that says "WIC approved item" on the shelf. Common foods on the WIC program plan include eggs, milk, cheese, tuna, peas, carrots, peanut butter, fruit and vegetable juice, dried beans and fortified cereals. For infants that are not breastfed, infant formula can be gotten through the WIC program. You can also get fresh fruits and vegetable at an approved farmers market via the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

How do i apply to participate in the WIC program?

In order to benefit from the program, you must meet four areas of eligibility

  • Catergorical
    • Catergorical simply means you must you either be a woman (Pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding) or child under 5 years of age.
  • Residential
    • Applicants must live in the State in which they apply. 
  • Income
    • You have to make less than a certain amount of overall income. You are automatically eligible in the income area if you receive Medicaid or other medical benefits, are on food stamps, receive benefits from TANF (Temporary assistance for needy families), or any other approved state agency
  • Nutrition Risk
    • Your nutritional risk will be evaluated during an appointment by any number of different standards.


Income Eligibility Guidelines
(effective 07/01/08 - 06/30/09)

Details about the income eligibility guidelines for including adjustments for specific areas.





Family of 1




Family of 2




Family of 3




Family of 4




Family of 5




Family of 6




Family of 7




Family of 8




For each add'l family member, add




 To start the application process, you need to setup an appointment with your local office.  Once you have scheduled an appointment, employees at the offices will assist you with the rest of the application process. Do bear in mind that sometimes the WIC agencies do not have enough money to assist everybody that is eligible, and you may be placed on a waiting list, but this shouldn't be a huge problem because WIC is a temporary short term program.


(Acoma, Cochiti & Laguna Pueblos) 
    Nebraska  1-800-942-1171
Alabama 1-888-942-4673 Nevada  1-800-863-8942
Alaska    New Hampshire 1-800-942-4321
American Samoa   New Jersey 1-800-328-3838
Arizona  1-800-252-5942 New Mexico  1-866-867-3124
Arkansas  1-800-235-0002 New York 1-800-522-5006
California  1-888-942-9675 North Carolina 1-800-367-2229
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma    North Dakota 1-800-472-2286
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe   Ohio  1-800-755-4769
Chickasaw Nation 1-888-436-7255 Oklahoma  1-888-655-2942
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma  1-800-522-6170 Omaha Sioux   
Citizen Potawatomi Nation 1-800-880-9880 Oregon  1-800-723-3638
Colorado  1-800-688-7777 Osage Tribal Council 1-800-460-1006
Connecticut  1-800-741-2142 Otoe-Missouria Tribe  
Delaware  1-800-222-2189 Pennsylvania  1-800-942-9467
District de Columbia 1-800-345-1942 Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy  
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians 1-800-248-6967 Pueblo of Isleta   
Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Cncl 1-800-734-2488 Pueblo de San Felipe   
Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos    Pueblo de Zuni   
Florida  1-800-342-3556 Puerto Rico   
Georgia  1-800-228-9173 Rhode Island   1-800-942-7434
Guam    Rosebud Sioux Tribe  
Hawaii  1-888-820-6425 Sac and Fox Nation   
Idaho  1-800-926-2588 Santee Sioux  
Illinois  1-800-323-4769 Santo Domingo Tribe  
Indiana  1-800-522-0874 Seneca Nation  
Indian Township Passamaquoddy   Shoshone   
Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona    South Carolina   1-800-868-0404
Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada    South Dakota   1-800-738-2301
Inter-Tribal Council (Oklahoma)    Standing Rock Sioux Tribe  
Iowa  1-800-532-1579 Tennessee  1-800-342-5942
Kansas  1-800-332-6262 Texas  1-800-942-3678
out of state:
Kentucky 1-800-462-6122 Three Affiliated Tribes (ND)   
Louisiana  1-800-251-2229 Utah  1-877-942-5437
Maine  1-800-437-9300 Ute Mountain Ute Tribe   
Maryland  1-800-242-4942 Vermont  1-800-464-4343 x7333
Massachusetts  1-800-942-1007 Virginia  1-888-942-3663
Michigan  1-800-942-1636 Virgin Islands   
Minnesota  1-800-657-3942 Washington  1-800-841-1410
Mississippi  1-800-721-7222 WCD  
(Wichita,Caddo,& DelawareTribes)
Missouri  1-800-835-5465 West Virginia  
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians    Winnebago   
Montana  1-800-433-4298 Wisconsin  1-800-722-2295
Muscogee Creek Nation  1-800-648-2302 Wyoming  1-800-994-4769
Navajo Nation       

For the most recent version of the list of toll free numbers to these offices , please see this page on the USDA web site..


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