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Frequently Asked Questions

What is WIC?

  • Quality nutrition services are the centerpiece of WIC
    • nutrition and breastfeeding education
    • nutritious foods, and
    • health care access for low and moderate income women and children with, or at risk of developing, nutrition related health problems.
       
  • For over 40 years, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has an extraordinary record of preventing children’s health problems and improving their health, growth and development.  Locally, Spokane Regional Health District supports this vision by offering WIC  services in several convenient locations.
     
  • WIC’s committed, results-oriented, and entrepreneurial staff stretch resources to serve all eligible women and children while ensuring program effectiveness and integrity.  WIC children enter school ready to learn and show better cognitive performance.

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WIC Eligibility

  • Who is eligible and who can apply?
    • Pregnant women
    • Women who are breastfeeding a baby under 1 year of age
    • Women who have had a baby in the past six months
    • Parents, step-parents, guardians, and foster parents of infants and children under the age of 5 can apply for their children
    • If you have a job or if you have private health insurance, you can still apply for WIC. You do not have to be married to apply for WIC.
       
  • For more eligibility requirements, see below.
    • You or your child must be a Washington state resident
       
    • To be eligible on the basis of income, applicants’ income must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines (currently $44,955 for a family of four). 

      A person who participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, automatically meets the income eligibility requirement.

Income Guidelines for WIC
(Effective April 2016)
Number of
people in your
household*
Maximum annual
income to
qualify
Maximum monthly
income to
qualify
2 $29,637 $2,470
3 $37,296 $3,108
4 $44,955 $3,747
5 $52,614 $4,385
6 $60,273 $5,023
7 $67,951 $5,663


*If you are pregnant, include each unborn child in household size.

 

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What about fathers?

  • Fathers of children under the age of 5 are encouraged to enroll their children in the WIC program.  Just like any other parent or guardian, fathers can bring their children to appointments, attend nutrition classes, and receive and redeem benefits for their children.  Active participation by fathers is a great help in keeping WIC children healthy.

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How do I apply for WIC?

  • Applying has never been easier.   
  • Call or visit one of our local offices.

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How do I find a WIC clinic?

  • There are 10 WIC locations throughout Spokane County to serve you—six operated by Spokane Regional Health District and four operated by West Central Community Center.  Click this link to find a location nearest you.

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What happens at a WIC visit?

  • You or your child will undergo a simple health screening to determine nutritional risk. You will also receive nutrition education and will be provided with vouchers to take to the grocery store to buy nutritious foods.

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What is included in the WIC shopping guide?

  • WIC foods include infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans/peas, and canned fish.
     
  • Also, soy-based beverages, tofu, fresh fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole wheat bread, and other whole-grain options were recently added to better meet the nutritional needs of WIC participants. 
     
  • WIC recognizes and promotes breastfeeding as the optimal source of nutrition for infants.  For women who do not fully breastfeed, WIC provides iron-fortified infant formula.  Special infant formulas and medical foods may be provided when prescribed by a physician for a specified medical condition.


View the WIC shopping guide

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How do I use WIC checks?

  • The following rules apply to WIC checks and WIC fruit and vegetable checks:
    • Use your checks on or between the first and last day to use.
    • Use a check only if your name is printed below the signature box.
    • Shop only at approved stores. Look for the “WIC Checks Accepted Here” signs.
    • Buy the amounts and types of foods listed on your checks.
    • Separate your WIC foods by check and from other items you are buying.
    • Let the checker know you are using WIC checks before you begin your purchase.
    • Sign the check only after the checker sees your ID and writes in the amount.
       
  • These additional rules apply only to WIC fruit and vegetable checks:
    • If more than one person in your family gets WIC fruit and vegetable checks, you can use them together.
      • Example:  You can combine a $8 WIC fruit and vegetable check with an $11 WIC fruit and vegetable check to pay for $21 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables in one visit.
    • If your purchase costs more than the amount on the WIC fruit and vegetable check, you are allowed to pay the extra amount.
      • Example:  If the purchase costs $9, and you are using a $8 WIC fruit and vegetable check, you can pay the extra $1 to cover the cost.
    • If your purchase costs less than the amount on the WIC fruit and vegetable check, you are not allowed to receive money back.
    • Remember:  Produce scales and register scales can weigh differently.  Please be prepared to either pay the extra amount or to put a produce item back should your produce go over the dollar amount at the register.

