WIC Eligibility Requirements

Last Modified: 06/23/2014

Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Categorical
  • Residential
  • Income
  • Nutrition Risk

Categorical Requirement

The WIC Program is designed to serve certain categories of women, infants, and children.  Therefore, the following individuals are considered categorically eligible for WIC

Women         

  • Pregnant (during pregnancy and up to 6 week safter the birth of an infant or the end of the pregnancy
  • Postpartum (up to six months after the birth of  the infant or the end of the pregnancy)
  • Breastfeeding (up to the infant's first birthday)

Infants             (up to the infant's first birthday)

Children           (up to the child's fifth birthday)

Residential Requirement

Applicants must live in the State in which they apply.  Applicants served in areas where WIC is administered by an Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) must meet residency requirements established by the ITO. At State agency option, applicants may be required to live in a local service  area and apply at a WIC clinic that serves that area. Applicants are not required to live in the State or local service area for a certain amount of time in order to meet the WIC residency requirement.

Income Requirement

To be eligible for WIC, applicants must have income at or below an income level or standard set by the State agency or be determined automatically income-eligible based on participation in certain programs.

Income Standard.   The State agency's income standard must be between 100 percent of theFederal poverty guidelines (issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services), but cannot be more than 185 percent of the Federal poverty income guidelines.

Automatic Income Eligibility.  Certain applicants can be determined income-eligible for WIC based on their participation in certain programs.  These included individuals:

  • eligible to receive SNAP benefits, Medicaid, for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly known as AFDC, Aid to Families with Dependent Children),
  • in which certain family members are eligible to receive Medicaid or TANF, or
  • at State agency option, individuals that are eligible to participate in certain other State-administered programs.

Nutrition Risk Requirement

Applicants must be seen by a health professional such as a physician, nurse, or nutritionist who must determine whether the individual is at nutrition risk.  In many cases, this is done in the WIC clinic at no cost to the applicant.  However, this information can be obtained from another health professional such as the applicant's physician.

"Nutrition risk" means that an individual has medical-based or dietary-based conditions.  Examples of medical-based conditions include anemia (low blood levels), underweight, or history of poor pregnancy outcome.  A dietary-based condition includes, for example, a poor diet.

At a minimum, the applicant's height and weight must be measured and bloodwork taken to check for anemia. An applicant must have at least one of the medical or dietary conditions on the State's list of WIC nutrition risk criteria.

The WIC Prescreening Tool is a web-based application intended to help potential WIC applicants determine if they are likely to be eligible for WIC benefits.  Users who are likely to be eligible to receive WIC benefits are provided with State-specific contact information and are encouraged to make a certification appointment with their WIC local agencies.  Additionally, users are provided with a printable summary of their responses and a list of examples of the documentation that is required at an initial certification appointment. Click here to find out if you might be eligible for WIC benefits.