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WIC Eligibility

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Who is eligible and who can apply?

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who are breastfeeding a baby under 1 year of age
  • Women who have had a baby in the past six months
  • Parents, step-parents, guardians, and foster parents of infants and children under the age of 5 can apply for their children

If you have a job or if you have private health insurance, you can still apply for WIC. You do not have to be married to apply for WIC.

For more eligibility requirements, see below.

What about fathers?

Fathers of children under the age of 5 are encouraged to enroll their children in the WIC program. Just like any other parent or guardian, fathers can bring their children to appointments, attend nutrition classes, and receive and redeem benefits for their children. Active participation by fathers is a great help in keeping WIC children healthy.

Are services free?

  • Yes! All WIC services are free to those who are eligible.

Who provides the services?

  • The Department of State Health Services runs the Texas WIC program and provides funds to agencies across the state who run local WIC offices. All kinds of agencies offer WIC services such as local health departments, county and city agencies, migrant health centers, community action agencies, and hospitals.
  • Many local offices are open in the evenings and on Saturdays so that clients do not have to miss work.
  • There are over 300 full-time, permanent WIC offices and more than 200 other part-time satellite sites, so finding a WIC clinic close to you shouldn't be a problem. Click here to find your closest WIC clinic.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Meet the income guidelines. Households with incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty income level are eligible. WIC determines income based on gross income. WIC counts all of the members of a household, related or unrelated. WIC counts an unborn baby as a household member. Click to view Income Eligibility Guidelines (45K, PDF).
  • Be at nutritional risk. WIC clients receive an initial health and diet screening at a WIC clinic to determine nutritional risk. WIC uses two main categories of nutritional risk: (1) medically-based risks such as a history of poor pregnancy outcome, underweight status, or iron-deficiency anemia, and (2) diet-based risks such as poor eating habits that can lead to poor nutritional and health status. Clients will be counseled at WIC about these risks and the outcome influenced by nutrition education and nutritious foods provided by WIC.
  • Live in Texas. WIC clients usually receive services in the county where they live. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for eligibility.
  • Clients must apply in person except in certain limited cases.
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    How to Become a WIC Client:

    • Are you a pregnant woman, breastfeeding a baby less than one year of age, a postpartum woman (one who had a baby within the last six months), or have an infant or a child who is less than 5 years old? If yes, call 1 (800) WIC-FORU [1 (800) 942-3678] Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to obtain the telephone number and address of a WIC clinic that is close to where you live.
    • Call or go by the clinic to make an appointment for a pregnant woman, breastfeeding woman, postpartum woman, infant, or child less than 5 years of age.
    • At the time of your appointment, bring documentation of your household's source of income or wages. This applies to all members of the household. Some examples of documentation include a paycheck stub, a current tax return, a letter from an employer, a Social Security check, a child-support check, or self-employed accounting records. Applicants and certain family members who receive Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or Food Stamps automatically meet income eligibility by bringing acceptable proof of their participation in one of these programs—they do not have to bring other income documents.
    • At the time of your appointment, bring documentation of where you live with your current physical address, such as a utility or credit-card bill, rent receipt, or business letter.
    • At the time of your appointment, bring one document of identification for each person applying for WIC benefits and the adult responsible for the benefits. Examples of acceptable identification documents are a birth certificate, a driver's license, an immunization card, an employee or school identification card with picture, a Social Security card, or hospital records.
    • During the appointment the applicant will undergo a simple health screen including height and weight measurement, a finger stick to screen for low iron, a medical and health history and a diet recall and history to determine nutritional risk.
    • At the end of his or her appointment, an applicant will receive counseling and referral to appropriate health and human services, if applicable. WIC Program eligibility will also be determined. Food benefits will be provided to those eligible.
    • If you have any questions about the above information, lack some item above, or have a special situation, call or go by the clinic before your appointment so the staff may assist you with your situation. Not bringing in all the documentation at the time of your appointment may delay eligibility determination and benefits. A complete screen must be done before eligibility can be determined.