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What stores accept WIC?

  • All major grocery stores and superstores, along with one healthy corner store, accept WIC food checks in Spokane County.  These stores include: 
    • Albertsons
    • Fred Meyer
    • Rosauers
    • Safeway
    • Trading Company
    • Walmart
    • Winco
    • Yokes
    • Parkside Grocery – a Spokane Healthy Corner Store

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What are the health effects of WIC?

  • Pregnant women on WIC:
    • Have a better diet.
    • Get into prenatal care earlier in pregnancy.
    • Have fewer premature babies.
    • Have fewer low and very low birth-weight babies.
    • Experience fewer fetal and infant deaths.
       
  • Children on WIC:
    • Have a better diet.
    • Are more likely to have normal childhood growth.
    • Have less childhood anemia.
    • Have better immunization rates.
    • Have better access to pediatric health care.
    • Have increased vocabulary and memory scores.
       
  • Cost benefits of WIC:
    • Every WIC dollar used to serve pregnant women saves $1.92 to $4.21 in Medicaid costs.
    • WIC reduces the rate of very low birth-weight babies by 44%. It costs between $30,000 and $70,000 to raise a low or very low birth-weight baby to normal weight.
       
  • For more information on “How WIC Helps,” click here.

 

What support does WIC offer for breastfeeding?

  • Research has shown that there is no better food than breast milk for a baby’s first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional, economical and emotional benefits to mother and baby. Since a major goal of the WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, WIC mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their infants. WIC has historically promoted breastfeeding to all pregnant women as the optimal infant feeding choice, unless medically contraindicated.
     
  • WIC mothers choosing to breastfeed are provided information through counseling and breastfeeding educational materials.
     
  • Breastfeeding mothers receive prenatal and post partum support through peer counselors.
     
  • Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers.
     
  • Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their infants receive an enhanced food package.
     
  • Breastfeeding mothers may be eligible to receive a breast pump to help support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.

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How does WIC work with farmers markets?

Coupons

  • Eligible WIC participants in Spokane County are issued Farmers Markets Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons in addition to their regular WIC benefits.  These coupons can be used to buy eligible foods from farmers, farmers' markets or roadside stands that have been approved accept FMNP coupons.  The farmers, farmers’ markets or roadside stands then submit the coupons to the bank or Washington State Department of Health (DOH) for reimbursement. 

Nutrition Education

  • Nutrition education is provided to FMNP recipients by the local WIC clinic staff.  Other program partners may provide nutrition education and/or educational information to FMNP recipients.  For example, Washington State University Cooperative Extension Programs may provide nutrition education to FMNP recipients directly at markets or in the WIC clinic.  These educational arrangements help encourage FMNP recipients to improve and expand their diets by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as educate them on how to select, store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables they buy with their FMNP coupons.

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Is WIC an entitlement program?

  • WIC is not an entitlement program; i.e., Congress does not set aside funds to allow every eligible individual to participate in the program. Instead, WIC is a Federal grant program for which Congress authorizes a specific amount of funding each year for program operations.

    The Food and Nutrition Service, which administers the program at the federal level, provides these funds to WIC state agencies (in this case, Washington State Department of Health) to pay for supplemental WIC foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and administrative costs for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. 

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What if I have a complaint?

We value your feedback and concerns.  Please click this link to share with us.

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Who administers WIC locally?

  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides federal grants to states to administer WIC, which provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. 

    Washington State Department of Health then contracts with local agencies throughout the state to administer the WIC program.  In Spokane County there are two local agencies receiving federal funds to operate WIC:  Spokane Regional Health District, who operates 6 locations, and West Central Community Center, who operates 4 additional locations.

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  1. What is WIC?
  2. Who is eligible and who can apply?
  3. What about fathers?
  4. How do I apply for WIC?
  5. How do I find a WIC clinic?
  6. What happens at a WIC visit?
  7. What is included in the WIC shopping guide?
  8. How do I use WIC checks?
  9. What stores accept WIC?
  10. What are the health effects of WIC?
  11. What support does WIC offer for breastfeeding?
  12. How does WIC work with farmers markets?
  13. Is WIC an entitlement program?
  14. What if I have a complaint?
  15. Who administers WIC locally?

SRHD is an equal opportunity provider. Washington WIC does not discriminate. More Info