WIC Program FAQs
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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, better known as the WIC Program, provides:
- Nutrition education
- Information and help with breastfeeding
- Referrals to health and social service programs
- Electronic Benefits Card to buy healthy foods
WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk.
Where is WIC available?
To participate in the Connecticut WIC Program a person must live in Connecticut. WIC is available in all fifty states of the United States of America, thirty-four Indian Tribal Organizations, America Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Commonwealth Islands of the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
What do I need to do to be involved in the WIC Program?
To get the most out of your time at WIC you agree to do the following:
- Keep all of your WIC appointments. If you miss two months in a row during a certification period without calling the WIC Office you may be taken off the program.
- Talk to the WIC Nutritionists about your family’s interests and concerns. The Nutritionist will work with you to make a nutrition plan that fits your family. This time is for you. Make sure to use it to talk about your family’s needs and set health goals that you can achieve. Talk with other moms and WIC nutrition staff about healthy eating for you and your children.
- If there are changes for you and/or your family in any of the following categories notify your WIC staff: eating habits, income, address, phone number, family size, breastfeeding status
- Treat WIC Office staff and store employees with respect and courtesy.
What is WIC’s confidentiality policy?
WIC protects applicant and participant personal information that it collects no matter how the information is documented or stored.
The State agency must limit the use and release of private or confidential information to people that need to have the information to run, operate or oversee the WIC program.
These people may include, but are not limited to, local agency staff and other WIC State or local agencies, people with contracts with the State agency to carry out research about the WIC Program, and persons looking into or taking legal actions about WIC Program abuse under Federal, State or local law.
Where can I find WIC’s Policies and Procedures?
Click here for the State Plan.
How do I submit a complaint?
If you have a complaint against a WIC approved store (Retailer), another WIC participant, a local office or the State WIC Program, you can submit a complaint several ways.
Mail: Department of Public Health-WIC Program
Attention: State WIC Director
410 Capitol Avenue MS # 11WIC
P.O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134-0308
Who is eligible?
People who apply for WIC must meet all of the following:
- Be in one of the following categories (type of participant): Pregnant women, Breastfeeding women, Non-breastfeeding (postpartum) women, Infants, Children
- Live in Connecticut. You do not have to be a citizen of the United States.
- Must meet the WIC income guidelines. (at or below 185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines or on Medicaid or SNAP)
- Be at nutritional risk. Examples of nutritional risk include low-iron level, underweight, poor eating habits.
To meet WIC’s income requirement, the person(s) applying for WIC (or applicant’s) gross income (your income before taxes) must meet the income guidelines. These guidelines are set at or below 185% of the federal poverty line and based on your household size.
All applicants must bring proof of income to their appointment. When you call for an appointment the WIC staff will tell you which forms or papers prove your income.
If you have no income or no proof of your income you can to fill out a form stating you have no income. However, within one month you must show proof of income or proof that you do not have income.
**Recipients of the SNAP, assistance under the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program or the Husky A/Medicaid program are automatically income-eligible for the WIC Program. A person who proves that he/she is a member of a family that contains a TFA recipient or that has a pregnant woman or an infant who gets Husky A/Medicaid is adjunctively income eligible for WIC.
What is a household?
A household is the number of people living with you. WIC counts an unborn infant in the household, unless it conflicts with your cultural, personal or religious views.
What is “nutritional risk”?
A health professional such as a doctor, nurse or WIC Nutritionist must make sure you or your child has a health or diet related reason to be in the WIC Program. “Nutritional Risk” is a term used by WIC staff and means the health or diet related reason that you or your child is eligible for WIC.
A WIC staff person may check you or your child’s height, weight and review blood work provided by you or your child’s doctor.
To select the right nutritional risk the Nutritionist will:
- Go over your weight or your child’s growth measurements,
- Talk to you about you or your child’s health, eating habits
- Answer questions you have about food or eating
Some typical nutritional risks are low blood iron (anemia); too much or too little weight gain (for pregnant women and children); poor diet; a long-term illness.
What is a certification?
The first WIC visit is called the “WIC certification” visit. At this visit the person applying for the Program has her eligibility requirements reviewed by WIC staff. All of the eligibility requirements must be met to be in the Connecticut WIC Program.
