3 things that WIC can do for you
Pregnancy should be a beautiful part of a woman’s life. The beginning or expansion of a family. Bringing a tiny life into the world should be a time of celebration and joy. Family is precious and no one should be forced to worry about whether the mother will have enough food to eat or if the child will get the nutritional food necessary to grow big and strong.
Unfortunately, with the economy in the shape it is in. Concerns about proper nutrition and feeding have become all too common for many women. When you cannot afford the proper food and formula on your own, the government has a program that can help you.
What is WIC?
The WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) program is a short-term federal assistance supplement designed to help low-income families during the formative stages of a child’s growth. Pregnant women and children up to five years old are eligible.
The benefits are usually provided through an EBT card and can be used to buy specific foods and formula for infants and children. Starting the program when you are pregnant will help women eat nutritionally to assist the baby in its prenatal state.
The WIC program also helps children get and record their immunizations. Keeping your children healthy and free from immunizable diseases is a major advantage for families who are on the WIC program.
What can WIC do for you?
Depending on your economic status, the primary benefit of using WIC is access to good, nutritional food for your family. Children and mothers are all at nutritional risk during pregnancy and early childhood. The less money available for food, the harder it is to have wholesome meals.
WIC also helps families afford formula for babies. For non-breastfeeding mothers, formula can be one of the most expensive aspects of taking care of babies. If you are unable or unwilling to breastfeed, it can conceivably cost over $1,000 in the first year for formula alone.
WIC also partners with other organizations to immunize children. They will help you get your child immunized and maintain records of that immunization. The WIC program has stretched to include child and family wellbeing which includes making sure that the children are shielded from immunizable diseases
Meeting the qualifications
Since the WIC program is designed for low-income families, there are qualifications you must meet:
- You must be a pregnant woman or have children under the age of five.
- Your family can’t make over 185 percent of the yearly poverty level.
- You must sign up, in person, for your benefits.
Although the restrictions are not difficult, dealing with entrenched bureaucracy can be both intimidating and stressful. There are many organizations, in most states, that can help you learn and read more about WIC, as well as ease some of the stress, while ensuring that you are qualified.
The WIC program is very similar to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) but for a very specific group of people. The benefits can be combined with SNAP – and will go on the same EBT card – but there are greater restrictions on what can be bought with WIC supplements than what can be purchased with SNAP.
Both programs, however, were designed to ensure that families have enough food to eat even if they are at or in poverty level.