Applying For Florida WIC
Florida WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Florida Department of Health. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Florida 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 Florida 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 FL 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.
Florida WIC Eligibility
The Florida WIC program is a nutrition program for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who have recently been pregnant, infants & children under age 5. The program provides the following benefits:
- Healthy foods
- Nutrition education and counseling
- Breastfeeding support
- Referrals to health care, immunizations, and community services
To be income eligible for Florida WIC benefits you must have a total household income equal to or less than the amounts shown in the Florida WIC Income Guidelines, or you are automatically income eligible if you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA), or Food Assistance. Please note, it is not required to be on public assistance to qualify for Florida WIC.
To start the application process for Florida WIC benefits, you need to first find your local WIC office and call to schedule an appointment. Or you can call toll free at 800-342-3556 and tell them you want to apply for Florida WIC. At your visit, the WIC staff will review your information to see if your household income, medical and nutritious status qualify you for the FL WIC program.
Florida WIC Appointment
The first appointment is called the certification visit. Below is a list of items you will need to bring with you to this visit:
- Bring each family member who is applying to receive FL WIC services
- Bring proof of all gross income (before taxes) for everyone in the household
- Bring one proof of where you live (PO boxes not allowed)
- Bring one proof of identification for you and each infant and child applying
- Bring the WIC Medical Referral Form (If available from your doctor)
- Bring the SSN (Social Security Number) for each person applying (If available)
- Bring immunization records for each child (If available)
Florida WIC EBT Card
Florida now uses the eWIC system for all participants. Instead of using paper checks or vouchers, participants now use a Florida WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) card when purchasing WIC approved foods at their local grocery store. When checking out, they give the card to the cashier and they will swipe it like a credit or debit card. From there, the amount will automatically be deducted from your WIC balance. If you have a FL WIC EBT Card and have questions or problems using your card, call customer service at 866-629-1095.
Check Florida WIC EBT Card Balance
To check the current balance on your FL WIC EBT card, you can call customer service at 866-629-1095, or check it online at EBTEdge.com. If there is a WIC EBT Point of Sale (POS) machine at the store, you can also slide your card and enter your PIN to get your balance.
Do I have to buy every item on the EBT card on the same day?
You do not have to buy all your foods at one time. Buy what you need. You can buy the amount of food shown on the WIC EBT shopping list. Substitutions of any food items are not allowed.
What happens if all the WIC foods are not purchased?
Will these benefits roll over to the next month? No, benefits that are not used will expire on the ending date.
Can Florida WIC EBT cards be used in another state?
No, you can use your WIC EBT card only at approved stores in Florida. Ask your local WIC office for the names and addresses of the approved stores in your area. Tell your local WIC office if you are moving to another state. Take your WIC VOC/ID card with you when you move.
What should I do if my EBT card is lost or stolen?
Call Customer Service at 866-629-1095 immediately to cancel your card. You will need the name of the authorized representative, their date of birth, and their zip code to cancel the card. After you report your lost or card stolen, the card will no longer be able to be used even if it is returned to you later. You will need to call your local WIC office and go in to get a replacement card.
What if I enter the wrong PIN?
If the correct PIN is not entered by the third try, your PIN will be locked to prevent someone from guessing your PIN and getting your food benefits. Your account will unlock after midnight. After that, you will get one more try to enter your PIN correctly. If locked out again, call Customer Service at 866-629-1095.
What should I do if someone finds out my PIN?
If someone has your PIN who should not have it, immediately call Customer Service at 866-629-1095 and change your PIN.
When will I have my benefits?
Benefits will be in your food account at midnight on the beginning date and will expire at midnight on the ending date.
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 Florida WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, FL 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 Florida 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
Florida 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 FL 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 Florida 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 Florida 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 FL 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 Florida 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 FL WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Florida WIC program that manages these benefits and services.