If a person meets all the WIC program requirements he or she qualifies for the WIC Program. A “certification period” is the amount of time a WIC participant is eligible or allowed to receive WIC benefits.
What are the Connecticut WIC approved foods?
Click HERE for the Connecticut WIC approved food list.
What is the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program?
The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) was started in 1992 and provides WIC participants with vouchers so they can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers’ markets.
The program has two goals:
- To increase families access to fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables.
- To increase the use of farmers’ markets.
Click HERE for more information on the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
How do I find the closest WIC Office?
To find an office close to you, click HERE.
What services does WIC provide?
Time to talk with a Nutritionist - Each time you go to WIC, you get to meet with a nutritionist. You will have time to talk about your health and eating habits. You can also ask questions about your child’s growth or about your weight.
Some WIC local agencies offer nutrition visits in groups. In a WIC group you can meet with other moms with children of the same age and interests.
Some group topics WIC offers that new moms want to know about:
- Breastfeeding: How to start
- How to start your baby on solid foods
- New ways to add vegetables and fruit to meals
- How to care for your child’s teeth
- Shopping for food on a budget
Referrals- During your appointment, the WIC staff may ask about other health and family concerns. The staff can then refer you to the health and social services that meet your needs. These referrals may be for HUSKY (Medicaid), Farmer’s Market, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), child health screening, family planning, and more.
Electronic Benefits Card to Buy Healthy Foods- WIC foods were picked for their nutritional value. The WIC foods are supplemental- which means the foods you get at WIC will not meet all of the food needs for you or your child for the month. WIC encourages all women to breastfeed. It is the best food for babies. If a baby is not breastfed the WIC Program provides some formula. The WIC Program does not provide all the formula needs for your baby. Click HERE for the Connecticut WIC approved food list.
How long can my child or I receive WIC services?
Pregnant women can get WIC services for their whole pregnancy. As soon as you know you are pregnant, apply for WIC. You will be able to get WIC services longer.
Once you have your baby, you can get services for up to one year if you are breastfeeding your baby. If you are not able to or choose not to breastfeed you can get WIC services for up to six months after you have your baby.
Children can get WIC services from birth to the month of their fifth birthday. However, the WIC Program requires you reapply each year for your child and attend nutrition education sessions at least four times per year.
When your WIC certification period ends you must apply again and meet the eligibility requirements. If you meet the eligibility requirements you can continue to get WIC services.
To apply for the WIC Program, make an appointment by calling the WIC local agency closest to you. Click HERE for a listing of WIC local agencies.
If you cannot keep an appointment please call your local WIC office for a new one. If you miss two appointments in a row during a certification period without calling to reschedule you may be taken off the program.
What do I need to bring to my first WIC appointment?
When applying for the WIC Program you will need to bring the following items to your WIC certification appointment. The WIC staff can tell you which forms or papers you should bring to show your income, identity and residence.
- Proof of Income- If you have no income or no proof of your income you can fill out a form stating you have no income. However, within one month you must show proof of income or proof that you do not have income so you can still apply for WIC services.
- Proof of Identity- If you do not have any form of identification WIC staff will tell you what to do so you can still apply for WIC services.
- Proof of Residence- If you do not have proof of residence or are homeless WIC staff will tell you what to do so you can still apply for WIC services.
The person who is applying for WIC services must be at the appointment. If the WIC services are for a child, the child must be there. If an applicant is seriously ill or in the hospital the applicant may not have to be at the appointment. If you have questions contact your local WIC office for more information.
The first WIC visit (appointment) can take from one to two hours. The next appointments you have for WIC usually take between twenty minutes to one hour. Depending on the person, the next appointment may be in one, two, or three months.
Which stores accept WIC benefits?
Many supermarkets and small stores accept WIC benefits. Click HERE for the most recent list of WIC authorized stores that accept WIC benefits.
Can someone else shop with my WIC benefit(s)? Yes. You should only have a trusted person shop for you. You can give them your eWIC card and PIN.
