WIC - WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN PROGRAM

WIC is a federal grant program administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (www.fns.usda.gov/wic/) and at the state level by the Connecticut State Department of Public Health (www.ct.gov/dph/wic)

(WIC is not an entitlement program. Congress does not set aside funds to allow every eligible individual to participate in the program. It is a grant program for which Congress authorizes a specific level of funding each year.)

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:

WIC provides specific nutritious foods and nutrition education to eligible pregnant women, postpartum women up to six months regardless of how pregnancy ends, breastfeeding women up to one year after delivery, and infants and children up to their fifth birthday. WIC participants receive monthly checks for the purchase of infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans/peas, canned fish, soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole wheat bread, and other whole-grain products. Foods covered may depend upon the nutritional needs of the individual.

Recipients are re-certified every six months to determine if medical or nutritional risk exists. Recipients receiving WIC benefits in Connecticut must be state residents, but U.S. Citizenship or permanent residency status is not required.

ELIGIBILITY:

  • Pregnant and up to 6 months postpartum or up to 12 months if breastfeeding.
  • Child/children up to their fifth birthday.
  • Income at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level. (NOTE: A pregnant woman is counted as 2 when determining family size; 3 if she is carrying twins, etc.)
  • Must be at nutritional risk.
  • Must be a Connecticut resident.
  • It is not necessary to be a U.S. citizen or a documented immigrant.

OTHER WIC INFORMATION:

  • If applicant lives with her/his parents and he/she is not on Healthy Start/Medicaid or does not have a job, the parents income is counted.
  • An unborn child is counted in family size when determining income eligibility.
  • WIC checks do not reduce SNAP benefits (food stamps).
  • Food is prescribed according to the nutritional and developmental needs of the recipients.
  • Checks must be picked up in person.
  • Checks have expiration dates and must be used before expiration.
  • Participants are given appointment times for nutrition education and the issuance of additional checks.
  • Many stores accept the checks.
  • Checks do not have a dollar amount; food items and amounts are specified on the vouchers, and these items can be bought regardless of the price.
  • WIC Unit at the Connecticut Department of Public Health authorizes retailers to be able to accept WIC checks as payment for food.
  • Between July and October, WIC recipients also receive $15 coupons to buy fruits and vegetables at local farmers' markets.

WAITING LIST/PRIORITY SYSTEM:

Sometimes, WIC agencies do not have enough money to serve everyone who needs WIC or calls to apply. When this happens, WIC agencies must keep a waiting list of individuals who want to apply and are likely to be served. WIC agencies then use a special system, called a Priority System, to determine who will get WIC benefits first when more people can be served. The purpose of the priority system is to make sure that WIC services and benefits are provided first to participants with the most serious health conditions such as anemia (low blood levels), underweight, and history of problems during pregnancy.

WIC participants who move from one area or state to another are placed at the top of a waiting list when they move and are also served first when the WIC agency can serve more individuals. WIC participants who move can continue to receive WIC benefits until their certification period expires as long as there is proof that the individual received WIC benefits in another area or state. Before a participant moves, they should tell the WIC office. In most cases, WIC staff will give the participant a special card which proves that the individual participated in the WIC program. When the individual moves, they can call the new WIC office for an appointment and take the special card to the WIC appointment in the new area or state.

HOW TO APPLY:

Contact your local WIC office; (Note: There is no direct service at the Connecticut Department of Public Health)

FAIR HEARING

Anyone who has been denied WIC eligibility has the right to a fair hearing. Request for a hearing must be made within 60 days of the denial of benefits.

TO FIND PROVIDERS IN CONNECTICUT'S COMMUNITY RESOURCES DATABASE:
Search by service name: WIC

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SOURCES: U.S. Department of Agriculture website; Connecticut Department of Public Health website
PREPARED BY: 211/pt
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: April2013

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