Alabama’s WIC Program Income Eligibility Rises – The Madison Record
By Dustin Duncan
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), income guidelines have increased for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, better known as WIC. This increase took effect on June 1.
WIC provides nutritious food benefits – such as fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, whole grain cereals and more – to support maternal and child health. Additionally, about half of all infant formula in the United States is purchased with WIC. The program is open to participants whose income does not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level. According to the 2022 federal poverty guidelines, more families could qualify for the program.
“Auburn University’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program is excited to see increased WIC eligibility so that more Alabamians can benefit from this valuable resource,” said Theresa Mince, EFNEP Alabama Coordinator. Cooperative Extension System.
The new income eligibility guidelines are available on the ADPH website.
Who can apply?
Women who are pregnant, have had a child within the past six months, or are currently breastfeeding are eligible to apply for the WIC program through their local health department or WIC agency. Parents and guardians of children up to age five are also eligible. Families receiving Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits already meet the income criteria. Even families who do not qualify for these programs may qualify for benefits due to WIC’s higher income limits.
Those who participate in WIC can receive child support benefits for each eligible family member. There are also increased monetary value benefits available for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. The Alabama program now offers electronic food benefits, making the shopping experience much easier. In addition to dietary benefits, other program benefits include free nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and healthcare referrals.
EFNEP and SNAP-Ed Resources
Alabama Extension’s EFNEP and SNAP-Ed departments offer programs and training to support people who receive WIC benefits.
Mince said that through interactive and hands-on nutrition education classes, EFNEP helps participants gain vital knowledge and skills to manage their food resources, ensure food safety and prepare nutritious meals on a budget. limit.
“Serving low-income pregnant/adolescent women and adults who are caring for young children is a primary focus of our program, many of whom are WIC recipients,” Mince said. “Here in Alabama, 37% of all Auburn University EFNEP participants receive WIC benefits. Nearly 70% of participants in Today’s Mom, our prenatal nutrition education program, receive WIC benefits. »
Auburn University SNAP-Ed also provides a variety of educational resources for WIC participants and other Alabamians with limited resources. Local SNAP-Ed educators deliver nutrition education in settings such as pantries, grocery stores and schools. They also work with community partners to increase access to healthy food and physical activity. SNAP-Ed also encourages Alabamians to “live well” through its social media platforms and Live Well Alabama website. Live Well Alabama is a one-stop-shop for daily wellness tips, community success stories, and nutrition and physical activity resources
“Increasing WIC eligibility will help many families in Alabama,” said Katie Funderburk, Alabama Extension SNAP-Ed Coordinator. “SNAP-Ed will continue to help these families shop and cook healthy meals on a budget and lead healthy, active lives.”
More information about the WIC program is available on the ADPH website, www.alabamapublichealth.gov/wic/. For more information on Alabama EFNEP, visit ww.aces.edu For more information on Alabama SNAP-Ed, visit www.LiveWellAlabama.com.