Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

The WIC program provides additional food assistance to pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding women as well as to families with children up to age 5. These benefits can be received in addition to SNAP, and are available to families living at up to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Who is Eligible

A Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program applicant must be a: 

  • pregnant or breastfeeding woman up to one year after giving birth;
  • new mother, up to six months after giving birth; or
  • parent, guardian, or caretaker who has an infant or child younger than 5 years of age.

In addition, WIC applicants must meet the following guidelines for income and medical or nutrition health risk:

  • Annual household income must be within WIC guidelines (WIC eligibility calculator). Applicants may have a job and still meet these guidelines.
  • A screening by a WIC-certifying health professional must find that a woman must have a medical or nutritional health risk such as low iron, low weight gain during pregnancy, or a diet that needs improvement.
  • Any infant or child on WIC or qualifying for WIC must come to the clinic. 

Why Apply

Families should apply for WIC to avoid illnesses and health conditions related to malnutrition and poor diet. The WIC may be able to help an individual and their children to access the right food and advice on nutrition, health care, and immunizations.

WIC program offerings vary at each site, but can include:

  • health and growth assessment
  • vouchers for nutritious foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables)
  • breastfeeding education and counseling
  • individual counseling
  • group education sessions
  • health referrals
  • breastpumps
  • breastfeeding classes
  • breastfeeding support groups
  • breastfeeding support helpline
  • immunization review and referral
  • All Kids applications
  • link to Early Intervention services
  • link to the Family Case Management Program
  • referrals to Head Start
  • lead screening (select sites)
  • voter registration applications
  • other assistance and programs

To Apply For

An individual must apply for WIC at their local WIC office. WIC offices are not the same as Family and Community Resource Centers. An individual can use the IDHS Office Locator online to locate a WIC office nearest them and set up an appointment. At the appointment, WIC staff will check to see if an individual and their family qualifies. 

What documents does a person need to bring to their WIC appointment?

At an individual's first visit to a WIC office, they should be sure to bring the following:

  • Identification, such as a driver’s license or photo ID;
  • Proof of income, such as her last two paycheck stubs or income tax forms; and
  • Proof of residency, such as a utility bill or other piece of mail with her name on it

If a woman is pregnant, she must also give proof of pregnancy, such as a medical note.

If an individual has an infant or children under age 5, they must also provide:

  • Proof of birth, such as a birth certificate(s); and
  • Proof of immunizations, if applicable, such as shot records from the pediatrician’s office.

WIC does not require proof of citizenship or alien status for an individual to apply. If an individual is undocumented and needs services, they will receive those services. 

Read More

Links to Important Resources

More information about the WIC program from Illinois DHS. 

WIC at a glance.

WIC eligibility calculator. 

Topics: Food Security
Tags: Food Security, Public Benefits, WIC, Pregnancy
Last updated August 15, 2017

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