Do You Have To Qualify For WIC

To participate in the WIC program, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements include: being a pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum woman, an infant, or a child under the age of five. You must also meet income guidelines. The income guidelines are based on the federal poverty level. If your family’s income is at or below the federal poverty level, you may be eligible for WIC. You can apply for WIC at your local WIC clinic. The clinic will provide you with an application and help you determine if you are eligible.

WIC Program Eligibility Requirements

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutrition assistance to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, and children under the age of five who are at nutritional risk. To qualify for WIC, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:


Your household income must be at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. You can find your state’s income guidelines on the WIC website.

Nutritional Risk

You must be considered at nutritional risk. This means that you have one or more of the following:

  • Anemia
  • Iron deficiency
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Developmental delays
  • Certain medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS


You must live in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or the Marshall Islands.

Citizenship or Immigration Status

You must be a U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident, or a qualified non-citizen.

Age and Pregnancy Status

To be eligible for WIC, you must meet one of the following criteria:

CategoryEligibility Requirements
Pregnant womenMust be pregnant and at nutritional risk
Postpartum womenMust have given birth within the past six months
Breastfeeding womenMust be breastfeeding and at nutritional risk
InfantsMust be under the age of one year and at nutritional risk
ChildrenMust be between the ages of one and five years and at nutritional risk

If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you can apply for WIC at your local WIC clinic. You will need to provide proof of income, proof of nutritional risk, and proof of residency.

Income Thresholds

To qualify for WIC based on income, your household must meet specific income limits. These limits vary depending on the state or territory you live in and the number of people in your household. Here’s how to determine if you meet the income thresholds:

  • Check the WIC website for your state or territory.
  • Locate the income guidelines for your household size.
  • Compare your household income to the guidelines.

Categorical Eligibility

In some cases, you may be eligible for WIC if you meet certain categorical requirements, regardless of your income. These categories include:

  • Receiving benefits from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Enrolled in Medicaid for pregnant women, infants, or children under 5
  • Living in a household that participates in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
Family SizeIncome Limit

Note that these are just examples, and the actual income limits may vary slightly in different locations. It’s always best to check the WIC website for your state or territory for the most up-to-date information.

Nutritional Risk Assessment Criteria

To qualify for the WIC program, pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum women, infants, and children must meet specific nutritional risk assessment criteria. These criteria are based on factors such as:

  • Dietary intake
  • Growth and development
  • Medical or nutritional history

Dietary Intake Criteria

Nutritional risk due to inadequate dietary intake may be determined by:

  • Low intake of key nutrients, such as iron, calcium, or vitamins A and C
  • Inadequate variety of foods from all food groups
  • Limited access to food due to financial or social barriers

Growth and Development Criteria

Nutritional risk based on growth and development may be determined by:

  • Failure to gain weight or grow in length appropriately
  • Underweight or overweight for age
  • Other signs of growth or developmental delay

Medical or Nutritional History Criteria

Nutritional risk due to medical or nutritional history may be determined by:

  • Premature birth or low birth weight
  • Multiple births
  • Breastfeeding difficulties
  • Chronic health conditions, such as anemia or diabetes
Nutritional Risk Assessment Criteria Table
Dietary Intake
  • Low nutrient intake
  • Inadequate food variety
  • Limited food access
Growth and Development
  • Growth failure
  • Underweight or overweight
  • Developmental delay
Medical or Nutritional History
  • Premature birth
  • Multiple births
  • Breastfeeding difficulties
  • Chronic health conditions

Residency and Immigration Status Requirements for WIC

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Residency Requirements

To be eligible for WIC, you must live in the United States. This includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for WIC. However, you must provide proof of your identity and residency.

Immigration Status Requirements

The following non-citizens are eligible for WIC:

  • Lawful permanent residents
  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Legal temporary residents
  • Undocumented immigrants
Immigration StatusProof of Identity and Residency
Lawful permanent residentGreen card
RefugeeRefugee documentation
AsyleeAsylum documentation
Legal temporary residentWork permit or student visa
Undocumented immigrantBirth certificate or other proof of identity and residency

If you are an undocumented immigrant, you may have to provide additional documentation, such as a utility bill or a letter from a community organization.

To find out if you are eligible for WIC, you can contact your local WIC agency. You can find a list of WIC agencies on the WIC website.

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope this article has been helpful in clearing up any confusion about WIC eligibility. If you have any further questions or concerns, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider or local WIC office. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back soon for more informative articles like this one! In the meantime, stay healthy and take care of yourselves!