Applying For Oregon WIC
Oregon WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Oregon Health Authority. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Oregon 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 Oregon 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 OR 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.
Oregon WIC Eligibility
The Oregon WIC program serves lower-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children under age 5 who have health or nutrition risks. Many working families are part of WIC. Applicants must meet four criteria to be eligible for WIC:
- Live in Oregon
- Be a pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding woman
- Be an infant or a child under 5 years old
- Have a household income less than 185% of the federal poverty limit. Individuals who can prove Fully eligible for Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan, TANF, SNAP/Food Stamps or FDPIR are automatically income eligible for WIC
- Have a nutritional need or risk
To find out if you are income eligible, view the Oregon WIC Income Guidelines.
Oregon WIC Application
To start the application process for the Oregon WIC program you need to contact the local WIC program near you to schedule an appointment. Or if you need assistance in finding your local WIC program, you can call 211 or 800-735-2900.
Oregon eWIC System
Oregon uses the eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouchers with a Oregin WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. This allows you to purchase WIC approved foods at your local grocery store. At checkout you can hand the cashier your OR WIC EBT Card and they will swipe your card like a credit or debit card and their POS system will deduct the amount from your current WIC balance. Also, instead of going to your local WIC program each month to pickup more paper checks or vouchers, your Oregon WIC EBT Card will be automatically refilled electronically.
You should call the eWIC Customer Service at 844-234-4946 if:
- Your card is lost, stolen or damaged
- You need to reset or change your PIN
- You think your receipt doesn't match what you bought
Setting your Oregon eWIC PIN
Before using your eWIC card the first time, you must pick a 4 digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) for your card. Set your PIN by calling eWIC Customer Service at 844-234-4946 or by logging onto EBTEdge.com. You can also check your current WIC EBT card balance, purchase history and other information by logging into EBTEdge.com.
If you forget your PIN, call eWIC Customer Service at 844-234-4946 or log on to EBTEdge.com to change it. If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, call eWIC Customer Service at 844-234-4946.
What happens if I forget my PIN or enter it wrong?
If you enter your PIN wrong four times, your card will be locked until midnight. You can change your PIN before you get to the fourth try by calling eWIC Customer Service or logging onto EBTEdge.com. 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 it.
When are my benefits available?
Your benefits become available on the first day of the month at 12:01 am Pacific Time. Benefits that have not been spent do not carry over into the next month.
How can I change my WIC food benefits?
Talk to your local WIC clinic about changing your WIC food 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 Oregon WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, OR 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 Oregon 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
Oregon 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 OR 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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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 OR 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 Oregon 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 OR WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Oregon WIC program that manages these benefits and services.