Applying For Colorado WIC
Colorado WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Colorado 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 Colorado 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 CO 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.
The Colorado WIC program provides:
- Personalized nutrition consultations
- Breastfeeding information, support and referrals
- Financial assistance to help purchase healthy food
- Referrals for medical, dental, health insurance, child care, housing, lactation support and other services
- Nutrition and health education on a variety of topics
Each month Colorado WIC benefits are issued to provide you with healthy foods to supplement your family's diet. Typical foods are low-fat milk, cereal, eggs, cheese, juice, beans, peanut butter, whole-grain, fresh fruits and vegetables. At each appointment, usually done every 3 months, Colorado WIC participants or their guardian will receive personalized nutrition consultations and breastfeeding support. While on this program, you will also receive health screenings and referrals as needed.
The Colorado WIC program is for all kinds of families. Married and single parents, working or not working. If you're a father, mother, grandparent, foster parent or other legal guardian of a child under 5, you can apply for CO WIC.
Colorado WIC Eligibility
To participate in the Colorado WIC Program, you must meet the following three criteria:
You must fit into one of the following categories:
- Pregnant woman
- Breastfeeding woman
- Postpartum woman who isn't breastfeeding
- Child up to 5 years of age
In order to financially qualify for the CO WIC program, your combined household gross income can't exceed the Colorado WIC Income Guidelines. To manually calculate your gross income do the following:
If your household had only one income source or if all income sources have the same frequency, compare the income, or the sum of the separate incomes, to the published WIC Income Eligibility Guidelines for the appropriate frequency and household size.
If your household reports income sources at more than one frequency, perform the following calculations:
- Multiply weekly income by 52, income received every 2 weeks by 26, income received twice a month by 24, and income received monthly by 12
- Don't round the values resulting from each conversion
- Add together all the unrounded, converted values
- Compare the total with the annual income for the appropriate household size to determine income eligibility
WIC participants must live in Colorado. In general, they also must be served in the county where they currently live. In some cases though, a Colorado WIC agency may serve multiple counties. In that situation, a person must be served by the local agency that provides services for his or her county.
If you are still not sure you qualify for CO WIC benefits, then they recommend contacting your local WIC clinic and ask the staff for help on the eligibility requirements and WIC services.
To start the Colorado WIC application process, please call your local WIC clinic. For eligibility and appointment information, including what information you need to bring, call 800-688-7777 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use the Colorado PEAK eligibility tool to see if you qualify for CO WIC benefits.
Colorado WIC Appointment
Your first appointment is called your WIC certification appointment. This is when the staff decides if you qualify. Below are a list of information you need to bring to this appointment to help them determine eligibility:
- Your infant/child
- Immunization records for infants and children
- Identification for each family member applying for WIC. It must be a current, original document (not a photocopy)
- Proof of residency including your driver's license, government ID, utility bill etc.
- Current or recent proof of income
Colorado WIC EBT Card
Colorado provides the eWIC system. Instead of giving you paper checks or vouchers, the eWIC system provides you with a EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) card. This acts like a normal debit card and allows you to purchase WIC approved food at your local grocery store.
When checking out, you simply give your Colorado WIC EBT card to the cashier and they will swipe it and from there the POS system will deduct the amount from your WIC balance. Also, instead of going to your local WIC clinic each month to get your checks or vouchers, your benefits will be electronically reloaded onto your WIC EBT card.
How will I get an eWIC card?
At your first WIC appointment the clinic staff will give you your eWIC card, load benefits, and explain how to set up and use your eWIC card.
Will I get a new eWIC card every month?
The Colorado eWIC card is like a debit card. You get it once and keep using it. New benefits will be added to your WIC account at future WIC appointments.
Will I need a PIN, and if so, how do I set it up?
Yes, you will need a PIN in order to shop for WIC foods. Staff at the WIC clinic will explain the process and help you set up your PIN. You'll be able to set up your PIN on-line at EBTEdge.com, or by calling the customer service line at 844-234-4950.
How will I know what foods are being loaded on my eWIC card?
At the clinic you will be given a list of all the food benefits for your family and the dates the benefits are valid. Once you start using your benefits the remaining balance will be listed on the store receipt. You can also download the free WICShopper App, register your card, and see your list of food benefits from the app.
Will unused benefits from one month roll over to the next month?
No. WIC benefits expire at midnight on the last day of the month, and cannot be rolled over to the next month.
How will I know what foods are left on my eWIC card?
The store receipt will list the remaining foods available to you for that month, so it’s a good idea to always keep your last store receipt. You can also check your food balance from the "My Benefits" option in the WICShopper app, or call the customer service line (844-234-4950) or check your balance on the eWIC web portal at EBTEdge.com.
What can I do if I misplace or lose my eWIC card?
Call the WIC clinic and explain that your card was lost. The clinic will deactivate your lost card and schedule you for an appointment to issue you a new card. Before contacting the clinic you can also call the automated customer service line (844-234-4950) and select a new PIN so if your card is found, no one else can use it.
What can I do if I forgot my PIN number?
If you forget your PIN you can call the automated customer service line at 844-234-4950 and select a new PIN. If you cannot remember your PIN it's best to call and change it because your eWIC account will lock until midnight if the wrong PIN is entered four times.
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 Colorado WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, CO 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 Colorado 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
Colorado 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 CO 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 Colorado 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 Colorado 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 CO 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 Colorado 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 CO WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Colorado WIC program that manages these benefits and services.