Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
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Learning about nutrition is one of the most effective tools a parent may have to raise a healthy, happy child. Nutrient rich foods help children grow strong and help brain development – everything a child needs for physical well-being. Unfortunately, not every family has access to nutritious food.
To make sure that every child in the state of Texas has the chance to eat healthy food on a normal basis, the Department of State Health Services has created a food program called the Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC). WIC provides nutrition education, healthy foods, and health care is provided to all eligible Texas residents who apply at no cost.
Am I Eligible for the Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program?
You may be eligible for WIC if you:
- Live in the state of Texas (U.S. citizenship is not required)
- Meet income requirements
- Are pregnant or nursing a child under the age of 1
- Have given birth in the last 6 months
- Parent, Stepparent, or legal guardian to a child under the age of 5
WIC is meant to help those most vulnerable to malnutrition, which is why only pregnant women, women who have just given birth, infants, and young children are potentially eligible. Although fathers are not eligible for nutrition benefits, they are more than welcome to assist their families in the application process and attend nutrition classes provided by WIC so that they can learn how to help keep their family healthy.
To meet the income requirements to receive WIC, the household income must be 185 percent or less of the federal poverty line. Families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid will definitely meet the income requirement. However, enrollment in any of these programs are not required, and families with private health insurance may still be eligible.
Families looking to receive WIC also must be at nutritional risk. During the application process, nutritional risk will be assessed by a medical professional at the WIC clinic. Nutritional risk generally falls under 2 categories:
- Medical-based risk
- Diet-based risk
Medical based risk includes any medical condition affected by nutrition. Examples include iron deficiency, being underweight, and high risk pregnancies. Diet based risks are generally defined as poor eating habits that may negatively affect health, especially in children.
How Do I Get WIC?
To begin the application process for the Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children, all applicants must apply in person. Except for a few special cases, the application for WIC cannot be completed online or over the phone as part of the application includes a health examination. There are WIC clinics all over Texas at the convenience of the applicants.
All eligible families may begin the process of receiving WIC benefits by scheduling an appointment with the WIC clinic for a medical evaluation. Documentation showing sources and amount of income must be brought to determine eligibility. A tax return, pay stub, or general accounting records are all acceptable documents. If you are enrolled in an income-based social program like SNAP or Medicaid, you only need to bring proof of enrollment.
Proof of address also must be brought to begin the application process, as well as identification documentation for each applicant. Hospital records, immunization forms, or a birth certificate are all suitable documentation to bring in behalf of a child.
Each applicant will receive a health examination to determine diet or medical-based risk. Weight, height, iron levels, and overall health will be assessed. If the examiner decides that the applicant is eligible for nutrition assistance, the applicant will get information on where to get nutrition education and food benefits.
The Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children provides several benefits that will improve and maintain family health.
Women who are nursing will receive education on why breastfeeding is nutritionally advantageous to babies and how to breastfeed correctly. Nursing women will also receive special food packages that enhance the nutrients in breast milk.
All beneficiaries will obtain food packages curated just for their families each month. A voucher for healthy, nutrient rich food will be issued for use at the grocery store. WIC approved foods generally include foods rich in vitamin C and/or iron, fruits, vegetables, juices, and lean proteins.
Apply for WIC Today
The benefits to better nutrition can improve a family’s life drastically. Great nutrition habits can improve cognitive health in children, promote a healthy weight, and improve birth conditions for pregnant women.
If you think that you or someone you know is eligible for the Texas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children program, apply today!