Alaska WIC is an assistance program offered to eligible women, children and infants that provides temporary food assistance. Unlike the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Children and Infants program cannot be used to purchase any type of food. Instead, this program offers a list of foods that can be acquired for free each month for the length of time that a family or individual remains on the program. You must contact your local WIC office, if you feel that you may be eligible for the program, and schedule an appointment that must be conducted prior to receiving benefits.
To apply for the WIC program, you must call ahead and schedule an appointment with your local office. Most counties do have clinics where you can apply in person, however, you may also apply by mail if your county does not have a local clinic. For more information on the WIC program in AK, continue reading the sections below.
What are the WIC requirements in Alaska?
Alaska WIC eligibility requirements include residency, income and nutritional risk. To meet WIC qualifications, you will need to:
- Be a resident of Alaska.
- Meet low-income requirements as determined by the federal poverty line.
- A nutrition risk that is based upon a medical or dietary condition, such as anemia, underweight, a history of poor pregnancy or poor diet.
When you submit a WIC application in Alaska, you will be seen by a clinic that supports the program. This appointment will determine whether or not you or any other person you are applying for has a nutritional risk and, therefore, may be eligible to receive benefits.
In addition to WIC eligibility requirements, some Alaska counties may enforce a priority or waiting list system if there is not enough funding to assist everyone who would otherwise be deemed eligible for the program. If this is the case, priority is determined by the age of a child or whether or not a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. Medical conditions that are not nutrition related, such as anemia, underweight, overweight or pre-birth are given a higher priority.
WIC can only be received for a set period of time before you will need to renew or reapply for benefits, if you are still eligible to receive benefits. You will receive a notice from your local office prior to the expiration of your benefits.
How to Apply for WIC in Alaska
If you are wondering how to apply for WIC in Alaska, it is important to know that, generally, applications may only be submitted in person at a local office. WIC online applications are not available at this time, however, you do have the opportunity to print applications online and complete them prior to your appointment in order to expedite your appointment and application process.
If applying for WIC benefits, but you do not have an office in the county that you live in, you may be able to process your application by mail. If there is a local office near you, you will need to either schedule an appointment with your local office or review that office’s walk-in hours.
Find out more about how to apply for WIC benefits by downloading our informative guide.
What can you get with WIC in Alaska?
Alaska WIC benefits provide nutritious food items to women, infants and children that meet eligibility requirements. However, the program does not work in the same way that SNAP (food stamps) does. Rather than receiving a dollar amount of benefits, you will be given a list of foods that you may obtain for free at approved stores statewide. Examples of foods that can often be obtained include the following:
- Infant formula.
- Peanut butter.
- Dried or canned beans.
- Vegetables and fruits.
- Whole grain breads, brown rice and tortillas.
- Baby food.
- Breastfeeding mothers may also obtain additional items such as canned fish and baby food meat as well as additional benefit items.
WIC checks are distributed each month while an individual or family is receiving benefits. Your WIC balance can be viewed at any time. In addition to food-related benefits, you can also receive:
- Nutrition information that is tailored to you.
- Referrals for medical and dental care as well as health insurance, childcare, housing and fuel assistance programs.
- Immunization and health screenings.
- Breastfeeding support and supplies, including items such as manual and electric breast pumps.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Alaska
Your first Alaska WIC appointment will determine your eligibility for benefits. In addition to determining eligibility, you will be provided with further information about the program and the additional benefits that you may be eligible to receive. Therefore, it is important to prepare for the appointment and ensure that you have the required documentation ready.
When applying for WIC, you must be able to provide:
- Proof of income for yourself and child or, alternatively, proof that you receive assistance from another assistance program such as TANF, Medicaid or SNAP.
- Proof of identification for you and your child, such as with a drivers license, identification card, birth certificate, Social Security Card or immunization record.
- Proof of pregnancy, if you are currently pregnant.
- Immunization cards for each child.
Bring children to the WIC office for your appointment as their height and weight must be taken during the appointment. As stated previously, by bringing completed applications, you can hasten your visit at the office.
You can learn more about how to prepare for your WIC appointment by downloading our guide.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Alaska
After applying for WIC in Alaska, you will be provided with further details on the date that you can expect to receive benefits each month. You will receive a voucher that will display the food items that you may purchase, including the quantities of these items. Therefore, you can review the items that you are able to purchase with the voucher with ease.