Applying For North Carolina WIC
North Carolina WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 NC 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.
North Carolina WIC program is for the following:
- Children up to 5 years of age
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women who have had a baby in the last 12 months
- Women who have had a baby in the last 6 months
North Carolina WIC Eligibility
To participate in the NC WIC program you must live in North Carolina.
Have a family income less than 185% of the US Poverty Income Guidelines. A person receiving Medicaid, TANF or assistance from the NC Food and Nutrition Services automatically meets the income eligibility requirement.
View the North Carolina WIC Income Guidelines.
Be at nutritional risk. A nutritionist or other health professional makes the nutritional risk assessment at no cost to the participant, usually at the local WIC office. Examples of nutritional risk conditions are listed below. For a complete listing, call 919-707-5800.
- Abnormal anthropometric or hematological measurements
- Documented nutrition-related medical conditions
- Inadequate dietary intake
- Conditions that predispose a person to inadequate nutritional patterns such as lead poisoning, migrancy, alcohol or drug abuse
North Carolina WIC Certification Period
Below is the certification period for each person who is qualified for NC WIC benefits:
They are certified for their pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum. By 6 weeks postpartum they must be re-certified as a postpartum or breast feeding woman.
Non-breast feeding postpartum women
They are certified until six months postpartum.
Breastfeeding postpartum women
They are certified for up to 12 months postpartum.
They are certified before six months of age are certified until their first birthday. Infants certified after six months of age are certified for six months.
They are certified every twelve months until five years of age.
North Carolina WIC Application Process
To start the application process for NC WIC benefits, you will need to contact your local WIC agency and schedule your appointment. Or you can contact your local health department. To obtain additional referral forms, pamphlets, or other information contact your county health department.
North Carolina WIC Appointment
You need to bring the following information with you to your appointment:
- Proof of identification (for all individuals applying for WIC)
- Proof of income (for all household members with income)
- Proof of residence (where you live)
To qualify for NC WIC, applicants must be both income eligible and have an identified medical/nutritional risk factor. These criteria will be assessed when you apply for WIC at your local WIC office. With some exceptions, each person applying for North Carolina WIC must be physically present at the time of application at the local WIC office.
North Carolina eWIC System
North Carolina now uses the new eWIC system. It replaces paper checks and vouchers with the North Carolina WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. This allows you to purchase WIC approved food at your local grocery store. At checkout, you would give your NC WIC EBT Card to the cashier who will then swipe the card like a debit or credit card and their POS system wil deduct the amount from your current WIC balance. Also, instead of having to go to your local WIC clinic each month to get more paper checks or vouchers, your North Carolina WIC EBT Card will automatically refill electronically.
To check your WIC EBT Card balance, set your PIN or replace your eWIC card
- Login to MyBNFT.com
- Download the Bnft app on your smart phone
- Call eWIC Customer Service toll free: 844-230-0813
eWIC Card/Card Replacement
If you forget your PIN, call eWIC Customer Service at 844-230-0813 or log on to MyBNFT.com or the Bnft App to change it. If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, call the eWIC Customer Service at 844-230-0813. Cards will be replaced by regular mail. You should receive your card in five to seven days. Or, visit your local WIC clinic to have your card replaced.
If you enter your PIN wrong four times in a row, your card will be locked until midnight. You can change your PIN by calling eWIC Customer Service or logging on to www.mybnft.com or the Bnft App. If you do not reset your PIN, your card will automatically be unlocked at midnight, however you will still need to know your PIN in order to use your card.
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 North Carolina WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, NC 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 North Carolina 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
North Carolina 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 NC 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 NC 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 North Carolina 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 NC WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local North Carolina WIC program that manages these benefits and services.