Applying For American Samoa WIC
American Samoa WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the American Samoa Government. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The American Samoa WIC program aims to protect the health of low income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of 5 who are at a nutritional risk. This is done through WIC approved nutritious foods you can purchase using paper vouchers/checks, or in some states your WIC EBT card.
Nutrition Risk Requirements
Anyone who applies for American Samoa WIC benefits must be seen by a health professional such as a physician, nurse, or nutritionist. They must determine whether the applicant is at a nutrition risk. In most cases, this can be done at a local WIC clinic at no cost to the applicant. However, if need be, this information can be obtained from another health professional such as the applicants doctor. Being a nutrition risk means that an individual has a medical-based or dietary-based condition.
For medical-based condition it could be anemia, underweight or a history of poor pregnacy outcome. For a dietary-based condition, this could include having a poor diet. At a minimum, the applicant's height and weight must be taken and bloodwork drawn up to check for anemia. An applicant must have at least one of the medical or dietary conditions listed on the state's list of WIC nutrition risk criteria.
Before applying for the AS WIC program, you can see if you are potentially eligible through the online Prescreening Tool. Please note, this tool is not considered an application. You still need to follow the application process for this state. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
American Samoa WIC Eligibility
The criteria to be eligible for the American Samoa WIC program is listed below:
Pregnant, Breastfeeding, or Postpartum women, Infants, Children up to five years of age.
An applicant must live in American Samoa to be eligible for WIC in American Samoa.
An applicant must be at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This number is based on household size. View the American Samoa WIC Income Guidelines.
Nutrition Risk Requirement
An applicant must have a medical/nutritional risk that can be improved by WIC nutritional services.
To start the American Samoa WIC application process you need to call any of these numbers listed below and schedule an appointment:
American Samoa WIC Appointment
You need to bring the following information with you to your first appointment listed below:
- Proof of income
- Proof of residence or identity
- Bring your baby or children who need WIC
- Bring your baby's or children's immunization shot records or birth certificates
What if I forget to bring my Documentation?
If you did not bring all the required documentation to your appointment, then they will only issue you a months worth of WIC checks. This will also be noted in your AS WIC ID folder as a reminder to bring the required documents to your next appointment.
Who can pick up WIC Checks?
The WIC participant whose signature is on the WIC ID folder is allowed to pick up their WIC checks. However, if that person is unable to pick them up, you are allowed to send a relative or a friend is is 18 years of age or older to the local WIC office to pick up your WIC checks as a proxy. Make sure the proxy brings your WIC ID folder and a note form you giving them permission to pick up the WIC checks.
How do I use WIC Checks?
Below are the steps to use your WIC checks:
- Use your checks on or between the first and last day to use
- Use a check only if your name is printed below the signature box
- Shop only at approved stores. Look for the "WIC Checks Accepted Here" signs
- Buy the amounts and types of foods listed on your checks
- Separate your WIC foods by check and from other items you are buying
- Let the checker know you are using WIC checks before you begin your purchase
- Sign the check only after the checker sees your ID and writes in the amount
How to check American Samoa WIC EBT Card Balance
Below are the different ways you can check the current balance on your WIC EBT Card:
- Ask the staff at AS-WIC clinic to print your benefit
- Ask any authorized WIC retailer to print from the POS device
- Log into your account online at EBTEdge.com
What if my WIC EBT Card was lost or stolen?
Please call the eWIC Helpdesk line at 633-2500 immediately to report the card lost or stolen. It is important to do so right away so that no one else can use your benefits.
Research has shown that breast milk is the best food for the baby's first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional and economical benefits to mother and baby. Since a major goal of the American Samoa WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, AS WIC encourages participating mothers to choose breastfeeding in the following ways:
- Mothers are provided with breastfeeding information and support
- Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in American Samoa WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers
- Mothers who exclusively breastfeed receive a larger amount and variety of foods
- Mothers can receive a pump and other breastfeeding items if needed to help support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding
Length of WIC Participation
American Samoa WIC is considered a short-term program. A participate "graduates" at the end of one or more of their certification periods. A certification period is the length of time a AS WIC participate is eligible to receive benefits. Depending on the persons condition, either pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, an infant or child, an eligible person usually receives benefits from 6 months to a year, at which time they are required to re-apply.
The WIC Waiting List
In some situations, WIC agencies may not have enough financial backing to serve everyone who qualifies for the American Samoa WIC program or those who call to apply. At this point, the WIC agencies must keep a list that is referred to as the "waiting list". It contains all of the individuals who want to apply for the American Samoa WIC program and are likely to be served. From there, the WIC agencies use a special system called a "Priority System". Based on conditions like most serious health conditions (anemia, underweight, pregnancy problems), this system will determine who will be served next to receive AS WIC benefits. There are 7 priorities used in this priority system, the details for each priority and how they are determined are listed below.
The following applicants with nutrition-related medical conditions such as anemia, underweight, overweight or pre-term birth:
- Pregnant Women
- Breastfeeding Women
Infants up to 6 months of age whose mothers participated in WIC or could have participated and had nutrition-related medical conditions.
Children with nutrition-related medical conditions.
The following applicants with dietary problems, for example a poor diet:
- Pregnant Women
- Breastfeeding Women
Children with dietary problems, for example a poor diet.
Postpartum (non-breastfeeding) women with nutrition related-medical conditions or dietary problems.
Current WIC participants who without providing the WIC supplemental foods could continue to have medical and/or dietary problems.
Please note, state agencies can decide to place homeless and migrant participants in Priorities 5 through 7. At the state agencies option, postpartum women may be placed in Priorities 3 through 5. Any priority can be subdivided into subcategories of risk, using factors such as income or age.
WIC Participants who are Moving
If you are receiving American Samoa WIC benefits and are moving from one area or state to another, then you will be placed at the top of a waiting list when you move and are also served first when the WIC agency can serve more individuals. While moving, you can still continue to receive your benefits until your certification period expires as long as there is proof that you are receiving WIC benefits in another area or state. Before you move, you need to contact your local WIC clinic and let them know.
In most cases the staff will give you a special card, Verification of Certification Card (VOC), which will prove that you are receiving WIC benefits. After you do move, you will then need to call the WIC clinic in your new area to schedule an appointment. When attending your appointment, make sure to take the VOC card that was given to you to show proof that you were participating in the AS WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local American Samoa WIC program that manages these benefits and services.