Applying For Vermont WIC
Vermont WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Vermont 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 Vermont 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 Vermont 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 VT 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.
Vermont WIC Eligibility
To be eligible for Vermont WIC program you must meet the following requirements:
The Vermont WIC program serves certain categories of women, infants, and children. You are eligible for Vermont WIC if you or the person you are applying for is:
- A Pregnant woman (during pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after the birth of an infant or the end of the pregnancy)
- A Postpartum woman (up to six months after the birth of the infant or the end of the pregnancy)
- A Breastfeeding woman (up to the infant's first birthday)
- An Infant (up to the infant's first birthday)
- A Child (up to the child's fifth birthday)
You must currently live in Vermont. The WIC residency requirement does not require you to have lived in Vermont for a certain amount of time before you can apply. Examples of proof of residency include:
- Copy of current lease or rental contract
- Utility bill
- Vermont Driver’s License
WIC serves families with low to medium incomes. The Vermont WIC Income Guidelines are based on 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines. If you have Medicaid/Dr.Dynasaur, 3SquaresVT or Reach-Up, you are automatically income-eligible for WIC in Vermont based on their participation requirements. Examples of proof of income include:
- Current pay statement
- Active Medicaid/Dr.Dynasaur insurance
- Income Tax Return
- If you do not receive income, you may complete an affidavit stating that you do not receive income
Nutrition Risk Requirement
Nutrition risks are medical-based or dietary-based conditions. Examples of medical-based conditions include anemia (low blood levels of iron), underweight, or history of poor pregnancy outcome. Dietary-based conditions may include consuming a diet too low in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and key food groups.
Vermont WIC Application
To get the application process started for Vermont WIC benefits, you need to contact your local Health Department and schedule an appointment for an in-person visit. Bring any children you are applying for, identification for family members applying, and income and residency proof to your appointment.
Vermont WIC Appointment
At your appointment the WIC staff will:
Review and document your income, identification and proof of residency.
Review Program Rules
Review Program Rules, Participant Rights and Responsibilities.
Weight and Height
Weigh and measure each family member applying for Vermont WIC. if you have current height and weight measurements completed by your primary care physician or nurse, you may bring them to your WIC appointment, or your doctor’s office may fax them to the clinic.
Screen for Anemia
WIC screens for anemia during your pregnancy, after the birth of your baby, at your child's 12 month and 18 month visits, and then yearly. They offer a sensory test for anemia screening (no finger stick/blood required) for ages 2 and up.
The WIC staff will also talk with you about your nutrition interests and goals. Share nutrition resources to help you reach your nutrition goals. Issue food benefits and provide your eWIC Card and shopping information. Connect you with other health and community services. Choose your nutrition education activity and schedule your next WIC appointment. You must participate in a nutrition education activity between appointments for tri-monthly food benefits to be added to your eWIC account.
Renew Vermont WIC Benefits
To keep your Vermont WIC food benefits active, you will need to connect with WIC four times a year. The first visit is a WIC certification appointment, followed by a nutrition education activity. This cycle continues about every 6 months. Your food benefits will be issued about every 3 months; after your in-person appointments and after nutrition education. There are three basic types of WIC Nutrition Education activities:
- Group Activities for you and/or your child
- Online Learning at WICHealth.org
- Personal Nutrition Counseling
Be sure to complete one of these WIC-approved activities between your appointments. Completing an activity on schedule ensures your food benefits will be added to your account. Quarterly WIC nutrition education activities can be found through your Local Health Office.
Vermont eWIC System
Vermont uses the eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouchers with a Vermont WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. This allows you to purchase WIC approved foods at your local grocery store. At checkout you would hand the cashier your eWIC card and they will swipe it like a normal debit or credit card. From there the POS system will deduct the amount from your current WIC balance. Also, instead of having to go to your local WIC clinic each month to get more paper checks or vouchers, your VT WIC EBT Card is automatically refilled electronically.
Activate Your Vermont WIC EBT Card
When you receive your eWIC card, sign the back and set up your 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). You will need your eWIC card number, your date of birth, and your zip code. There are two ways to set up your PIN:
- Call WIC EBT Customer Service at 855-769-8890, or
- Visit the WIC EBT website at ConnectEBT.com and choose Vermont WIC from the drop down menu on the cardholder portal
- You must create a username and password to set up your account
Check Vermont WIC EBT Card Balance
At the beginning of each month, the full amount of food for each family member will be available. If you and your child both have a food package, the family food benefit list will show the total amount of food for each month that benefits have been issued. To check your balance throughout the month, you can:
- Call WIC EBT Customer Service at 855-769-8890
- Check balance online at ConnectEBT.com
- Check the ending balance on your receipt after making a WIC foods purchase
- Check your beginning balance at your grocery store's customer service desk before you shop. Ask for a balance inquiry, slide your card through the card reader and ask for the print out showing your current balance
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 Vermont WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, VT 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 Vermont 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
Vermont 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 VT 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 Vermont 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 Vermont 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 VT 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 Vermont 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 VT WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Vermont WIC program that manages these benefits and services.