March 31, 2020 COVID-19 update from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD):
- WIC has changed operations to promote social distancing. To apply for WIC, call 1-800-WIC-WINS (942-0467) or apply at pa.wic.com. All Intake appointments will be completed through Zoom. WIC cards will be mailed out to new recipients.
- To help WIC meet the needs of all applicants, it is recommended that you do NOT contact WIC via phone after your application has been submitted UNLESS you are returning the agency’s call.
- Current recipients will complete their appointments by phone, and then will be told which locations they can go to to have their WIC SmartCard reloaded. When coming to have your card reloaded, please:
- Leave your children at home to reduce their risk of exposure
- Stay at home if you are feeling sick. A proxy may be added over the phone to pick up benefits.
All other WIC offices will be closed during this time; however, WIC staff will be able to provide consultation over the phone. If you have any additional questions call 412-350-5801 or see ACHD’s website for more details.
If you urgently need formula or diapers, you can find agencies that can assist on this resource map: tinyurl.com/pghfoodmap. The orange circles signify formula/diaper distribution sites. If you click those circles closest to where you live, you’ll get location and phone number information. Please note that supply is very limited and these centers are NOT currently open, so it is critical that you CALL the center first, check availability, and set up a time for pick-up or delivery.
What is WIC?
The supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a federal program that provides:
WIC is for:
- Infants and Children up to 5 years of age, including foster children
- Pregnant women
- Women who recently had a baby, up to 6 months after birth
- Breastfeeding women, up to 1 year after birth
A custodial father, foster parent or legal guardian of a child up to age 5 may receive WIC for that child. USA citizenship is not required.
What foods will I get on the WIC Program?
Your WIC food package will include items on Pennsylvania’s WIC Approved Food List. This includes:
- Dairy items such as milk, cheese, or yogurt
- Soy products like tofu or soy milk
- Whole grains such as bread, tortillas, or oats
- Peanut butter
- Fruit and Vegetables
- Infants also receive: Iron-fortified formula, infant cereal, and jarred fruits and vegetables. Infants who are breast-fed can receive jarred meats instead of formula.
- Breastfeeding women, whose babies do not get formula from WIC, receive canned tuna, salmon, or sardines in addition to larger amounts of the other WIC foods.
- You will also get vouchers you can redeem at farmers markets for more fruits and vegetables!
You can buy WIC foods at any Pennsylvania grocery store that participates in the WIC Program. WIC foods help stretch your food dollars. Each person on WIC receives about $78.00 a month worth of food.
How do I use my WIC benefits?
As of July 2019, WIC recipients recieve their benefits on a smart card. You will need to save your most recent receipt which will list which WIC items you still have available for the month. Unlike SNAP, your WIC benefits will not roll over into the next calendar month!
If you have a smart phone, using the WIC shopper app can help you save a photo of your most recent receipt, scan items in the store to see if they are on the WIC approved list (though they may not be in your particular WIC package), and find your nearest WIC participating store.
To qualify for WIC in Pennsylvania:
- Your family must meet the income guidelines, which are higher than the guidelines for food stamps;
- If you or your child is on Medical Assistance, Food Stamps, or TANF you automatically meet WIC income guidelines.
- You must reside in Pennsylvania.
- The child or pregnant/postpartum mother you are applying for must meet medical or nutritional risk criteria.
- Risks include being underweight, being overweight, premature birth, pregnancy complications, and others.
- The person at the WIC interview will help you figure out which risks apply during your first appointment.
How do I apply for WIC?
- You can start with this pre-application online or call 1-800-WIC-WINS to be connected to the nearest WIC office to schedule an appointment. Or, you can ask your OB/GYN or the child’s pediatrician to complete an application during your appointment and send it into the WIC office. Applications can be found on the page.
- You can visit PAWIC.com to view the list of required items that will help you prepare for your appointment.
- During the appointment WIC benefits will be explained to you and how to use them. If you have dietary restrictions or needs, that will also be discussed so you can make some substitutions in your WIC package.
What happens once I receive WIC?
- You or your proxy will need to go to the office once every three months in person to have benefits loaded onto your card.
- You will need to recertify once a year.
- Your child can continue to receive WIC benefits until they turn 5 years old or you no longer qualify.