Applying For Minnesota WIC

Minnesota WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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.

WIC Prescreening

Before applying for the MN 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 Minnesota WIC program:

  • Is a Nutrition and Breastfeeding program
  • Helps eligible pregnant women, new mothers, babies and young children eat well, learn about nutrition, and stay healthy
  • Provides nutrition education and counseling, nutritious foods, and referrals to health and other social services

The following people can participate in the MN WIC program:

  • Women
  • Pregnant Women
  • Breastfeeding women who have had a baby within the past year
  • Women who have had a baby within the past six months
  • Women who have been pregnant within the past six months
  • Infants from birth to 1 year of age
  • Children from 1 year of age to their 5th birthday

People who can apply for Minnesota WIC benefits are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Mothers and fathers with an infant or child under the age of 5
  • Foster parents or guardians with an infant or child under age 5

Additionally, the eligibility requirements for the MN WIC program are:

  • You must live in Minnesota
  • Each state provides WIC benefits to its residents
  • You will usually receive WIC services in the county where you live
  • You do not need to be a US citizen to be on WIC
  • You must have a medical or nutrition need

Medical Need
A medical need means that you or your child has health-based risks such as high or low weight, anemia, or a history of having low birth weight or premature babies.

Nutrition Need
A nutrition need means that you or your child may have poor eating habits, lack variety in the foods eaten daily, or are not eating enough of certain nutrients (like calcium, iron or protein).

If you or a family member is currently participating in any of the following programs, you and your family are adjunctively eligible for the MN WIC Program:

  • Medical Assistance
  • Medical Assistance - TEFRA
  • SNAP (Food Stamps)
  • MN Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • Fuel Assistance
  • Reduced or Free School Lunch
  • Head Start
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If someone in your family is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or TEFRA, the person receiving these benefits is adjunctively eligible for the WIC. View the Minnesota WIC Income Guidelines.

To start the application process for Minnesota WIC benefits you will need to find your local WIC clinic to call and schedule an appointment. Or you can call their WIC hotline at 800-942-4030 and they will help you find a local WIC clinic.

Medical or nutrition needs will be assessed by a qualified health professional at your WIC appointment. Your first appointment will take about 30-45 minutes and you'll get your food vouchers that day.

Minnesota WIC Appointment

Your first appointment is called your certification appointment. At your certification appointment, the staff will check to see if you or your child is eligible for Minnesota WIC. Be sure to bring your infant or child with you to your WIC certification appointment. Below is a list of information you need to bring with you to your certification appointment.

Proof of Identity
Bring any one item from the following list for each person who has an appointment:

  • Baptismal Certificate
  • Birth Certificate
  • Crib Card
  • Driver's License
  • Health Benefits Card
  • Passport
  • Pay Stub
  • Photo ID, School ID, State ID, or Work ID
  • Social Security Card
  • Social Service Benefits Card
  • Tribal ID
  • Voter Registration Card

Proof of Address
Bring any one item from the following list for your entire family:

  • Bill
  • Driver's License
  • Lease or Rental Agreement
  • Mail Addressed to You
  • Pay Stub
  • Rent Receipt
  • State ID
  • Statement from Employer
  • Statement from Landlord
  • WIC Appointment Letter

Proof of Participation (If applicable)
If participating in any of the following programs, bring proof of participation in any one of the following programs:

  • Medical Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • MN Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • Fuel Assistance Program
  • Head Start
  • Reduced or Free School Meals
  • Social Security


Proof of Income
Bring any one item from the following list for each source of income in your household:

  • Child Support Payments/Letter
  • Pay Stub
  • Payment Award Letter
  • Pension or Annuity
  • Statement from Employer
  • Tax Form
  • Unemployment
  • Veteran's Payment
  • W-2 Form

How long does a WIC appointment take?
A WIC certification appointment takes about 30 minutes for each person with an appointment. 30 minutes can seem like a long time to a child. Please bring a snack or favorite toy to help make the appointment easier for both you and your child.

What does WIC provide to you at the appointment?
They provide nutrition education, which includes:

Information about healthy eating during and after pregnancy.

Information about feeding babies as they grow, common problems including colic, constipation and crying.

Information about healthy foods for happy children, helping your child to eat well, healthy snacking, valuable parenting skills and lots more.

WIC Breastfeeding

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 Minnesota WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, MN 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 Minnesota 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

Minnesota 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 MN 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 MN WIC benefits. There are 7 priorities used in this priority system, the details for each priority and how they are determined are listed below.

Priority 1
The following applicants with nutrition-related medical conditions such as anemia, underweight, overweight or pre-term birth:

  • Pregnant Women
  • Breastfeeding Women
  • Infants

Priority 2
Infants up to 6 months of age whose mothers participated in WIC or could have participated and had nutrition-related medical conditions.

Priority 3
Children with nutrition-related medical conditions.

Priority 4
The following applicants with dietary problems, for example a poor diet:

  • Infants
  • Pregnant Women
  • Breastfeeding Women

Priority 5
Children with dietary problems, for example a poor diet.

Priority 6
Postpartum (non-breastfeeding) women with nutrition related-medical conditions or dietary problems.

Priority 7
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 Minnesota 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 MN WIC program.

If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Minnesota WIC program that manages these benefits and services.

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