WIC in Maryland is the state’s nutritional assistance program designed to provide benefits to low income pregnant women, postpartum women, infants and children who qualify. Prominent benefits include financial assistance for healthy and nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, referrals to other social services in the community and personalized nutrition education. Your local WIC office will ultimately decide whether or not you are eligible for benefits, but you can still familiarize yourself with these eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application in order to prepare yourself for the application process.
The Maryland WIC program contains categorical, residency, income related and nutrition risk eligibility requirements that must be met before benefits can be issued to an applicant. Once you are ready to submit an application, you will be required to provide your local office with documentation that will support your eligibility and verify the information that you provide on your application.
What are the WIC requirements in Maryland?
Maryland WIC eligibility requirements must be met before you will be approved for the program and begin to receive benefits. In Maryland, WIC qualifications include categorical, residency, income and nutritional risk requirements.
To be eligible for WIC in Maryland, you must meet categorical requirements. Simply put, the program only provides assistance to the following groups of individuals:
- Pregnant women.
- Postpartum women who are breastfeeding, up to one year after the birth of the child.
- Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding, up to six months following the end of a pregnancy.
- Infants and children up to the age of five.
While the WIC program does not provide benefits to fathers and other guardians and caretakers, it is worth knowing that these individuals may still apply for benefits for a qualifying child under five.
WIC is available in every state within the U.S. as the program is nationally recognized. However, in order to receive benefits in Maryland, you must be a resident of the state. Each state governs its own program and it is therefore important that you apply for benefits with your home state.
Before submitting a WIC application, it is worth reviewing income limits associated with the program. These income limits are determined by the size of your household with each unborn child considered an additional household member. Income limits are assessed on an annual basis as limits are determined by the current federal poverty line.
Your WIC office will determine if you meet nutritional risk requirements. Nutritional risk is posed by a condition brought on by a medical or dietary ailment. To receive benefits from the program, a nutritional risk must be present. However, there are a number of conditions that can be considered to pose a nutritional risk, including a history of poor pregnancies, anemia, low birth weight, overweight, underweight and poor diet.
How to Apply for WIC in Maryland
A Maryland WIC application can only be submitted in person by making an appointment with your local office. At this time, by mail and online applications are not accepted. Therefore, it is important to learn more about this initial appointment in order to better prepare yourself for the application process. Your eligibility for the program will be determined during that initial interview and, if found eligible, you may receive benefits the same day as your appointment.
To learn more about the application process, you can download our helpful guide.
What can you get with WIC in Maryland?
Now that you know how to apply for WIC in Maryland, it is worth learning more about program benefits and about eWIC. Numerous WIC benefits are available to approved applicants, including:
- Personalized nutrition education.
- Breastfeeding support and information.
- Referrals to other social services that a family may be eligible for.
- Financial aid for healthy food items that are essential to growth and development.
WIC checks are no longer used in Maryland. Instead, the state has opted to distribute eWIC cards that can be used similarly to a debit card at authorized point of sale terminals. New benefits are distributed monthly without the need to visit a local office, however, benefits will still retain expiration dates. Your nutritional needs will be determined during your initial visit to your local agency, but you may be able to purchase nutritious food items such as:
- Whole grain bread, tortillas and brown rice.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Dried and canned beans and peas.
- Peanut butter.
- Breakfast cereal.
- 100 percent juice.
- Baby food.
- Infant formula.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Maryland
Maryland WIC eligibility will determined at your initial appointment with your local office. As mentioned previously, you can only submit your application by making and attending an appointment with your local office. To be prepared for your WIC appointment, it is important to bring the following:
- Any of your children that may qualify for benefits.
- Proof of income for your entire household.
- Proof of identity for each person that may be eligible for benefits, including children and infants.
- Proof of your residential address.
- Proof of pregnancy, if you are currently pregnant.
- Immunization records for any infant or child applying for benefits.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Maryland
If approved for WIC benefits in Maryland, you will be provided with an eWIC card that can be used for authorized purchases. By preparing for each shopping trip and reviewing your remaining food balance, you will be better prepared and know what to expect at the register. Therefore, it is important to know how to check your balance.
You can find your WIC balance by calling the number displayed on the back of your eWIC card. Alternatively, you can also review the receipt that will be given to you by the cashier after any eWIC purchase. Your receipt will always contain your remaining food balance. As stated previously, benefits will expire, so you are strongly encouraged to use benefits prior to the expiration date.
For more help managing and understanding your WIC benefits, download our free guide.