Can I use my WIC benefits in another state? No. Connecticut WIC benefits can only be used at Connecticut WIC approved stores.
I live in another state. Can I use my WIC benefits in Connecticut? No. Connecticut WIC approved stores only transact Connecticut WIC benefits.
Does WIC help with breastfeeding?
WIC supports breastfeeding. WIC nutrition staff are here to help moms meet their breastfeeding goals. Connecticut also has Breastfeeding Peer Counselors at certain locations ready to help.
WIC helps moms learn more about:
- Why breastfeeding is the best start for baby
- How to start a feeding at the breast
- How to make enough breast milk
- How to breastfeed while working or going to school
- How to pump and store breast milk
- A father’s role in helping with breastfeeding
- How to fix breastfeeding problems
Breastfeeding aids are available to breastfeeding moms if they meet certain requirements. WIC staff trained in breastfeeding support can see if you qualify to get:
Personal-use, Electric breast pumps
Hand (manual) breast pumps
If you need more breastfeeding support than what the local WIC office can offer you please contact:
Marilyn Lonczak (860) 509-8261
Pamela Beaulieu (860) 509-7138
There are laws in Connecticut that protect your right to breastfeed in public and during the workday. Your WIC staff can help you understand your rights.
Does WIC help with formula?
Yes. WIC helps those who are not able to or choose not to breastfeed by providing iron-fortified infant formulas. Remember, WIC is a supplemental program. This means WIC does not provide all of the formula your baby will need during the month. You will need to buy more formula to meet your baby’s needs.
The formula I bought made my baby sick can I exchange it?
You cannot return baby formula bought with WIC benefits to the store for another brand or type of formula. Contact your local WIC office to find out what other formulas are available on the program. The WIC staff will tell you how to get the right formula.
What is the WIC infant formula rebate system?
Mothers participating in WIC are encouraged to breastfeed their infants. However, for mothers who are not breastfeeding and give formula to their infants, infant formula is available. The law requires WIC State agencies to ask multiple formula makers to provide their best prices to WIC for formula. This is called a “competitive bidding process”. The company with the lowest bid that meets all the requirements wins the contract.
This means WIC State agencies agree to provide one brand of infant formula and in return the formula maker gives the State agency a discount or rebate for each can of infant formula bought by WIC participants. The brand of infant formula provided by WIC is different in each State depending on which company has the contract.
By having contracts with formula makers States are able to serve more people on WIC. For FY 2010, savings in the U.S. totaled $1.7 billion dollars, which made it possible to serve an average of 1.9 million participants each month, or 20.5 percent of the estimated number of people on WIC each month.
Other than those offered by the formula company under contract, the Connecticut WIC Program does not give out standard milk and soy-based formulas for any reason.
Tell a WIC staff person from the office where you are currently getting WIC services that you would like to go to a different WIC office within the state. They can help you contact the new local WIC office. Take your Connecticut WIC ID folder and show it to the staff at the new local WIC office.
You can move your certification to a different local WIC office as long as your certification period has not ended. If your certification has ended you can make an appointment to re-apply for WIC at the new local WIC office. Remember to tell the staff at the new WIC Office that you used to go to another local WIC office in Connecticut.
I am moving/moved to Connecticut, how do I transfer my WIC services from another state?
Please contact a Connecticut local WIC office. Tell the WIC staff that you were on WIC in another state.
Please bring the following with you to your first visit:
- A copy of your VOC – Verification of Certification
- Prescription for special formula or supplement, if needed
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Residence
I am moving to another state. How do I transfer my WIC services from Connecticut?
If you want to transfer your WIC benefits from Connecticut to another state’s WIC Program, you will need to transfer your WIC services or “certification”. Tell a WIC staff person from the office where you get WIC services that you need a copy of your Verification of Certification (VOC). The VOC proves which family members participated in the WIC Program.
At the other state’s local WIC office, you will need to have:
- A copy of your VOC
- Prescription for special formula or supplement, if needed
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Residence
You can transfer your certification to a new WIC Office as long as your certification period has not ended. If your certification has ended, you do not need a VOC. You can just make an appointment to certify at your new WIC Office. Click HERE to find an office in all areas where WIC is available.