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Frequently Asked Questions About WIC
What is WIC?
WIC is a food and nutrition program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Local agencies, such as health departments and non-profit organizations, deliver WIC services and benefits to the public.
WIC helps to correct or prevent malnutrition in low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who recently had a baby, infants and children up to 5 years old who are at health risk due to inadequate nutrition. WIC provides supplemental food, offers professional nutrition education and makes referrals based on health screening and assessments of need.
Supplemental Food: Nutritious foods are provided to supplement and help improve the diet.
- Women and children may receive milk, cheese, eggs, juices rich in Vitamin C, cereals rich in iron, and dry peas/beans or peanut butter, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads or tortillas.
- Breastfeeding women who do not receive formula from WIC, may also receive tuna fish, as well as extra cheese, juice & beans.
- Starting at 6 months of age, infants are eligible to receive infant cereal and infant juice, baby foods in jars.
- For infants who are partially breastfed or not breastfed, WIC provides iron-fortified formula.
- Fresh produce is provided to many WIC participants through Project FRESH, a Farmer's Market Nutrition Program.
Participants receive benefits for the foods which they may redeem at any of the WIC authorized retail stores throughout Michigan.
Nutrition Education: Nutrition education is offered to all WIC participants or their care givers. The education must relate to the nutrition need of the individual and be of interest to them. Participants with high risk nutrition conditions are referred to a registered dietitian for a nutrition care plan & counseling. Common nutrition education topics include nutrition during pregnancy, infant feeding, nutrition during childhood, and wise food shopping. WIC encourages women to breastfeed because of many health benefits for both baby and mother. General nutrition education topics may be provided by EFNEP/FNP.
Referrals: An added benefit of the WIC Program is screening for other health problems and referralsto other appropriate health and social services. These referrals may be for Medicaid, MI-Child, Healthy Kids, Food Stamps, immunizations, child health screening, family planning, Project FRESH, EFNEP/FNP, and more.
Who is eligible for WIC?
Applicants must meet all of the following 4 criteria:
1. Fall into one of the following categories:
- Pregnant Women
- Breastfeeding Women up to 1 year from delivery
- Postpartum Women up to 6 months from delivery
- Children up to their 5th birthday
2. Resident of the state of Michigan. U.S. Citizenship is not required.
3. Income eligible (at or below 185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines or on Medicaid or food stamps)
4. Determined by WIC clinic staff to be at nutrition and/or health risk.
Some typical health risks are: low blood iron or anemia; too much or too little weight gain (for pregnant women and children), poor diet, chronic disease, and developmental disabilities.
How much do WIC services cost?
WIC services are free to applicants and participants.
What must an applicant bring to an appointment?
- Proof of income or Medicaid Card
- Proof of identification for the applicant (drivers license, birth certificate
- Proof of applicant's address
- Proof of pregnancy, if available (for Pregnant Women)
- Immunization record (for children)
Applicant should contact the local WIC office for more specific information.
What happens when someone applies for WIC?
- Review of income, residency, and identity.
- Review of health and medical history.
- Review of usual dietary intake and eating patterns.
- Review of immunization record (children only).
- Height & weight measurements taken.
- Hemoglobin test performed (over 6 months of age).
- Meet with health professional for determination of eligibility for program.
- Discuss foods that will be received from WIC.
- Learn nutrition & health information applicable for participant.
- Learn about other helpful services & resources in the community.
- Learn about how to use the WIC coupons.
- Make next appointment to pickup benefits and receive additional nutrition education.
The initial appointment can take from 1-2 hours. The other appointments during the certification period usually take 30 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on the individual, the next appointment may be in 1, 2 or 3 months.
How long is someone certified for the program?
Depending on their WIC category, participants are certified for a specific length of time. At the end of the certification period, participants can repeat the certification process to be recertified. The general certification periods by WIC category are:
- Pregnant women are certified up to 6 weeks past their estimated date of delivery.
- Breastfeeding women are certified for up to 1 year from date of delivery as long as they continue to breastfeed.
- Postpartum women are certified for 6 months from the date of delivery.
- Infants added prior to 6 months of age are certified up to their first birthday.
- Children and infants added after 6 months of age are certified for 6 months.
If someone is working, can they apply for WIC?
Yes, WIC looks at income, not whether or not someone is working.
Can someone be on WIC and food stamps at the same time?
If someone is no longer eligible for food stamps, are they eligible for WIC?
Yes, they may possibly still be income eligible.
Can someone be on both WIC and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)?
No, an individual may not be on both programs at the same time. Although, a family may have some family members on WIC and others on Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
How does someone apply for WIC?
Contact the nearest WIC agency or call 211 for this information.
Where can I get more information about WIC?
Check out the following website: www.fns.usda.gov/wic
Email address for the WIC Division, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: MichiganWic@michigan.gov