Applying For Virginia WIC
Virginia WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is handled by the Virginia 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 Virginia 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 Virginia 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 VA 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.
The Virginia WIC program provides nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, supplemental nutritious foods, counseling at WIC clinics, and screening and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services. The goal of the Virginia WIC program is to improve the health of pregnant women, infants and children (under 5 years) through better nutrition and access to health care. To be eligible for VA WIC benefits, applicants must meet categorical, residential, income, and nutrition risk requirements.
Virginia WIC Eligibility
You are eligible to apply to Virginia WIC if you:
- Are pregnant, breastfeeding, just had a baby or are a mother, father, grandparent, foster parent, or other legal guardian of a child under the age of 5
- Are a resident of Virginia
- Have a nutritional need (this is determined at your local WIC clinic)
- Your income is within the Virginia WIC Income Guidelines
Virginia WIC Application
Virginia WIC Appointment
You need to bring the following information with you to your certification appointment:
- eWIC Card for returning clients
- Proof of Income
- Proof of where you live
- Person applying for WIC
- Child's immunization record
For nutrition education appointments you need to bring:
- eWIC Card
- Healthbites certificate if completed through online program Healthbites
For your certification appointments, expect the following:
- 30 mins-1 hour in length
- If first appointment: will receive eWIC card, how to PIN and use your eWIC card
- Finger stick for blood work depending on age and WIC category
- Height and weight check
- Nutrition education
- A review of your Food Prescription
For your nutrition appointment, expect the following:
- 30 minutes
- Discuss your nutritional needs through a one-on-one appointment or group nutrition class
- A review of your Food Prescription
Virginia eWIC System
Virginia uses the eWIC system. This replaces paper checks and vouchers with a Virginia WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. This allows you to purchase WIC approved foods at your local grocery store. At check out you would hand the cashier your eWIC card and they will swipe it like a debit or credit card. Their POS system will then deduct the amount from your current WIC balance. Also, instead of visiting your local WIC clinic each month to get more paper checks or vouchers, your Virginia WIC EBT Card will be automatically refilled electronically.
How do I contact Customer Service?
To contact Customer Service, please call 877-677-5963.
When should I call Customer Service?
Please call Customer Service if any of the following happens:
- Report lost or stolen eWIC card. Remember, please call as soon as you see that your eWIC card is missing
- If your eWIC card is damaged or will not work
- If someone is using your eWIC card without your approval
- If you need to know your WIC food balance and you do not have your last store receipt or if you cannot visit the WIC website at ebt.acs-inc.com
- If you forgot your PIN or if you would like to change your PIN
- If you need to opt in or out of text messaging services
- If you have questions about or need help with your eWIC card
If I forget my PIN, what information will I need to reset it?
If you forget your PIN, call Customer Service at 877-677-5963 to choose a new PIN. You should choose four numbers that are easy for you to remember, but hard for someone else to ﬁgure out.
How do I check my eWIC balance?
You can get your Virginia WIC EBT balance by:
- Checking your last store receipt from the current benefit month
- Performing a balance inquiry at the store
- Going to the WIC website at ebt.acs-inc.com
- Calling Customer Service at 877-677-5963
- If you receive text messages from WIC, you may send the BAL (Balance Inquiry) text command to 'WICVA' from your mobile phone
What should I do if someone ﬁnds out my PIN?
If someone finds out your PIN, immediately call Customer Service at 877-677-5963 and change your PIN. You should choose four numbers that are easy for you to remember, but hard for someone else to ﬁgure out.
What happens if the wrong PIN number is used?
If you are having trouble remembering your PIN, call Customer Service at 877-677-5963 to choose a new PIN. If you enter the wrong PIN, you have two more chances to enter the correct number. If the correct PIN is not entered on the third try, the card will be locked and you must call Customer Service to reset your PIN by selecting a new PIN.
What if my card is lost or stolen?
Immediately call Customer Service at 877-677-5963 as soon as you ﬁnd out your eWIC benefit card is gone.
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 Virginia WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, VA 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 Virginia 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
Virginia 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 VA 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 Virginia 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 Virginia 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 VA 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 Virginia 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 VA WIC program.
If you still have questions or issues about the program, then you can contact your local Virginia WIC program that manages these benefits and services.