Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Type: Nutrition assistance
Max award: Average monthly benefit is about $42, which includes up to a $10 cash value voucher
Big idea: To provide healthy food, nutrition education, and appropriate health care and other program referrals for pregnant and nursing mothers, infants, and young children. In most states participants receive checks, vouchers, or are issued electronic cards to purchase specific foods each month that are designed to supplement their diets with specific nutrients. A few States distribute the WIC foods through warehouses or deliver the foods to participants' homes.
Who can apply: Pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to age five are eligible
Possibilities: WIC foods include infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans/peas, and canned fish. Soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole-wheat bread, and other whole-grain options were recently added.
Real example: One important feature of the recent revision to the WIC food package is the addition of fruits and vegetables. Cash value vouchers are provided to women and children participating in the WIC program to allow them to purchase fruits and vegetables. While these items can be purchased at the grocery store in fresh, frozen, and/or canned forms, some states allow vouchers to be redeemed at farmers markets.