How to Apply for WIC

Three Parts:Determining EligibilityContacting a State AgencyApplying for Benefits

WIC, or Women, Infants and Children, is a short-term program designed to help pregnant or postpartum women and their children afford nutritious food. Although the program is funded on a federal level by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is administered to participants through state offices. If you need help paying for food, determine whether you are eligible for the program and contact your local WIC office to arrange an appointment.

Part 1
Determining Eligibility

  1. Image titled Apply for WIC Step 1
    Consider the categorical requirements. If you need assistance in paying for food for yourself or your family, the first thing to determine is whether you fall within an eligible category of people. WIC assistance is available to following types of individuals:[1]
    • Women. Women can apply for WIC assistance if they pregnant or have been pregnant within the last six months. Women who breastfeed are eligible for WIC aid for up to one year after giving birth.
    • Infants. Babies are eligible for WIC aid up to their first birthdays.
    • Children. Children under the age of five may also be eligible.
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    Research income requirements. WIC aid is available to individuals who are struggling financially. Although the exact income thresholds vary from state to state, they are generally within the 100 to 185 percent of the federal poverty level.[2]
    • Federal poverty definitions are available on the USDA website.[3]
    • Previous enrollment in some other assistance programs may make you automatically eligible for WIC assistance. These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps), Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF, also known as welfare), and sometimes other programs as determined by the state you live in.[4]
  3. Image titled Apply for WIC Step 3
    Evaluate your nutritional risk. The USDA considers certain medical conditions and other circumstances to be a "nutritional risk." These conditions make applicants more likely to receive aid.[5] Among these conditions are:
    • Anemia (low blood iron levels)
    • Being underweight
    • A history of poor pregnancy outcomes (e.g. miscarriages, premature births)
    • Dietary based conditions (e.g. having a poor diet)
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    Pre-screen yourself. Use the USDA's pre-screening tool to see if you are likely to be accepted into your state’s program. This is available at
    • You will need to disable your browser’s pop-up blocker to ensure you can load the tool.

Part 2
Contacting a State Agency

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    Find your state's WIC agency. Once you've decided you're eligible, locate a nearby agency office using the list available on the USDA's website.[6] Select your state from the drop down list or by clicking on the map. Then, click “Apply.”
    • You can only apply for WIC in the state of your primary residence. You may be required to show proof of residence.[7]
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    Research your state's application requirements. Find them using the state’s WIC website or call the toll-free number provided to inquire about state requirements..
    • Read or ask about your state’s income requirements to verify you meet your state's requirements.. Find out what documents you need to provide to prove eligibility
    • If you are enrolled in other aid programs, read or ask about which ones might make you eligible and what proof of enrollment you'll need to provide.
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    Make an appointment at your state’s WIC office. In some states there may only be one location in the entire state. Other states have several WIC locations.
    • Note that most WIC offices only take new appointments on certain days of the week or month. You will need to plan in advance.[8]

Part 3
Applying for Benefits

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    Go to your appointment. Go to the WIC office at the scheduled time. Make sure to bring any necessary documents to prove your eligibility.
    • You will need to bring some proof of income, such as one month’s worth of check stubs or previous tax records, depending on your state's requirements.[9]
    • You may also want to bring proof of enrollment in other programs, such as Medicaid, TANF or SNAP.
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    Meet with a doctor. There will, in most cases, be a medical screening at the appointment to determine any nutritional risks you may have. This appointment should be made and completed at no cost to you in order to assess this eligibility requirement.[10]
    • You can also bring documentation from your own physician that shows you have a nutritional risk condition if you prefer.[11]
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    Fill out the application. As part of your appointment, you'll fill out and application form. The specifics of this form vary from one state to the next.
    • It is at this point that you will provide your proof of income and other program enrollment information such as your address, date of birth, parental status, and so forth. In some states you can start this process online.
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    Wait to hear from the WIC office. If you are accepted you will also receive monthly checks to help purchase nutritional food from WIC-authorized vendors.[12]
    • You will also receive information about good nutrition, breastfeeding and other services.


  • Pregnant women and infants are generally seen as highest priority for WIC aid. If you or child fall into one of these categories, you will be most likely to receive assistance.[13]


  • It is illegal to sell or trade WIC purchased foods. If you are caught doing so, you can be required to repay WIC funds and may be disqualified from the program or penalized in other ways.[14]

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Categories: Women’s Health