Paycheck Chronicles

WIC Benefits Can Help With Food Costs

Many military families, particularly overseas, are eligible for the federally-funded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program.  WIC provides eligible patrons with vouchers to buy nutritious food items.

WIC benefits are available to pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, infants, and children up to age 5.  WIC eligibility is usually based upon income, though some people may qualify due to other specific criteria.  The income level requirements vary depending upon your location and your family size.

With the military, there are always tricky questions about what income "counts" towards various different government benefits.  Sometimes it feels like you will get 10 different answers if you ask the same question 10 different times!  Please talk to someone in your specific area to be sure that understand the rules specifically.  I would even recommend that you ask a 2nd person the same question, just to be sure.  (This is especially true if you are in an area where there isn't much military.)

WIC programs are run at the state level.  If you think you might be eligible for WIC, do an internet search for WIC plus the state in which you live.  At overseas locations, the WIC program is administered through a base-level office, usually located in or near the family support center (Fleet and Family Service Center, Airman and Family Readiness Center, Army Community Services, and Marine Corps Community Services.)

In general, WIC benefits are transferable when you move from one state to a new state.  If the new state has a waiting list because they do not have enough funds for all eligible beneficiaries, a person who has been receiving WIC in a prior state will be put at the top of the waiting list.

The WIC program can help provide nutritious foods to families who might otherwise struggle to keep good food on the table.  If you could use some help, and you think you might qualify, do a quick internet search or make a few phone calls.  It could be a big help for your family!

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