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Women, Infants & Children (WIC)

mohter and baby

WIC is a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The Georgia WIC program has taken a holistic approach to serve the WIC participants with the following goals: increasing prenatal and postpartum healthy behaviors, increasing breastfeeding, identifying challenging nutritional risk factors, referring participants to other health care services, increasing retention of all WIC eligible participants, establishing effective external partnerships to provide comprehensive service capacity, and utilizing technology to streamline administrative service delivery.

WIC provides these services: Nutrition assessment, health screening, medical history, body measurement (weight and height), hemoglobin check, nutrition education, breast-feeding support and education, and vouchers for healthy foods.


WIC serves women and children in families with income at or below 185 percent of the federally defined poverty level who are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Participant categories consist of the following: pregnant, postpartum and breast-feeding women, and infants and children up to their fifth birthday.

What food benefits do WIC participants receive?

In most WIC State agencies, WIC participants receive checks or vouchers to purchase specific foods each month that are designed to supplement their diets. A few WIC State agencies distribute the WIC foods through warehouses or deliver the foods to participants' homes. The foods provided are high in one or more of the following nutrients: protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. These are the nutrients frequently lacking in the diets of the program's target population. Different food packages are provided for different categories of participants.

WIC foods include iron-fortified infant formula and infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried beans/peas, tuna fish and carrots. Special therapeutic infant formulas and medical foods may be provided when prescribed by a physician for a specified medical condition.

Who Gets WIC?To be eligible for the WIC Program, 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 weeks after 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 the Federal 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 Food Stamps, 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.

Nutritional 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.

WIC Income Eligibility Guidelines
(Effective from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013)

48 Contiguous States, D.C., Guam and Territories

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Length of Participation: WIC is a short-term program. Therefore, a participant will "graduate" at the end of one or more certification periods. A certification period is the length of time a WIC participant is eligible to receive benefits. Depending on whether the individual is pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, an infant, or a child, an eligible individual usually receives WIC benefits from 6 months to a year, at which time she/he must reapply.

Who gets first priority for participation?

WIC cannot serve all eligible people, so a system of priorities has been established for filling program openings. Once a local WIC agency has reached its maximum caseload, vacancies are filled in the order of the following priority levels:

  • Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants determined to be at nutrition risk because of a nutrition-related medical condition.
  • Infants up to 6 months of age whose mothers participated in WIC or could have participated and had a serious medical problem.
  • Children at nutrition risk because of a nutrition-related medical problem.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women and infants at nutrition risk because of an inadequate dietary pattern.
  • Children at nutrition risk because of an inadequate dietary pattern.
  • Non-breastfeeding, postpartum women with any nutrition risk.
  • Individuals at nutrition risk only because they are homeless or migrants, and current participants who, without WIC foods, could continue to have medical and/or dietary problems.

For more about the Clayton County Board of Health's WIC program, please call (678) 610-7199 , extension 6505.