Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
What is WIC?
WIC is a food and nutrition program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture through the Michigan Department of Community Health. Local agencies, such as health departments and non-profit organizations, deliver WIC services and benefits to the public.
WIC helps to correct or prevent malnutrition in low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who recently had a baby, infants and children up to 5 years old who are at health risk due to inadequate nutrition. WIC provides supplemental food, offers professional nutrition education, promotes breastfeeding through the first year of life, and makes referrals based on health screening and assessments of need.
- SUPPLEMENTAL FOOD. Nutritious foods are provided to supplement and help improve the diet. Women and children may receive milk, cheese, eggs, juices rich in vitamin C, cereals rich in iron and dry peas/beans or peanut butter.
- Breast feeding women may also receive tuna fish and carrots. Non-breastfed and part-time breastfed infants may receive iron-fortified infant formula. All infants receive infant cereal and infant juice after six months of age.
- Participants receive a Bridge Card which they may use for food at any WIC authorized retail stores throughout Michigan.
- Fresh, locally-grown produce is provided to many WIC participants by most local agencies through Project Fresh, Michigan's Famers' Market Nutrition Program.
- NUTRITION EDUCATION. Nutrition education is offered to all WIC participants or their caregivers. Common topics include nutrition during pregnancy, infant feeding, nutrition during childhood, and wise food shopping. WIC encourages women to breastfeed because of the many health benefits for both baby and mother.
- REFERRALS. An added benefit of the WIC Program is screening for other health problems and referrals to other appropriate health and social services. These referrals may be for Medicaid, MI-Child, Healthy Kids, Food Stamps, immunizations, child health screening, family planning, Project Fresh and more.
Who is Eligible for WIC?
Those eligible to receive WIC are pregnant and breastfeeding women; women who have recently had a baby; infants from birth to 12 months; and children from 1 to 5 years who are also:
- Residents of the state of Michigan.
- Income eligible. (click here for income guidelines)
- Determined by WIC clinic staff, in local agencies, to be at nutrition and/or health risk.
How do I Apply for WIC?
- Just contact your nearest WIC agency or call 1-800-26-BIRTH (1-800-262-4784) for information about your local WIC agency and how to apply. In Ionia County the nearest WIC agency is the Ionia County Health Department, call (616) 527-5337 for more information.
What are Nutrition and Health Risks?
Some typical health risks are: low blood iron or anemia, too much or too little weight gain (for pregnant women and children), poor diet, chronic disease, and developmental disabilities.
Other health risks include past problems during pregnancy such as low birth weight or premature delivery.
What Does WIC Cost?
WIC services are free to applicants and participants.
Is WIC Effective?
Yes! WIC is a proven effective health care program. Evaluations of WIC show that:
- WIC helps pregnant women see physicians earlier and receive timely prenatal care.
- WIC improves pregnancy outcome by providing or referring to support services necessary for full term pregnancies.
- WIC participation improves the diet of pregnant women and improves the length of pregnancy and infant birth weight.
- WIC participation reduces infant mortality by reducing the incidence of low birth weight infants (under 5 1/2 pounds). Low birth weight infants are at greater risk of breathing problems, brain injuries, and physical abnormalities.
- WIC significantly reduces anemia among preschool children.
- WIC children are better immunized and more likely to have a regular source of health care.
WIC BRIDGE CARD
How do I use my Michigan WIC Bridge Card at the grocery store?
- Use your WIC shopping list when shopping with your Michigan WIC Bridge Card.
- With your WIC food card and your current WIC shopping list, go through the store and select the WIC food items you need.
- When you are done shopping, look for checkout lanes designated with the Michigan WIC Bridge Card sign.
- At the checkout lane, seperate your WIC eligible food items from your other groceries.
- Tell the cashier that you are using your Michigan WIC Bridge Card.
- You or the cashier will swipe your card through the point of sale (POS) machine.
- Enter your 4-digit PIN.
- Give the cashier any manufacturer or store cents-off coupons.
- The cashier scans each item to confirm that it is an approved WIC eligible food item and that the food item can be purchased that day.
- The cashier enters the amounts of cents-off coupons and totals all of the WIC food items.
- The cashier gives you a WIC EBT receipt. Make sure you have your card and receipt when you leave the store.
Remember, WIC food items and infant formula cannot be returned or exchanged for cash or other products.
When do I call Customer Service (1-888-678-8914)?
- Call if your card is lost or stolen. Always call the minute you find out your card is gone.
- Call if your card is damaged or will not work.
- Call if someone is using your card without your approval.
- Call if you need to know your WIC food balance and do not have your shopping list or your last store receipt.
- Call if you forgot your PIN or would like to change your PIN.
- Call if you have quesitons or need help with your card.
What if I enter the wrong PIN?
If you are having trouble remembering your PIN, call Customer Service at 1-888-678-8914 to choose a new PIN. If you enter the wrong PIN, you have three more chances to enter the correct number. If the correct PIN is not entered on the fourth try, you won't be able to use your card until 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time the next day.
In accordance with Federal law and Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer (2/12).
De acuerdo con la lay federal y las politicas del Departamento de Agricultura de los EE.UU. (USDA, sigal en ingles), se le prohibe a esta institucion que discrimine por razon de raza, color, origen, sexo, edad, or discapacidad.
Para presentar una queja sobre discriminacion, escriba a USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, o llame gratis al (866) 632-9992 (voz). Personas con discapacidad auditiva o del habla pueden contactar con USDA por medio del Servicio Federal de Relevo (Federal Relay Service) al (800) 845-6136 (espanol) o (800) 877-8339 (ingles). USDA es un proveedor y empleador que ofrece oportunidad igual para todos.