WIC now available to people with higher incomes

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the income limits have been raised for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program  for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as of June 1.

WIC provides nutritious food benefits–such as fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, whole grain cereals and more–to support maternal and child health. Additionally, approximately half of all infant formula in the United States is purchased with WIC. The program is open to participants with incomes up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Under the 2022 federal poverty guidelines, more families may be eligible for the program.

The new income eligibility guidelines are available through the ADPH website at www.alabamapublichealth.gov/wic/.

Women who are pregnant, have had a child within the past six months or are currently breastfeeding are eligible to apply for the WIC program through their local county health department or WIC agency. Parents/guardians of children up to the age of five are also eligible.

Families that receive Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) already meet the income qualifications. Even families that do not qualify for these programs may be eligible for WIC thanks to the new higher income limits.

Those that participate in WIC may receive food benefits for each qualifying family member. There are also increased cash value benefits available for buying fresh fruits and vegetables.

Alabama’s program now provides electronic food benefits, making the shopping experience much easier. In addition to food benefits, other program benefits include free nutrition education, breastfeeding support and healthcare referrals.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and SNAP-Ed departments within Alabama Extension provide programs and education to support individuals who receive WIC benefits.

Through interactive, hands-on nutrition education lessons, EFNEP helps participants gain vital knowledge and skills to manage their food resources, keep their food safe and prepare nutritious meals on a limited budget. Local SNAP-Ed educators provide nutrition education in settings like food pantries, grocery stores and schools. They also work with community partners to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity.

“The increase in eligibility for WIC will help many families in Alabama,” said, Katie Funderburk, Alabama Extension SNAP-Ed coordinator. “SNAP-Ed will continue to help those families shop and cook healthy meals on a budget and lead healthy, active lives.”

For more info about Alabama EFNEP, visit Alabama Extension's website here. Find more info about Alabama SNAP-Ed at www.LiveWellAlabama.com.

By Dustin Duncan
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

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