Applying For Massachusetts WIC
Massachusetts WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Massachusetts Department of Public 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 MA 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.
You can participate in the Massachusetts WIC program if you:
- Live in Massachusetts
- Have a nutritional need
- Are a child under 5, a new mom, or a pregnant or breastfeeding woman
- Have a family income less than Massachusetts WIC Income Guidelines
You are automatically income eligible for MA WIC if you currently receive:
- MassHealth/Medicaid insurance plans
- TAFDC or cash assistance
Apply for Massachusetts WIC Online
To start the application process for Massachusetts WIC benefits online, you can fill out the online form. Make sure you provide a valid phone number so a representative can contact you with information on how to complete the process.
Apply for Massachusetts WIC By Phone
To apply for MA WIC benefits by phone, you would need to call the WIC clinic closets to you or call 800-942-1007 and schedule an appointment.
Massachusetts WIC Appointment
For your appointment at the WIC clinic, you need to bring the following information:
- Proof of current household income
- Proof that you live in Massachusetts
- Proof of identity
Talk to the WIC clinic if you are having problems bringing any of the above information. All information shared with WIC is confidential.
Massachusetts eWIC System
WIC participants can now use the MA eWIC system. This replaces paper checks or vouchers with a Massachusetts WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) card. So when you go to purchase WIC approved foods at your local grocery store, you would hand your MA WIC EBT card to the cashier and they will swipe it like a normal debit or credit card. From there the POS system will deduct the amount from your WIC balance. Also, instead of having to go to your local WIC clinic each month to get more paper checks or vouchers, the system will electronically refill your Massachusetts WIC EBT card.
Check MA WIC EBT Card Balance
You can check your account balance 3 ways:
- Check your last store receipt
- Go to the Customer Service Desk at your grocery store, where you can slide your card into a POS machine to get your balance
- Download the WIC Shopper app to your smart phone
What if I forget my PIN or want to change it?
You must visit your local WIC office to change your PIN.
What if I enter the wrong PIN?
Do not try to guess your PIN. After several incorrect attempts, your PIN will be locked. This is done as a protection from someone guessing your PIN and getting your food benefits. There are three ways to unlock your card:
- Call the Massachusetts WIC program
- Call the 800 number on the back of your card
- Wait until midnight and your account will automatically unlock
What should I do if my card is lost or stolen?
Call the MA WIC program right away. They will stop anyone from using your food benefits and help you get a new card.
When will I have my benefits?
Current food benefits loaded at the WIC office will be available immediately. Food benefits for upcoming months will be available at midnight on the beginning date and will expire at midnight on the ending date.
Tips to take care of your Massachusetts WIC EBT Card
Below are some tips you can use to take care of your eWIC card:
- Keep your PIN confidential
- Don't write your PIN on your card
- Keep your WIC Card in your wallet or purse
- Do not give your PIN to anyone that you don't trust
- Do not bend your card
- Keep your card out of direct sunlight and avoid places such as a car's dashboard
- Keep your card safe and clean
- Keep your card away from items such as magnets, cell phones, TVs, and microwaves
Since your family's MA WIC food benefits will be deposited onto your card, keep your card and bring it with you each time you come to your WIC appointments.
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 Massachusetts WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, MA 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 Massachusetts 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
Massachusetts 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 MA 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 MA 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 Massachusetts 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 MA WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Massachusetts WIC program that manages these benefits and services.