More families may be eligible for WIC benefits

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – New federal poverty guidelines were recently released, and more families could qualify for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, commonly known as WIC.

The Alabama Department of Public Health encourages women who are pregnant, had a baby in the last six months, currently breastfeeding, or are parents or guardians of a child as old as five to apply at their local county health department or WIC agency.

ADPH said participants in the program receive free nutrition education and breastfeeding peer counseling support, along with an option to receive up to three months of food benefits at a time for each qualified family member.

Additionally, Alabama is transitioning from paper WIC benefits to an electronic eWIC system, allowing participants a safer and simpler shopping experience at WIC-authorized stores throughout the state.

WIC is open to participants with incomes up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, and more families may be eligible with new poverty guidelines.

Under 2019 guidelines, the following family sizes and incomes will qualify for benefits:

  • A family of two making $31,284 annually or $602 weekly
  • A family of three making $39,461 annually or $759 weekly
  • A family of four making $47,638 annually or $917 weekly
  • A family of five making $55,815 annually or $1,074 weekly
  • A family of six making $63,992 annually or $1,231 weekly

In all cases, an unborn infant counts as one person in the family.

As a reminder, ADPH said WIC participants must have a limited income and a nutritional need. Families receiving Medicaid, SNAP or Family Assistance meet the income requirements for WIC as well, and Even families ineligible for these programs based on income may be eligible for WIC due to its higher income limits.

In a statement, ADPH WIC Director Amanda Martin restated the importance of nutrition at an early age.

“WIC encourages families to be healthy by providing nutritious foods, she said. “Nutritious foods help children grow to be healthy adults and pregnant women to have healthy babies.”

For more information, visit the state WIC website or call the state WIC toll-free line at (888) 942-4673.

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