Applying For Maryland WIC
Maryland WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 MD 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.
Maryland WIC benefits provides:
- Nutrition education
- Breastfeeding Support
- Free healthy food and
- Referral to other health and social agencies
For women, the Maryland WIC program helps them eat better and have healthier babies. The program helps infants born to WIC mothers weigh more and grow and develop better. For children participating in the MD WIC program, it allows them to eat foods with more iron and vitamin C, which helps them develop strong minds and bodies.
If you are eligible for Maryland WIC, you will receive nutrition information, breastfeeding support, referrals to other services, and checks to buy foods such as:
- Whole grain bread, tortillas, and brown rice
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dried canned beans and peas
- Peanut butter
- Cereal, milk, and 100% juice
- Eggs and cheese
- Baby food and baby cereal
- Infant formula
Maryland WIC Eligibility
The MD WIC program is for you if you live in Maryland and are a:
- Pregnant woman
- New mom (up to six months after delivery)
- Breastfeeding mom (up to one year after delivery)
- Child under the age of five
- You meet the Maryland WIC Income Guidelines
- You have a nutritional need
You can receive MD WIC benefits even if you:
- Have a job or be unemployed
- Own a home or live with friends or relatives
- Be married or single
- Be a father, mother, guardian, or grandparent and apply for benefits for an infant or child under the age of 5
Maryland WIC Income
Check the MD WIC Income Guidelines to see if you qualify for WIC. If your family receives less than the amount listed, you may be eligible. Foster care, Medical Assistance, Temporary Cash Assistance and Food Supplement Program clients are income eligible.
Maryland WIC Application process
To get the application process started, you will need to call your local WIC office and schedule an appointment.
Maryland WIC Appointment
To prepare for your WIC appointment, you need to bring the following information:
Proof of Household Income (Bring at least one)
- Recent pay stubs, or benefit letter: SSI, Social Security, Unemployment
- Medical Assistance card
- Independence Card with register receipt (30 days)
- Tax Return
Proof of Identity (Bring one below, per person)
- Birth Certificate
- Driver's License or MVA identification
- Social Security Card
- Picture Identification (Government, School, Employment)
Proof of Address (Bring one)
- Driver's License or MVA Identification
- Official Bill or Statement
- Copy of Lease
If applicable bring proof of pregnancy, immunization records for infants or children, or WIC referrals.
If you have any questions, you can contact them at 800-242-4942 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland eWIC System
Maryland has converted over to the eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouchers with a Maryland WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. When you are purchasing WIC approved foods at your local grocery store, you would hand the cashier your WIC card and they will swipe it like a debit or credit card. Their POS system will then deduct the amount from your WIC balance. Also, instead of having to go down to your local WIC office each month to get more WIC checks or vouchers, the eWIC system will automatically refill your Maryland WIC EBT card electronically.
Maryland WIC Portal
MD WIC participants can view their current balance, view upcoming or schedule their appointments and view their nutrition goals through the Maryland WIC portal system. If you receive benefits and need to access the portal system, click here.
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 Maryland WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, MD 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 Maryland 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
Maryland 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 MD 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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 MD 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 Maryland 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 MD WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Maryland WIC program that manages these benefits and services.