Applying For New Mexico WIC
New Mexico WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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 NM 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.
New Mexico WIC benefits provides participants supplemental food to program participants, along with nutrition education, information on breastfeeding and referrals to health and social programs.
New Mexico Eligibility
In order to qualify to receive New Mexico WIC benefits, you must meet the following criteria:
Live in New Mexico
WIC participants usually receive services in the county where they live. US citizenship is not a requirement for eligibility.
Be a Pregnant, Breastfeeding or Postpartum woman, an infant under one year of age or a child less than 5 years of age. Parents, step-parents, guardians, and foster parents of infants and children under 5 can apply for their children.
Meet the New Mexico WIC Income Guidelines. Households with incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty income level are eligible. WIC determines income based on gross income. WIC counts all of the members of a household, related or non-related. WIC counts an unborn baby as a household member.
Nutritional Risk Requirement
Be at nutritional risk. NM WIC participants receive an initial health and diet screening at a WIC clinic to determine nutritional risk. WIC uses two main categories of nutritional risk:
Medically-based risks such as history of poor pregnancy outcome, underweight status, or iron deficiency anemia, and diet-based risk factors such as poor eating habits which can lead to poor nutritional and health status. Participants will be counseled at WIC about these risks and the outcome influenced by nutrition education and nutritious foods provided by the New Mexico WIC program.
Anyone who is planning to participate in the New Mexico WIC program must apply in person.
New Mexico Application Process
To start the application process for NM WIC, you need to find your local WIC clinic and call and schedule an appointment.
New Mexico Appointment
You will be asked to bring the following to your appointment:
- The Person Applying for program participation
- Proof of residency
- Proof of identity
- Current check stubs (within last 30 days) for any member of your family who receives an income, or other proof of income status. If your family receives TANF or Food Stamps, you will be asked to bring the award notice, which you receive from your caseworker or in the mail. If family members are on Medicaid, bring their current cards
- Clean diaper or other items needed for comfort. Your appointment will last approximately 45 minutes
- Current or updated shot record
A diet survey for family member who will be certifying needs to be completed:
- NASH Infant English
- NASH Infant Spanish
- NASH Child (1-5) English
- NASH Child (1-5) Spanish
- NASH Pregnant Woman English
- NASH Pregnant Woman Spanish
- NASH Breastfeeding/Postpartum Woman English
- NASH Breastfeeding/Postpartum Woman Spanish
New Mexico eWIC System
New Mexico uses the new eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouches with a New Mexico WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. When you are purchasing WIC approved foods at a local grocery store, you would hand your New Mexico WIC EBT Card to the cashier and they will swipe it like a debit or credit card. Their POS system will then deduct the amount from your WIC balance. Also, instead of having to go down to your local WIC clinic each month to get more paper checks or vouchers, your NM WIC EBT Card will be automatically refilled electronically.
What happens if the wrong PIN number is used with my New Mexico eWIC Card?
The card will only work with the PIN you choose. If you enter the wrong PIN, the terminal will ask for the PIN again. If the wrong PIN is entered seven times in a row, the card may lock up and the terminal will say, "Return to Clinic". Locking the card protects you from someone else finding your card and trying to use it. If the card is locked, you will have to return to the New Mexico WIC clinic to get it unlocked. If you have forgotten your PIN number, you will need to return to the clinic with the card in order to select a new PIN number.
What if my card is lost or stolen?
If your card is lost or stolen, call your local WIC clinic to report it. They will place the card on a "Hot Card" list. No one will be able to use your lost card unless they know your PIN number. Only tell people you trust as your alternate shoppers. You will have to wait five business days to receive a new card at your local WIC clinic. At this point your remaining food benefits will be placed on the new card, you will select a PIN number and you will be able to use your new New Mexico eWIC Card at the grocery store.
If I do not agree with my Food Package, what should I do?
The amount you receive in your food package is set by the New Mexico WIC Program and cannot be changed by the store cashier. You cannot purchase more than the amount of food benefits placed on your card. If you have a question about the food items on the card, please contact your 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 New Mexico WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, NM 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 New Mexico 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
New Mexico 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 NM 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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 NM 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 New Mexico 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 NM WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local New Mexico WIC program that manages these benefits and services.