Applying For Texas WIC
Texas WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Texas Department of State Health 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 Texas 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 Texas 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 TX 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.
Texas WIC program provides:
- Healthy food
- One-on-one counseling with nutritionists
- Recipes & cooking demonstrations
- Nutrition classes
- Breastfeeding support
Texas WIC benefits are for:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women
- Women who had a baby within the last six months
- Children up to their 5th birthday
Texas WIC Eligibility
If you are on Medicaid, TANF, or SNAP, you meet the income eligibility guidelines for WIC. If you don’t qualify for these programs, you may still qualify for WIC by meeting the Texas WIC Income Guidelines for your household.
You must live in Texas. You do not have to be a US citizen to be part of the Texas WIC program. Apply in person to learn if you are eligible.
Texas WIC Application
To get the application process started for TX WIC benefits you need to call your local WIC office and schedule an appointment. Or if you need help finding an office, call 800-942-3678.
Texas WIC Appointment
Your WIC appointment includes a visit with a nutrition expert to help determine your eligibility. WIC will measure, weigh and check the iron level of each family member applying for WIC in Texas and answer any questions you may have about health and nutrition. You need to bring the following items to your appointment:
Each person applying for WIC
Each Person Applying for Texas WIC must come to the clinic for their appointment. Please bring an extra diaper for infants and toddlers because they need to be weighed in a clean, dry diaper.
Proof of identification
If you are on WIC bring the Texas WIC EBT card and identification for any new family members applying for WIC. If you are not on WIC bring identification for yourself and each person applying for WIC. Any of the IDs listed below are acceptable:
- Medicaid, SNAP, or TANF form/letter
- Driver's license
- Social Security card
- Foster placement letter
- Picture ID (school, employee, or official)
- Military ID
- Passport or immigration records
- Immunization record
- Birth certificate
- Crib card, hospital discharge papers, or hospital ID bracelet
Proof of residency
Bring one of the following with your name, street address, city, state, and zip code. WIC cannot accept PO boxes as proof of residence.
- Medicaid, SNAP, or TANF form / letter
- Utility (light, water, or phone) or credit card bill
- Foster placement letter
- Business letter
- Rent receipts, agreement, or a letter from the landlord
- Letter from a homeless shelter
If you live with someone and do not receive mail at their address, bring a signed letter from the person you live with stating their name, address, and phone number, and a document such as a light, water, phone, or credit card bill addressed to the person who signed the letter.
Proof of income
Complete a WIC Income Questionnaire before your WIC appointment so you will know what to bring for proof of income. If you do not have this form, you can complete one at the WIC clinic. Bring all sources of income. Examples include:
- Medicaid, SNAP, or TANF form or letter
- Paycheck stubs dated within 30 calendar days of your appointment
- Social Security benefits statement
- Tax return IRS 1040
- Unemployment insurance benefit statement
- Child support
- Worker's compensation statement
- Retirement income statement
- If you receive financial support from someone who lives outside of your household, bring a signed and dated letter from the person or social service giving support with their name and the amount and type of support given
Immunization Records for infants and children, if available. WIC staff will screen immunization records and refer your family to a provider if needed.
At your WIC appointment expect the staff to:
- Look at your proof of income for your household
- Ask a few questions about your family's health and nutrition habits
- Weigh, measure, and check iron status for you (if pregnant) or your child
If they determine you qualify for Texas WIC benefits, you'll get a food package specially designed to meet your needs, and a Texas WIC card to use at the grocery store. It keeps track of your WIC food benefits and works just like a debit card. If you have any questions or have a special situation, call or go by the office before your appointment so they may assist you.
How long can I use Texas WIC Benefits?
If you meet the income and nutrition requirements:
- Infants and children can stay on WIC until they turn 5
- Women who are pregnant receive WIC food benefits until the end of their pregnancy
- Women who are fully or partially breastfeeding receive WIC food benefits until their baby is 1-year-old
- Women who are mostly or only formula feeding receive WIC food benefits until their baby is 6-months-old
Can fathers apply for the Texas WIC program?
Fathers of infants and children younger than 5 can enroll their children in the TX WIC program. Just like any other parent or guardian, fathers can bring their children to appointments, attend nutrition classes and get benefits for their children.
Texas eWIC System
Texas uses the eWIC system. This replaces the paper checks and vouchers with a Texas WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. This allows you to purchase WIC approved food items at your local grocery store. At checkout you would give the cashier your eWIC card and they will swipe it like a normal debit or credit card. From there their POS system will deduct the amount from your current WIC balance. Also, instead of having to visit your local WIC clinic each month to get new paper checks or vouchers, your benefits are automatically loaded electronically onto your TX WIC EBT Card.
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 Texas WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, TX 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 Texas 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
Texas 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 TX 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 Texas 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 Texas 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 TX 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 Texas 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 TX WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Texas WIC program that manages these benefits and services.