Applying For Utah WIC
Utah WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Utah Department of Health Division of Family Health and Preparedness. They are responsible for determing the eligibility requirements, application process and are in charge of providing the benefits and services to WIC participants. The Utah 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 Utah 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 UT 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.
In order to qualify for Utah WIC you must meet the Utah WIC Income Guidelines. If you believe you qualify, then call your local WIC clinic and schedule an appointment. The clinic will schedule you for the next available appointment to be certified to participate in the program. Some clinics offer walk-in appointments.
Utah WIC Appointment
You need to bring the following information with you to your appointment:
Proof of identity
You need to bring proof of identity for yourself and each child to be certified, such as a Driver License, Medicaid Card, Birth Certificate, or Passport. If you cannot bring one of these forms of ID, the clinic can explain other acceptable forms if ID.
Proof of address
You need to bring proof of address, such as a current utility bill with a street address (no PO boxes), or bring a rent or mortgage receipt. This is to verify you live in Utah and within the county served by the clinic.
Proof of income
You need to bring proof of income for each household member who works. You must bring documentation such as check stubs showing your income for the last 30 days. If you receive Medicaid you may bring your Medicaid card as proof of income. You may also bring a letter from Workforce Services showing the amount you receive in SNAP benefits or the Family Employment Program.
You also need to bring Immunization records for your children being certified and you need to bring your children, if they are applying as well. You will be asked to identify your race and ethnicity. This information is for record keeping purposes only and does not affect your eligibility.
WIC will not ask about your immigration status. You do not need to be a legal resident of the US to participate in the Utah WIC program and receive food benefits. Information shared with the WIC clinic staff is kept confidential. At your appointment the WIC staff will:
- Your height and weight will be measured
- A simple screening test of the amount of iron in your blood will be done. If you do not wish to have finger-stick test, some of their clinics have non-invasive methods for checking your iron. Ask the WIC staff for other options
- You will meet with a WIC health professional who will discuss your health and nutrition with you. She will explain the reason you qualify for the program and what foods you will receive. She will also give you simple ideas to improve your family's eating habits. Ask the WIC health professional any questions you might have
- You will receive Utah WIC checks to purchase specific healthy foods at the grocery store. These checks may be redeemed at most stores in Utah
- You will continue to have appointments at the WIC clinic about every three months to receive nutrition education and pick up more checks
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 Utah WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, UT 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 Utah 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
Utah 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 UT 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 Utah 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 Utah 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 UT 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 Utah 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 UT WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Utah WIC program that manages these benefits and services.