Women, Infants, & Children (WIC)
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, more popularly known as WIC, is a program that provides free supplemental foods, health screenings, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support to low income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. All services are free.
How do I know if I qualify for WIC?
WIC serves the following Pennsylvania residents:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women, for up to one year postpartum
- Women up to six months postpartum, who are not breastfeeding
- Infants and children under five years old, including foster children
Residents must also meet WIC income guidelines, which is 185% of the poverty level set by the federal government and is based on household size. Unborn babies are counted in the family size.
They must also have a medical or nutritional risk, which is determined at the WIC certification appointment. There are many qualifying risks. Some examples include: anemia, underweight, overweight, premature baby, pregnancy complications.
You should also note that:
- You can work and still get WIC
- You can continue to get cash assistance or SNAP benefits while receiving WIC
- You can get WIC if you are undocumented or not a citizen
What kinds of supplemental foods can I receive through WIC?
Checks provided by WIC can be used to purchase nutritious foods from any WIC authorized store. This may include: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, milk, soy milk, tofu, 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice, peanut butter, cheese, eggs, canned or dried beans, cereal, iron-fortified infant formula and cereal, jarred infant foods, canned fish, and special formulas when medically necessary.
What will the health screenings include?
WIC provides free health screenings to determine nutritional risk(s) and referrals to other health, social service, or community agencies that could help your family. A nutritional risk is any behavior associated with diet, growth, or medical diagnosis that might impact your nutritional status.
WIC staff screenings include:
- Weighing and measuring you and your child to monitor growth and development
- Identifying health and nutrition risks
- Checking blood iron levels
- Reviewing immunization records for children up to age two and referring them to a health care provider if needed.
What type of nutrition education will I receive?
WIC staff members provide nutrition education and services for participants and their families to learn how to choose nutritious foods to improve health. Some topics commonly discussed include the following:
- Benefits and techniques of breastfeeding
- Healthy food choices and portion control
- Weaning baby to a cup
- Introducing solids to the baby
- The importance of iron in the diet
- How to manage picky eaters
How do I apply for WIC?
To apply for the WIC program, schedule an appointment with your local WIC agency. There are multiple WIC offices in Philadelphia. To find an office near you, call 1-800-942-9467. Visit www.pawic.com for more information.
Maternity Care Coalition
Provides baby formula and other services at eight MOMobile locations throughout the region. For more information, call 267-773-5120 or visit www.maternitycarecoalition.org/momobile