Families Frequently Asked Questions
What is WIC?
WIC is a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women; infants; and children until their 5th birthday. WIC helps to prevent health problems and improve the health of participants through good nutrition and education. WIC supplements the diets of participants with nutritious food.
Who qualifies for WIC?
All participants must be a Missouri resident and further eligibility is based on three (3) additional things: category, income, and nutritional risk.
- Pregnant women
- Women breastfeeding an infant up to the infant’s 1st birthday
- Postpartum women up to six (6) months after delivery or end of pregnancy
- Infants up to their 1st birthday
- Children until their 5th birthday
Fathers, grandparents, guardians, and foster parents may also apply for benefits for the children living in their household.
- Household income may be no more than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines. Families that qualify for SNAP or TANF automatically qualify. Individuals who meet income and category guidelines will have a nutrition and health assessment during the certification process.
To apply for WIC benefits, you must visit a WIC local agency near you. Please call the closest agency for additional information or to schedule an appointment.
For additional assistance in finding a WIC local agency, please contact TEL-LINK at 1-800-TEL-LINK or 1-800-835-5465.
Can men receive WIC benefits?
Although WIC does not provide food packages for men, they receive many other benefits. The WIC program was developed to meet the needs of pregnant women, infants, and children in the critical growth years of fetal development and early childhood. WIC benefits, by design of the program, are provided only to pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women; infants; and children until their 5th birthday. A man with any of these participants in his family benefits from the support the nutritious food and nutrition education offers his family. Men can and are encouraged to participate in nutrition education, family nutrition counseling, shopping for WIC approved food, and referrals to health care and other programs that may benefit their families. Find out more about nutrition here.
How can I find a WIC local agency close to me?
What food does WIC provide?
The WIC food packages are based on the type of participant (woman, infant, or child). Nutritionists can tailor the food package for each individual.
- WIC encourages and provides support for breastfeeding. For babies who are not fully breastfed, iron fortified infant formula can be provided.
- At six (6) months of age, infants may receive infant cereal, fruit, and vegetables. Infants who are fully breastfed also receive infant meat.
- Women and children can receive milk; soy milk; eggs; cheese and yogurt; cold and hot cereal; juice; peanut butter; dried beans, peas and lentils; canned beans; infant cereal; infant formula; infant fruit, vegetables and meats; tofu; tuna; sardines and salmon; whole grain breads; brown rice; tortillas; whole wheat pasta; and fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.
- Women who fully breastfeed their babies may also receive extra food including canned tuna, salmon, or sardines.
- Women, infants, and children who have certain medical conditions may also be provided exempt formula and WIC eligible nutritionals.
Will I have to pay to participate in WIC?
No, there is no fee to participate in the WIC program.
Will WIC provide all of the food my baby and I need?
No, WIC will not provide all of the food needed for a month. Food provided by WIC is intended to supplement the diet. The food packages approved for use in the Missouri WIC program are designed to help meet infants’ developmental needs and current pediatric feeding recommendations, and to complement the eating patterns of preschool children. WIC food also supplements the special requirements of pregnant and breastfeeding women to help replenish the nutrient stores women use during pregnancy.
What do I need to bring to the WIC local agency when applying for services?
The following information and documents are required on your first appointment.
Proof of Identity:
- Infants and children: Immunization record, birth certificate, hospital records (e.g., crib card, hospital band, discharge paperwork), or Family Support Division letter with identifying information
- Adults: Photo ID such as driver license, passport, employment ID card, school ID card, state ID card, military ID card, or naturalization record
- When a photo ID is not available, proof could be a card or letter verifying health care, social services or voter registration card.
- Current utility bill or personal bill mailed to the residence within the last thirty (30) days
- Current rent or mortgage receipt
- Voter registration card
- Property tax receipt
- Pay stub that has name and physical address and has been issued within the last thirty (30) days
- Mail received from a government agency other than WIC (e.g., jury summons, social services letter)
- Written statement from a reliable third party (e.g., employer, church, social service agency) with knowledge of the applicant’s or participant’s regular or nighttime location
- Current pay stubs (paper or electronic) noting the pay time frame (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly)
- W-2 forms or income tax returns for the most recent calendar year
- Signed statement from employer indicating gross earnings for a specified pay period
- Commissions, fees, and tip records
- Unemployment letter or notice
- Check stub or award letter from Social Security stating current amount of earnings
- Recent Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) for military personnel
- Recent bank statement
- Foster child placement letter or foster parent award letter
- Divorce decree which states child support and alimony
- Scholarship letter
- Accounting records for the self-employed
- If you are currently on MO HealthNet, Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), or receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you might be eligible for benefits without current proof of income
Why does WIC allow certain food items, but not allow other food items on the program?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) determines the basic nutrient guidelines that the Missouri WIC program follows in food selection. All food items selected must meet those requirements. The Missouri WIC program also uses cost, availability, and other similar criteria to select food items. Food items selected are low in sugar and salt and are good sources of vitamins A, C, and D; iron; protein; and calcium.
What is a WIC retailer?
A WIC authorized retailer is a grocery store or pharmacy that has been approved by the WIC program to accept WIC food instruments for WIC approved food items. Check our retailer page for additional information.
Why will some WIC authorized retailers accept WIC food instruments for approved food items that other WIC authorized retailers will not?
WIC authorized retailers must allow individuals to purchase all WIC approved food items listed on the WIC food instruments. Available food items may vary by retailer. If a retailer does not allow a WIC participant to purchase a WIC approved food item that is stocked in the store and listed on the WIC food instruments, please contact your WIC local agency or the WIC state agency.
If I leave the state, how will I find a WIC local agency?
Check USDA’s website for WIC state agencies or contact the Missouri WIC state agency at 800-392-8209 to obtain the telephone number of WIC programs in other states.
How do I report suspected fraud or abuse of the Missouri WIC program?
Contact the Missouri WIC state agency at 800-392-8209 or visit our website to file a report.
How do I file a complaint about a WIC local agency?
Contact the Missouri WIC state agency at 800-392-8209 or email WICinfo@health.mo.gov.
How can I get information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?
If you are a WIC applicant or participant, your WIC local agency can tell you where to find the Family Support office in your community. You may also visit the SNAP website or call the Family Support Division Information Center at 855-373-4636.