    What does WIC provide and who receives the benefits?

    WIC provides nutrition education, nutritious foods, referrals to health and human services and breastfeeding support. Food benefits are issued for each client. Both fathers and mothers can receive and spend the benefits for their children. 

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    WIC Nutrition Education

    Clients receive individual nutrition counseling and nutrition classes. Many clinics offer classes especially for children. Men who have family members participating in the program are welcome to attend nutrition classes.

    Some of the topics clients can learn about:

    • Eating healthfully during pregnancy for mom and baby
    • Infant and child nutrition — healthy foods for happy children, picky eaters, watching your child’s weight, and lots more
    • How to get the most out of their food dollars
    • Valuable parenting skills
    • Stages of child development
    • The importance of childhood immunizations
    • Tips for pregnant teens
    • Common infant problems, such as colic, constipation, and crying

    Breastfeeding Support

    Clients receive encouragement and instruction in breastfeeding. In many cases, breastfeeding women are provided breast pumps free of charge. WIC helps clients learn why breastfeeding is the best start for their baby, how to breastfeed while still working, Dad’s role in supporting breastfeeding, tips for teens who breastfeed, how to pump and store breastmilk, and much more.

    Nutritious Foods

    WIC provides benefits each month which are taken to grocery stores and used to buy nutritious foods. WIC foods include iron-fortified infant formula and infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C–rich fruit and vegetable juice, milk, eggs, cheese, beans, and peanut butter. Different food packages are issued to different clients. For example, mothers who are totally breastfeeding their babies without formula are issued tuna and carrots in addition to other foods.

    Referrals

    WIC refers clients to a variety of health and social services agencies and programs. WIC staff can help clients find these services. Some examples are:

    • Medicaid
    • Food Stamps
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
    • Child health insurance
    • Family planning
    • Migrant health services
    • Prenatal care
    • Texas Health Steps (EPSDT)
    • Medical and dental services
    • Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)
    • The School Lunch / Breakfast Summer Lunch Program
    • Food Pantries
    • Literacy Services
    • Job Banks
    • Housing Services
    • Parenting Classes
    • Drug and alcohol abuse programs
    • Child care
    • Child support enforcement

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    Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

    Some WIC clinics also provide vouchers for clients to shop at farmers’ markets to buy fresh vegetables and fruits — usually during the spring and summer months. This service is not available statewide, due to limited funding.

    Health Benefits of WIC

    Studies show that WIC plays an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health-care costs. WIC has a positive impact on children’s diets. WIC improves infant-feeding practices by actively promoting breastfeeding as the best method of feeding infants. WIC clients have improved rates of childhood immunizations and a regular source of health care.

    • Improved infant-feeding practices
    • Premature births reduced
    • Fetal death rate reduced
    • Low birthweight reduced
    • Long-term medical expenses reduced
    • Improved dietary intake
    • Improved cognitive development
    • Fewer premature births

    Eligibility Forms:

    Income Questionnaire (WIC 35-3) (English) (4761 kb, PDF)

    Income Questionnaire (WIC 35-3a) (Spanish) (213 kb, PDF)

    Income Questionnaire (WIC 35-3v) (Vietnamese) (302 kb, PDF)

    What to Bring to Your WIC Appointment (English/Spanish) (209 kb, PDF)

    What to Bring to Your WIC Appointment (Vietnamese) (173 kb, PDF)

    Family Certification Form (WIC-35) (English/Spanish) (277 kb, PDF)

    Family Certification Form (WIC-35) (English/Vietnamese) (157 kb, PDF)

    Supplemental Information Forms (WIC-35-1) (English) (93 kb, PDF)

    Supplemental Information Forms (WIC-35-1A) (Spanish) (226 kb, PDF)

     

     

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    Last updated June 05, 2014