How to Apply for WIC

The Federal Government funds the Special Supplemental Nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC) through various grants.

While states are the grant recipients, local agencies within the state handle the applications that residents submit for WIC. 

Currently, 90 state agencies are in charge of administering benefits to qualifying applicants.

Moreover, a network of county-based service offices report to each agency and work with them to provide support to local communities.

These offices and other types of locations include mobile clinics and local hospitals.

Eligible applicants must submit their application and complete the screening process to qualify for benefits.

Applicants must complete three steps to qualify for WIC benefits. First, candidates must schedule an appointment at a location of their choice.

Then, they must complete all of the forms that the WIC office provides, and once they submit them, applicants must complete the process by finalizing any additional requirements.

Candidates who are eligible for benefits can start receiving benefits the same day that they submit and finalize their application.

In order to complete the process, applicants will also have to submit valid documentation to verify the information that they fill in the forms.

Candidates may also apply for other government assistance programs at the same time, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Applicants can learn more about the WIC applications by reading the sections below.

Learn About WIC Application Requirements

The online WIC application form requires applicants to input their address, identity, contact information and any previous WIC enrollment, if applicable.

Moreover, candidates must submit proof of identity and income before they can receive benefits.

Once an applicant submits the necessary information, the WIC office will review the documentation to verify the applicant’s eligibility.

To prove their income, applicants can submit documentation including pay stubs and bank statements.

Furthermore, they must provide any medical report to verify any medical condition that they report in their application.

Candidates must prepare all of their verification documents prior to their initial visit in order to receive assistance from a WIC staff member.

Before their first appointment, applicants will need the following:

  • Proof of identity, income and address
  • A WIC referral form
  • Immunization records
  • WIC nutrition questionnaire

How to Apply for WIC Online

Residents who apply for WIC benefits cannot complete the full application online.

Some states allow applicants to complete initial parts of the application online, but candidates must visit a WIC office to finalize their application.

Applicants can make an appointment at a nearby WIC location.

However, some states may also request that applicants complete an online pre-screening test prior to completing their in-person appointment.

This test will help candidates determine if they satisfy the program’s eligibility requirements before they apply.

This screening test is an additional tool to help residents determine their eligibility, and is not a requirement for applicants to complete the process.

Moreover, just because the applicant passes the initial pre-screening test does not automatically qualify them to receive benefits.  

Residents of states that do not have an initial online application can find all of the required forms at a local WIC location.

The program’s office will also provide applicants with the necessary nutrition questionnaires.

There is a questionnaire for each category of applicants, such as postpartum mothers and their babies.

In this case, mothers must complete the nutrition forms for them and their babies so that they can both receive WIC benefits.

The WIC nutrition questionnaires require applicants to input information such as their infant’s next doctor appointment or how many times a week they eat with their child.

Pregnant and postpartum applicants may also have to report information such as any vitamins they take and how often they eat fast food.

Learn About the First WIC Appointment

Applicants can save time by calling and making an appointment with a local WIC office to complete their application.

However, candidates may opt to walk into any of the service locations with the appropriate paperwork that they need to apply for WIC.

They should check the location’s office hours prior to their visit to ensure that they will be able to complete the process when they visit.

Many offices recommend certain times for candidates to apply due to low traffic of visitors, or may also have certain cutoff times for applicants to complete their application.

The initial visit can take as long as two hours. Therefore, applicants should bring all the forms that the program requires to complete the process in a more efficient way.

They must also attend the appointment with every member of their families, including children. Pregnant applicants must also know from their doctor when their due date is going to be.

The first visit is the last part of the application process, and the WIC office will:

  • Review the applicant’s qualifications: A WIC caseworker will review a candidate’s paperwork to determine if he or she is eligible for benefits. The staff member will introduce the applicant to the WIC program and its different requirements. They will also assess the candidate’s income to verify his or her eligibility.
  • Ask about the applicant’s nutrition habits: The WIC program provides benefits as food packages. To determine the food package an applicant will receive, a staff member will ask about the family’s nutrition habits. This is a good time for applicants to report any allergies or any digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance and they or any of their children may have.  If any conditions exist, WIC staff will discuss with the applicant any nutritional alternative at this point.
  • Conduct a WIC health screening: Applicants can speed up this step of the process by bringing a medical referral from a health care professional. However, WIC candidates such as pregnant women or children will have their height and weight measured as well as have their blood work taken by a staff member. Since the screening is free, applicants should keep their appointment even if they do not have a medical referral.

Eligible applicants will be able to collect their WIC checks right away.

Any adults in the family who plan to use the benefits must be present to sign the necessary certification documents.

This will allow them to use the vouchers to shop for benefits. Otherwise, only one adult will be able to do so.

Some WIC programs provide applicants with WIC EBT cards to distribute benefits, while others distribute benefits with checks or direct deposit.

The WIC program also offers more than just food resources. This includes information on how to breastfeed as well as referrals to other benefit programs such as SNAP, TANF and medical services like Medicaid.

The WIC office will also offer applicants other types of informational resources on how to make better use of benefits and more.