Applying For Louisiana WIC
Louisiana WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Louisiana Department of Health. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Louisiana 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 Louisiana 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 LA 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.
The Louisiana WIC program offers:
- Nutrition Education and Counseling
- Breastfeeding Support and Education
- Childhood Immunizations
- Referrals to other health/social service programs including; Medicaid, Family Planning, SNAP, TANF, LaChip
- WIC Foods
Louisiana WIC Eligibility
You might be eligible for LA WIC benefits if you are pregnant or a mom of a child or children under five. You must live in Louisiana and you have to meet the Louisiana WIC Income Guidelines. Please note, if you are enrolled in Medicaid or receive SNAP of TANF benefits you already meet the income guidelines.
To get the application process started for Louisiana WIC benefits, you need to schedule an appointment with your nearest WIC clinic. If you are enrolling your infant or children, they will need to go to the appointment as well. To find a WIC clinic near you, click here. If you are having any issues with this, please call 800-251-BABY.
Louisiana WIC Appointment
During your first visit, the WIC staff will check to make sure you qualify for LA WIC. If so, you will be given food benefits, nutrition education, and shopping tips. You will be given information and help with breastfeeding, referrals for other services, counseling, and answers to your questions. You will need to bring the following information with you to your appointment:
Person Applying for WIC
Bring each person who is applying for WIC to the clinic with you on the appointment date. Bring an extra diaper for infants and children who are applying for WIC since they must be weighted with a clean, dry diaper.
Bring the immunization records for all infants and children applying for WIC, if available.
Proof of Identification
You should bring identification for yourself and for each person who is applying for WIC.
Proof of Residency
You should bring proof of where you live. The document should include your name, physical address, city, state, and zip code. PO boxes are not accepted. The following are acceptable for proof of residency:
- Valid Medicaid Card
- Valid Voter Registration Card
- Current Rent or Mortgage receipt showing address of residence and name of renter
- Current pay stub showing employee address
- Current utility bill (gas, electric, water, phone, etc.)
- State or local document indicating Louisiana residence, i.e., property tax notice
- Processed mail addressed to the participant or parent/caretaker at the physical address
- For migrants or victims of theft, loss or disaster with no proof of residence, a statement written and signed by staff of a social service agency, church, legal aid society, school counselor, or nurse attesting to residence
Proof of Income
Income for all members of the Economic Unit/Household must be provided. If you receive Medicaid, SNAP (Food Stamps), or TANF, bring one of the following:
- Medicaid Letter showing current eligibility or valid Medicaid Card
- SNAP (Food Stamp Program) document showing current eligibility
- TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) document showing current eligibility
If you do not receive Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, the following are accepted:
- Public assistance or welfare payments for the most recent 30 days
- Child support or alimony payments for the most recent 30 days
- Current pay stubs showing gross pay and time frame (weekly, monthly, etc.) for the most recent 30 days
- Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) for military personnel for the most recent 30 days
- Social Security award letter or notice stating current earnings
- Unemployment earning statement for the most recent 30 days
- Retirement, pensions, or annuities payments
- Scholarship letter showing the date and amount awarded
- W-2 forms or income tax return for the most recent calendar year
- Tax Returns for the self-employed from the most recent calendar year
- Signed statement from employer indicating gross earnings and time frame (weekly, monthly, etc.) for the most recent 30 days
- Winnings or payments from gaming, gambling, lottery, and bingo
- Other cash income, including regular contributions from persons not living in the household
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 Louisiana WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, LA 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 Louisiana 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
Louisiana 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 LA 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 Louisiana 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 Louisiana 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 LA 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 Louisiana 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 LA WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Louisiana WIC program that manages these benefits and services.