Applying For Idaho WIC
Idaho WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Idaho WIC program aims to protect the health of low income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of 5 who are at a nutritional risk. This is done through WIC approved nutritious foods you can purchase using paper vouchers/checks, or in some states your WIC EBT card.
Nutrition Risk Requirements
Anyone who applies for Idaho WIC benefits must be seen by a health professional such as a physician, nurse, or nutritionist. They must determine whether the applicant is at a nutrition risk. In most cases, this can be done at a local WIC clinic at no cost to the applicant. However, if need be, this information can be obtained from another health professional such as the applicants doctor. Being a nutrition risk means that an individual has a medical-based or dietary-based condition.
For medical-based condition it could be anemia, underweight or a history of poor pregnacy outcome. For a dietary-based condition, this could include having a poor diet. At a minimum, the applicant's height and weight must be taken and bloodwork drawn up to check for anemia. An applicant must have at least one of the medical or dietary conditions listed on the state's list of WIC nutrition risk criteria.
Before applying for the ID WIC program, you can see if you are potentially eligible through the online Prescreening Tool. Please note, this tool is not considered an application. You still need to follow the application process for this state. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Idaho WIC benefits offer:
At each WIC visit, nutrition information, like feeding families, saving money on food, or ideas for healthy snacks is made available to participants.
Breastfeeding Information and Support
WIC offers encouragement and education on the benefits of breastfeeding and how to breastfeed for participants who are pregnant, breastfeeding or mothers of infants. When needed, breast pumps may be provided to support continued breastfeeding.
WIC participants are given monthly checks for nutritious foods intended to supplement a person's diet.
Idaho WIC participants are told about other health care services available to them in the community.
The following people are eligible for the Idaho WIC program:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women
- Women who had a baby within the last six months
- Parents, step-parents, guardians, and foster parents of infants and children up to their 5th birthday
Idaho WIC Appointment
You need to bring the following information with you to your appointment:
- Each person who is applying for WIC
- Identification for you and your children
- Proof of where you live
- Immunization records for your children
- If your infant or child uses diapers, bring an extra diaper
- Confirmation of your pregnancy, if you are expecting
- Proof of income for your entire household
If you have questions, or need to reschedule your appointment, then call your local WIC clinic. During this appointment, the WIC staff will conduct a health screening for all family members applying. This includes a finger stick blood test to check iron status, measuring height and weight, and asking you some questions about your health and nutrition. They will also review your income, residency and identification information with you.
At the end of this appointment you will be told if you and your children are eligible for Idaho WIC services. To save you time, before your appointment answer the questions on the application form. Please be on time or early. If you are late, your appointment may be rescheduled for another day.
Idaho eWIC System
Idaho will be rolling out with the new eWIC system. This will replace your paper checks or vouchers with a Idaho WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) card. When you are purchasing WIC approved foods at your local grocery store, you would hand the cashier your Idaho WIC EBT card and they will swipe it like a debit or credit card. The amount will then be deducted from your WIC balance. Also, each month instead of having to go to your local WIC clinic to pick up your vouchers or checks, your card will be automatically refilled electronically each month. For more information about the Idaho eWIC program, call your local WIC clinic.
Research has shown that breast milk is the best food for the baby's first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional and economical benefits to mother and baby. Since a major goal of the Idaho WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, ID WIC encourages participating mothers to choose breastfeeding in the following ways:
- Mothers are provided with breastfeeding information and support
- Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in Idaho WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers
- Mothers who exclusively breastfeed receive a larger amount and variety of foods
- Mothers can receive a pump and other breastfeeding items if needed to help support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding
Length of WIC Participation
Idaho WIC is considered a short-term program. A participate "graduates" at the end of one or more of their certification periods. A certification period is the length of time a ID WIC participate is eligible to receive benefits. Depending on the persons condition, either pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, an infant or child, an eligible person usually receives benefits from 6 months to a year, at which time they are required to re-apply.
The WIC Waiting List
In some situations, WIC agencies may not have enough financial backing to serve everyone who qualifies for the Idaho WIC program or those who call to apply. At this point, the WIC agencies must keep a list that is referred to as the "waiting list". It contains all of the individuals who want to apply for the Idaho WIC program and are likely to be served. From there, the WIC agencies use a special system called a "Priority System". Based on conditions like most serious health conditions (anemia, underweight, pregnancy problems), this system will determine who will be served next to receive ID WIC benefits. There are 7 priorities used in this priority system, the details for each priority and how they are determined are listed below.
The following applicants with nutrition-related medical conditions such as anemia, underweight, overweight or pre-term birth:
- Pregnant Women
- Breastfeeding Women
Infants up to 6 months of age whose mothers participated in WIC or could have participated and had nutrition-related medical conditions.
Children with nutrition-related medical conditions.
The following applicants with dietary problems, for example a poor diet:
- Pregnant Women
- Breastfeeding Women
Children with dietary problems, for example a poor diet.
Postpartum (non-breastfeeding) women with nutrition related-medical conditions or dietary problems.
Current WIC participants who without providing the WIC supplemental foods could continue to have medical and/or dietary problems.
Please note, state agencies can decide to place homeless and migrant participants in Priorities 5 through 7. At the state agencies option, postpartum women may be placed in Priorities 3 through 5. Any priority can be subdivided into subcategories of risk, using factors such as income or age.
WIC Participants who are Moving
If you are receiving Idaho WIC benefits and are moving from one area or state to another, then you will be placed at the top of a waiting list when you move and are also served first when the WIC agency can serve more individuals. While moving, you can still continue to receive your benefits until your certification period expires as long as there is proof that you are receiving WIC benefits in another area or state. Before you move, you need to contact your local WIC clinic and let them know.
In most cases the staff will give you a special card, Verification of Certification Card (VOC), which will prove that you are receiving WIC benefits. After you do move, you will then need to call the WIC clinic in your new area to schedule an appointment. When attending your appointment, make sure to take the VOC card that was given to you to show proof that you were participating in the ID WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Idaho WIC program that manages these benefits and services.