Applying For New York WIC

New York WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the New York 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 York 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 York 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 NY 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 New York WIC program offers:

  • Nutrition Education
  • Breastfeeding Support
  • Referrals
  • Nutritious Foods

New York WIC Application

To start the application process for NY WIC benefits you will need to contact your local WIC clinic and schedule an appointment. Or if you prefer, you can call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline and they can assist you with finding a WIC clinic near you at 800-522-5006. Please note, each person applying for New York WIC benefits must go to the local agency to apply and be present at the time of application. Please note, you will need to meet the New York WIC Income Guidelines.

New York WIC Appointment

You need to bring the following information with you to your appointment:

Proof of Income
Bring one proof of income for everyone in your household such as:

  • NYS Medicaid common benefits identification card (CBIC) or Medicaid Managed Care plan card with a CIN (Client Identification Number) for each person applying for WIC
  • SNAP notice of decision/budget letter with dates listing all household members
  • TANF notice of decision listing all household members
  • All pay stubs/direct deposit stubs (past 30 days) for every working household member
  • Alimony/child support
  • Worker's compensation
  • Unemployment benefits/disability
  • Bank statement
  • Use of savings or cash income
  • Verification of Certification (VOC) card (for participants transferring)
  • Income tax record for self-employed
  • Letter of support regarding any
  • Other income
  • Written statement from employer
  • Leave and Earnings Statement (L & E) (military only)
  • Social Security
  • Pension
  • Statement of interest/dividends/Royalties
  • Foster care stipend (If Medicaid is not available)
  • If you have no income, you will need to sign a statement

WIC Participant
Bring one proof that you are one of the people served by WIC:

For pregnant women:

  • Completed and signed WIC Medical Referral form
  • Dated and signed health care provider statement with expected date of delivery
  • Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility Screening Form completed and signed by the health care provider
  • An ultrasound picture with a date and mom's name
  • Breastfeeding moms and moms with an infant younger than 6 months:
  • Completed and signed WIC Medical Referral form
  • Dated and signed statement from a health care provider
  • Dated hospital discharge papers

Infants and children:

  • Completed and signed WIC Medical Referral form
  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal record
  • Hospital or health care provider's record

Proof of Identification
Bring one proof of who you are:

  • Photo ID card
  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal record
  • Citizenship document
  • Court document
  • Current WIC ID card
  • Health care provider or shot record
  • Hospital record/infant crib card/hospital ID bracelet
  • Mexican Matricula Consular ID card
  • Voter registration card
  • Social Security card

Proof of Residency
Bring one current proof of where you live:

  • Current rent or mortgage document
  • Current pay stub with address
  • Letter from shelter/house of worship/social services on their letterhead
  • Letter or statement from federal, state or local municipal agency
  • Photo ID with current address
  • Mail with recent postmark, household name and street address
  • Forms you may need for your appointment

At your New York WIC appointment expect a nutrition counselor to focus on your needs and concerns. All information shared with the WIC staff is confidential. The local WIC agency will ask you for documents that prove who you are, where you live, proof you participate in other assistance programs and proof of income from each member in your household that works. All documents given to them will be returned. They will also ask for your race and ethnicity. This information is strictly for record keeping purposes only and does not affect your eligibility for New York WIC benefits.

The WIC staff will conduct a short health screening for all family members applying for NY WIC. This screening includes a finger stick blood test, height and weight, and a discussion of your health and nutrition concerns.

WIC staff will determine which food packages are right for you and your children. If you choose not to breastfeed, your infant will be provided one of the formulas on the New York State WIC Approved Formulas list. You may need to get a WIC Medical Documentation Form completed by your health care provider if you or your children have special nutritional needs. You will receive:

  • WIC food checks for each household member certified to use like checks at authorized WIC stores
  • A WIC Acceptable Foods booklet, which lists all the foods and specific package sizes that you can purchase
  • A WIC ID Card, which lists the names of everyone in the household on WIC
  • Referrals to appropriate programs and services
  • Breastfeeding support
  • WIC Participant Rights and Responsibilities

You will be able to authorize someone else to bring your children to WIC appointments or pick up your WIC food checks. It is important to choose someone you trust, such as a spouse or partner or grandparent.

New York eWIC System

New York plans to convert all WIC participants to use the eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouchers with a New York WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. This allows you to purchase WIC approved foods at your local grocery store where you would give your card to the cashier at checkout. From there the cashier will swipe your NY WIC EBT Card like a normal credit or debit card and their POS system will deduct the amount from your current WIC balance. Also, each month, instead of visiting your local WIC clinic to get more paper checks or vouchers, your New York WIC EBT Card will be automatically refilled electronically. Not everyone has access to the eWIC system, the roll out schedule is listed below:

Area Roll Out Date
Capital Region Spring - Fall 2018
Central Region Fall 2018
Western Region Fall 2018
Lower Hudson Valley Winter 2018 - 2019
Long Island Winter 2019
Bronx & Brooklyn Winter 2019
Manhattan Spring 2019
Queens & Staten Island Spring 2019

How do I get WIC benefits on my WIC account?
At your WIC appointment, the staff will add your benefits to your family's eWIC account. You will get a list of your family's WIC benefits for the next three months. The list will have start and end dates for your benefits.

Can I turn in my paper checks for an eWIC card?
At your first WIC appointment following the eWIC rollout in your region, you will be given an NY eWIC card. At that time, you should turn in any remaining paper checks. You will not be able to turn your paper checks before that.

Who should I contact if I have trouble with my eWIC card?
You can use the following options to get help with your NY eWIC card:

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 New York WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, NY 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 York 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 York 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 NY 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 York 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 York 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 NY 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 New York 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 NY WIC program.

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

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