WIC Program in Virginia
It is easy to apply for WIC online in Virginia, also known as the Women, Infants and Children service. When asking, “What is the WIC program?” note that it is somewhat like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Many people refer to WIC as SNAP for women, infants and children, but these are two different programs that provide similar benefits. WIC exists specifically for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or raising children younger than five years of age. The WIC program provides educational resources on healthy eating as well as breastfeeding support and referrals for health appointments. WIC also provides benefits that can be used at grocery stores to buy many of the same nutritious foods allowed in the SNAP program. However, unlike WIC SNAP allows beneficiaries to access a wide variety of foods instead of the basic essentials allowed by WIC. Below, learn how to apply for WIC in Virginia and discover what benefits and services are offered by the program.
WIC Benefits in Virginia
The benefits of WIC in Virginia include nutrition and health resources that are relevant to pregnant women and those raising young children. Specifically, the WIC program is designed to:
- Educate new moms and pregnant women about good nutrition.
- Provide health assessments and counseling for women.
- Allow pregnant women and new moms to buy foods to supplement their diets.
- Provide breastfeeding resources to new moms.
- Refer participants to receive health care and other types of social services.
Who is eligible to apply for WIC in Virginia?
Before submitting a WIC application in Virginia, it is necessary to meet a number of eligibility criteria. To get WIC benefits, there are four main qualifications you need to meet. First, you need to fall into the correct category to apply. This means that you must be pregnant, breastfeeding or raising an infant or child younger than five years of age. Second, you need to meet the residential requirements. SNAP for women, infants and children is only available if you are a resident of Virginia. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to get WIC. Instead, the program is available to anyone who lives in the state and falls into the correct category. Third, you must be at a certain financial threshold in order to receive benefits. The WIC program is only available if you have a low annual, monthly or weekly income. Finally, you need to have a health care professional certify that you or your children are at a nutritional risk. A variety of circumstances can contribute to your nutritional eligibility. Learn more about the WIC qualifications by downloading our detailed guide on social services.
Applying for WIC in Virginia
If you do not know how to apply for WIC in Virginia, there are a variety of resources available. Before applying for WIC, you may want to start by finding your local health department. This will help you locate a WIC office in your area. Most health departments have a few different WIC clinics and offices available nearby, making it easy for you to get in-person assistance. At some point in your application process, you will need to visit a WIC clinic in order to have your nutritional needs assessed. Even if you apply online for WIC, it is necessary to have your nutrition verified in person. Only WIC professionals can verify if you meet the health requirements for WIC acceptance.
You can submit a Virginia application for WIC online or by filling out a form with your local WIC office. Appling for WIC online is a popular option because it allows you to create an account, which makes it easy to finish an application when you have time. When you submit an application for the first time, it is necessary to undergo a certification screening. During the screening, a caseworker will verify your eligibility for food assistance. You must appear at a WIC office in person for this interview regardless of the method you used to apply. When getting benefits for WIC in VA, it is helpful to bring the following items to your appointment:
- A photo ID card.
- Documents proving your Virginia residency
- Statements verifying your income
Learn more about how to apply for WIC in Virginia by reading our guide to public assistance.
How to Use Virginia WIC Benefits
After your Virginia WIC application is processed and a worker screens your eligibility, you will receive a determination of your benefits. If you are ineligible for WIC, SNAP is another program you may apply for. SNAP has somewhat broader eligibility criteria, making it an option for some people who do not qualify for WIC. When you are able to receive WIC, a caseworker will go over a variety of materials with you. This includes a rights and responsibilities form that you must sign. A Virginia WIC benefit manual will also be issued for your reference. WIC funds can either be distributed in the form of vouchers or a benefit card. Once you receive your benefit card or checks, you may use them at retailers who have partnered with WIC. Unlike SNAP, WIC benefits only allow you to purchase very specific foods. Usually, this includes milk, eggs, grains and protein sources, among other staple food groups.