Applying For Montana WIC
Montana WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Montana 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 Montana 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 MT 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.
Montana WIC Eligibility
The MT WIC applicant must meet eligibility criteria for category, identity, residency, income and be at nutrition risk.
The applicant must fit into one of the following categories:
- Women who are pregnant
- Women who are breastfeeding or postpartum
- Infants (0 months to 1 year)
- Children (1 year to up to 5 years)
Identity will be documented and scanned for each applicant at initial certification appointment and reviewed at all visits. Identity for authorized representatives/proxies will be documented and scanned at certification, or before benefits are issued. Documents acceptable for identification include:
- Driver's License/State ID
- Birth Certificate/Certificate of Live Birth
- Green Card
- Social Security Card
- Social Services Card (HMK Plus, SNAP or TANF)
- Tribal ID Card or Tribal Enrollment Letter
- Crib Card
- Hospital Identification (bracelet)
- Immunization Card
- School or work ID Card
- Pay Stubs
- Voter Registration Card
- Health Benefits (Insurance Card)
Applicants applying for Montana WIC will live in Montana and receive services in the region in which they reside with the following exceptions:
- In the case of Reservations or regions overlapping, participants may choose the location for their WIC services
- In the event a participant resides in one Montana WIC Program region and works or receives their healthcare in another, the participants may choose to receive WIC services in either location
- In the event a participant resides in another State and works or receives their healthcare in Montana or whose location is physically nearer to WIC services in Montana the participant may choose to receive WIC services in either location
Documentation of residency can be:
- Recent pay stub
- Driver's License (if address is same as that reported)
- Recent bank statement
- Rental agreement
- Mortgage statement
- City/County Address Coordinator or other authorized designee
- Hospital certificate of live birth
- Any form of mail with an applicant/participant's physical address
- If the above cannot be obtained, a note from a 3rd party verify may be used
Income eligibility is implemented in conjunction with Medicaid Income Guidelines. To determine eligibility, view the Montana WIC Income Guidelines.
Montana WIC Application Process
To get the application process started for the Montana WIC program, you will need to find your local WIC clinic and schedule an appointment. The staff will then determine if you are eligible to receive MT WIC benefits. Please note, WIC in Montana does not require proof of pregnancy.
Montana WIC Portal
To view your current Montana WIC EBT card balance, purchase history and other information about your benefits, go to their online portal at MyBnft.com. Or you can call customer service at 844-583-3237.
Montana eWIC System
Montana uses the eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouchers with the Montana WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. When you are purchasing WIC approved foods at your local grocery store, you would hand the cashier your MT WIC EBT card at checkout. They will then swipe the card like a credit or debit card and their POS system will deduct the amount from your WIC balance. Also, each month, instead of having to go down to your local WIC clinic to pick up more paper checks or vouchers, your Montana EBT WIC card is automatically refilled each month electronically.
Select a PIN for the Card
Before the eWIC card can be used, a 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) must be selected. Call Customer Service at 844-583-3237 or logon to MyBnft.com to select a PIN. Registration will be needed if this is the first time the website is being accessed for the Montana eWIC card.
If the PIN has been forgotten or the card needs to be cancelled and/or replaced, call Customer Service at 844-583-3237or log on to MyBnft.com to change the PIN.
What happens if the PIN is forgotten or entered incorrectly?
If the PIN is entered incorrectly four times in a row, the card will be locked until midnight. The PIN can be reset to unlock the card by calling Customer Service at 844-583-3237or log on to MyBnft.com. If the PIN is not reset, the card will automatically be unlocked at midnight, however, the PIN will still need to be known in order to use it.
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 Montana WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, MT 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 Montana 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
Montana 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 MT 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 Montana 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 Montana 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 MT 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 Montana 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 MT WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Montana WIC program that manages these benefits and services.