Applying For Wisconsin WIC

Wisconsin WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Wisconsin Department of 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 WI 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.

All Wisconsin WIC participants receive:

  • Screening for nutrition and health needs
  • Information on how to use WIC foods to improve health
  • Benefits to buy foods that help keep you and your children healthy and strong
  • Referrals to doctors, dentists, and programs like FoodShare, Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus, Wisconsin Works (W-2) and Head Start

Women receive:

  • WIC foods
  • Information on healthy eating during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Help with starting or continuing breastfeeding

Infants receive:

  • Help with starting or continuing breastfeeding
  • Infant formula, if needed
  • Immunization referrals

Children receive:

  • WIC foods
  • Immunization referrals

The health benefits you receive when on the Wisconsin WIC program are:

  • Premature births reduced
  • Low birth weight reduced
  • Long-term medical expenses reduced

Wisconsin WIC Eligibility

To be eligible for WIC benefits in Wisconsin, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a pregnant, breastfeeding or new mother
  • Be an infant up to age one, or
  • Be a child up to age 5
  • Be a resident of Wisconsin
  • Be income eligible. View Wisconsin WIC Income Guidelines
  • Have a health or nutrition need

You may qualify for WI WI benefits if anyone in your family is receiving FoodShare, Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus, Wisconsin Works Program (W2), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

Dads, grandparents, and other caregivers of children under the age of 5 may also sign up kids for WIC. Foster children and Kinship Care recipients under age 5, and foster teens who are pregnant are eligible for WIC in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin WIC Application

To start the application process for Wisconsin WIC benefits, you need to contact your local WIC office and schedule an appointment. To find out more about the Wisconsin WIC program and other programs for which you may be eligible, call toll-free at 800-722-2295. The Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TTY and interpreter services are available.

Wisconsin WIC Appointment

You need to bring the following information to your first WIC appointment:

Proof of identity
Proof of ID for yourself and each child to be certified, such as a driver's license, birth certificate, military identification, tribal identification card, alien card, passport, hospital identification/confirmation of birth (which may include hospital discharge papers, crib card, or wrist band) or passport. If you cannot bring one of these forms of ID, the clinic can explain other acceptable forms of ID.

Proof of address
Proof of where you live, such as a current utility bill with a street address (no PO boxes), rent or mortgage receipt. This is to verify you live in Wisconsin.

Proof of income
Proof of family income such as a letter showing participation in FoodShare, Wisconsin Works Program (W2), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Kinship Care, or Foster Care.

If a family member does not participate in one of these programs, bring proof of all sources of income for the household for the last 30 days, including pay stubs (if you get paid weekly, bring four pay stubs; if you get paid bi-weekly, bring two pay stubs; if you get paid monthly, bring one pay stub). You must also bring proof of income from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), unemployment compensation, and child support.

Proof of pregnancy
Confirmation of your pregnancy, if you are expecting. This may include a statement from your health care provider or an ultrasound including the applicant's name and date. Home pregnancy tests are not allowed.

Infants or children
Bring your infants or children who you want to apply for Wisconsin WIC.

You will be asked to identify your race and ethnicity. This information is for record keeping purposes only and does not affect your eligibility. WIC will not ask about your immigration status. You do not need to be a legal resident of the US to participate in WIC and receive food benefits.

Information shared with the WIC clinic staff is kept confidential. At the clinic trained WIC staff will conduct a health and nutrition screening for all family members applying for Wisconsin WIC benefits. This will include height and weight measurements and may include a finger stick blood test to check the level of iron in your blood. The WIC staff will ask questions and discuss your health and nutrition. At the end of this appointment you will be told if you and your children are eligible for WIC services.

If you are eligible for Wisconsin WIC benefits, you will receive an eWIC card to purchase specific healthy foods at the grocery store. You will continue to have appointments at the WIC clinic about every three months to receive nutrition education, relevant health care referrals, and more food benefits.

Wisconsin eWIC System

Wisconsin uses the eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouchers with a WI WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. You can use your card at checkout when purchasing WIC approved foods at your local grocery store. The cashier will swipe your card like a debit or credit card and their 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 Wisconsin WIC EBT Card will be automatically refilled electronically.

Check Wisconsin WIC EBT Card Balance
To check your WI WIC EBT Card balance you can:

  • Go to the eWIC Customer Service website:
  • Call the eWIC automated phone line at: 877-231-3452

Call your local WIC clinic if:

  • You have questions about WIC foods or amounts
  • You were not able to buy a food that you think is WIC approved
  • Your card is lost, stolen, or damaged
  • You need to unlock your PIN
  • You think your receipt doesn't match what you bought

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 Wisconsin WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, WI 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 Wisconsin 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

Wisconsin 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 WI 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 WI 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 Wisconsin 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 WI WIC program.

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

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