Texas WIC is a supplemental nutrition program that is funded by the federal government. Through this program, low income women, infants and children who qualify can receive a number of benefits, including financial assistance for healthy foods, breastfeeding support, personalized nutrition education and referrals to other social services and health care opportunities that the whole family may qualify for.
Your local WIC office will handle your application for the program. However, before you apply for benefits, it is strongly recommended that you learn more about the benefits that the program provides as well as the eligibility requirements that must be met in order to receive these benefits. The Texas WIC program will only provide assistance to individuals who meet categorical, residency, income and nutritional risk eligibility requirements.
What are the WIC requirements in Texas?
Before wondering, “Where is a Texas WIC office near me?” it is strongly recommended that you review WIC requirements in order to determine whether or not you or your children will qualify for benefits. Texas WIC eligibility is based upon categorical, residency, income and nutrition risk requirements. You may only receive benefits if you are of the following categories of individuals:
- Pregnant women
- Postpartum women who are breastfeeding (up to one year from the birth of the child)
- Postpartum women who are not breastfeeding (up to six months from the date that the pregnancy ended)
- Children who are under the age of five
While WIC qualifications are not extended to fathers and other legal guardians, a guardian may still apply for benefits for a child if that child qualifies for the program.
In the U.S, a WIC program exists in every state as the program is nationally recognized. However, each state handles its own program at a state level, regardless of whether or not the program is federally funded. If you would like to apply for benefits in Texas, you must be a resident of the state. If you are not a resident of Texas, you must apply for benefits through your home state.
One of the prominent WIC eligibility requirements is income. While incomes of various levels are accepted, you cannot make more than the income limit for the program. This income limit is set each year and determined by the current year’s federal poverty line. There are tiers of income limits set for each household size. When determining your household size, it is important to keep in mind that each unborn child will be considered an additional household member. If you receive assistance from Texas programs such as Medicaid, TANF or SNAP, you will automatically meet income eligibility guidelines for the program.
Finally, the last WIC qualification that you should consider is nutritional risk. A nutritional risk must be present in order to receive program benefits, including financial assistance for healthy foods. Your nutritional risk, as well as your age or condition, will also determine the types and amounts of healthy foods that you can purchase. A number of medical and dietary conditions can lead to a nutritional risk, however, such as poor diet, underweight, overweight and anemia.
How to Apply for WIC in Texas
A Texas WIC application can only be submitted by visiting your local office as the state does not allow online, by mail or by fax applications at this time. When learning how to apply for WIC in Texas, it is also important to know that you must contact your local office by phone prior to your visit as most locations will require you to make an appointment.
This initial appointment is a critical step in obtaining WIC assistance as your eligibility will be determined during your visit to your local office. If you are found eligible to receive benefits, you will also receive additional information regarding benefits the program provides, including how to use your benefits and when your beneficiary period will begin.
Our free guide has more information on how to sign up for WIC.
What can you get with WIC in Texas?
Numerous Texas WIC benefits are available to successful applicants that are approved for the program. With WIC, you can receive benefits such as:
- Breastfeeding information, support and encouragement.
- Personalized nutrition education and information.
- Access to a variety of healthy recipes for you and your family to enjoy.
- Financial assistance for nutritious food items that are essential to healthy growth.
- Referrals to other health care and community services that you and your family may qualify for.
Rather than WIC checks, the state of Texas has opted to utilize electronic benefits through a card that can be used in a similar fashion to a debit card. This electronic card provides numerous benefits, including automatic benefits that do not need to be picked up at a local office, faster checkouts and the ability to track benefits in a more convenient way.
When using WIC benefits for the purchase of food, it is important to review your authorized food package list. Each beneficiary will be given a list of foods with varying amounts that can be purchased during each beneficiary period. The types and amounts of foods that you and your qualifying children can receive will vary depending on the age of the children, whether or not you are currently pregnant or whether or not you are breastfeeding. Commonly authorized foods include, but are not limited to:
- Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Breakfast cereal.
- Peanut butter.
- Canned fish.
- Whole grain choices, such as bread, tortillas, brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat pasta.
- Baby food and formula.
- Soy options.
Find out how to apply for WIC and how to use your benefits when you download our helpful guide.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Texas
Your Texas WIC appointment is a prominent step in obtaining benefits from the program if you are deemed eligible. As stated previously, an application for this program can only be submitted in person and, generally, only by appointment. Therefore, it is important to prepare for your appointment by familiarizing yourself with the documentation that you must provide as well as learning what to expect from the application process.
Your Texas WIC office visit will provide you with further information about the program, including benefits and how to use benefits, but your eligibility will also be determined. If you or your child is found eligible to receive benefits, you may be able to receive those benefits the same day that you apply. This initial appointment will typically last about an hour and you will need to bring any children who may qualify for benefits with you to the appointment.
Alongside your WIC application, you will need to provide certain documents that will verify the information that you provide. These documents include:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of income
- Proof of address
When you schedule your appointment, the staff member at your local office will inform you if any additional documents will be needed.
Learn more about how to prepare for your WIC appointment and how to use benefits when you download our helpful guide.
How to Check You WIC Balance in Texas
WIC checks are no longer used in Texas. As stated previously, the state provides electronic benefit cards that can be used similarly to a debit or credit card at any authorized cash registers. Authorized purchases will automatically be deducted from your purchase total and you will be given the option of paying for any remaining balance with a different method of payment.
When using WIC to make a purchase, the cashier will provide you with a receipt that will disclose your remaining food balance. It is important that you do not lose your receipt as this is the simplest way to review your balance and track your benefits. If your receipt is lost, you will need to visit your local office in order to request your latest food balance.