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Impact of Implementation of the Department of Defense’s WIC Overseas Program

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
WIC 2001-4
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (351.22 KB)
DATE:April 13, 2001
MEMO CODE:Final WIC Policy Memorandum #2001-4
SUBJECT:Impact of Implementation of the Department of Defense’s WIC Overseas Program on the Department of Agriculture’s WIC Program
TO:Regional Directors
Supplemental Food Programs
All Regions

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide an update on the Department of Defense (DoD) actions to implement a program like WIC overseas, the impact it has on the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) WIC program, and the actions required by WIC state agencies.


DoD is authorized by law to establish and operate a program like WIC, using DoD funds, for United States (U.S.) active duty military personnel and other support staff stationed overseas and their dependents. This program is called the WIC overseas program. The WIC overseas program will not operate in locations that some may consider overseas such as Hawaii and Guam because the USDA WIC program operates in these locations. DoD has delegated the responsibility to administer the WIC overseas program to its Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)/ TRICARE Management Activity (TMA).

DoD/TMA recently began to phase in implementation of the WIC overseas program in five locations. These locations include: (1) Lakenheath, England (Air Force); (2) Yokosuka, Japan (Navy); (3) Baumholder, Germany (Army); (4) Okinawa, Japan (Marines and Air Force); and, (5) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Navy). Further implementation of the WIC overseas program will be phased in at other locations where WIC overseas program services and benefits can be provided. Information about DoD’s WIC overseas program can be accessed on the TRICARE web site at:

Impact on USDA’s WIC program legislation limits eligibility in the WIC overseas program to: (1) members of the armed forces on duty at stations outside the U.S. and their dependents; (2) civilians who are employees of a military department (i.e., Army, Navy, or Air Force) who are U.S. nationals and live outside the U.S., and their dependents; and (3) employees of DoD contractors who are U.S. nationals living outside the U.S., and their dependents. As defined by DoD, a “dependent” includes a spouse. “U.S. nationals” are individuals who are U.S. citizens, or individuals who are not U.S. citizens but owe permanent allegiance to the U.S. as determined in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act. All other eligibility requirements for the WIC overseas program mirror USDA’s WIC program requirements. Further, legislation and DoD guidelines provide that WIC program participants who are transferred overseas and meet the eligibility requirement noted above are eligible to participate in the WIC overseas program until the end of their certification period.

Because the WIC overseas program has been designed to mirror USDA’s WIC program, and in an effort to provide continuity of services, we will provide reciprocity to WIC Overseas participants who return to the U.S. Therefore, any WIC overseas program participant who returns to the U.S. with a valid WIC overseas program Verification of Certification (VOC) card must be provided continued participation in USDA’s WIC program until the end of his/her certification period, assuming the state/local agency is not at its maximum caseload. In accordance with WIC policy, if the state/local agency is at caseload and has a waiting list for participation, transferring participants must be placed on the waiting list ahead of all waiting applicants regardless of the priority of their nutrition risk criteria. The WIC overseas program VOC card is a full-page document which also serves as a Participant Profile Report (sample attached).

New VOC Card Requirements

-- Issuance of WIC VOC Cards

State and local agencies must begin issuing WIC VOC cards to WIC participants affiliated with the military who will be transferred overseas. WIC clinics are not responsible for screening and determining eligibility for WIC overseas program eligibility. WIC participants issued VOC cards when they transfer overseas must be instructed that (1) there is no guarantee that the WIC overseas program will be operational at the overseas site where they will be transferred, (2) by law only certain individuals are eligible for the WIC overseas program, and (3) issuance of a WIC VOC card does not guarantee continued eligibility and participation in the WIC overseas program. Eligibility for the overseas program will be determined at the overseas WIC service site. State and local agencies should also emphasize the importance of WIC clinic staff completing all information on the VOC card because WIC overseas program personnel cannot readily contact a WIC program to obtain further information.

As a reminder, all VOC cards must contain: (1) the name of the participant, (2) the date the certification was performed, (3) the date income eligibility was last determined, (4) the nutrition risk conditions of the participant, (5) the date the certification period expires, (6) the signature and printed or typed name of the certifying local agency official, (7) the name and address of the certifying local agency, and (8) an identification number or some other means of accountability. Special emphasis should be placed on ensuring local agencies specify the nutrition risk conditions on the VOC card and avoid the use of codes.

-- Acceptance of WIC Overseas Program

VOC Cards state and local agencies must accept a valid WIC overseas program VOC card presented at a WIC clinic by WIC overseas program participants returning to the U.S. from an overseas assignment. In accepting a VOC card, state and local agencies are reminded that at a minimum, the following elements on the cards are absolutely essential: (1) the participant’s name; (2) the date the participant was certified; and (3) the date that the current certification period expires. WIC overseas program participants arriving in a WIC clinic and showing a VOC card with only these three pieces of information should be treated just as if the VOC card contains all of the required information. However, if questions arise, attached is a current list of WIC overseas program contacts and email addresses. The overseas contact information will be revised and updated on the TRICARE web site, sat the address noted above. State and local agencies are also reminded that individuals presenting a valid VOC card must provide proof of residency and identity, with limited exceptions, in accordance with WIC program regulations and policies.

State Plans and Procedure Manuals

State agencies must revise their state plans and procedures manuals to reflect these new requirements and procedures. Implementation of the changes and procedures should be completed as soon as possible to facilitate the needs of military families, other support staff, and dependents who participate in the WIC program but will be transferred overseas.

Supplemental Food Programs Division


Page updated: November 02, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.