N271: Fall 2013
WIC: Women, Infant, & Children
Currently, the United States government funds several programs aimed at promoting good nutrition in low-income populations. Some programs include school lunch program and CalFresh/SNAP which benefits people of all ages. In addition to these programs, there is another nutrition program targeted toward pregnant women and their children. WIC is a federally funded program that began in 1972 to assist women in having healthier pregnancies and babies, while lowering the infant mortality in the United States. In California, the WIC program is sponsored through the Department of Public Health. Eighty-four WIC agencies provide services to over 1.45 million participants at over 650 sites throughout California.
WIC is a free program that enrolls low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, post partum women and their children up to the age of five. All applicants whose family incomes do not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level qualify. Prenatal patients can get referrals from their primary healthcare providers based on nutritional assessments. And if women are not enrolled when they give birth, they can get referred through the social worker at the hospital. Many WIC retailers, such a Mother’s Nutritional Centers are conveniently located next to WIC offices.
In order to apply to WIC, a woman must fill out the appropriate paperwork, showing proof of monthly gross income and residency in the county for which they are applying. Their income should fall within the maximum allowance, according to the total number in the household. Members in the household include living children, as well as the unborn child.
WIC monthly benefits are based on income and number of members in the household. The lowest amount a woman can receive is $80 per month. Benefits are distributed through vouchers of various amounts, indicating the types of food items that can be purchased with that particular voucher....
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