Food assistance: WIC
Supplemental Nutrition Program For Women, Infants And Children
How can WIC help me?
If you are a pregnant woman, new mother, or mother with a child or children under five, you may be able to receive vouchers or checks, sometimes called coupons, for nutritious foods, as well as nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other services through the WIC program.
Who may receive WIC?
You may be eligible for WIC if you are one of the following:
- A pregnant woman;
- A breastfeeding woman; or
- A mother or female custodial parent with an infant or children (including foster children) under five.
You must also:
- Have a low to medium annual income equal to or less than the WIC Guidelines, or have no income. The guidelines are determined by household size (the number of persons in your family) and your annual household income. You can find the income guidelines online; and
- Be at medical or nutritional health risk. A screening by a WIC Certifying Health Professional at your first appointment will determine if you are at any risk. Such risks can include problems due to low iron, low weight gain during pregnancy or high-risk pregnancy, homelessness, child-growth problems, or inadequate diet.
What services does WIC offer?
WIC can provide:
- Special checks to be used at grocery stores or WIC Food Centers to buy healthy foods, such as milk, juice, eggs, cheese, cereal, dry beans or peas, peanut butter, and iron-fortified infant formula
- Information about nutrition and health such as infant and toddler feeding, anemia, and child growth and development
- Information about and instruction in breastfeeding
- Help finding maternal and child health care and other services in your area
- Special checks to be used at farmers’ markets or roadside stands to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs
How do I apply for WIC?
You must apply for WIC at your local WIC office. WIC offices are not the same as the Family and Community Resource Centers. You can use the IDHS Office Locator online to locate a WIC office nearest you and set up an appointment. At your appointment, WIC staff will check to see if you and your family qualify.
What documents do I need to bring to my WIC appointment?
At your first visit to a WIC office, be sure to bring the following with you:
- Identification, such as a driver’s license or photo ID;
- Proof of income, such as your last two paycheck stubs or income tax forms; and
- Proof of residency, such as a utility bill or other piece of mail with your name on it.
If you are pregnant, you must also give proof of pregnancy, such as a medical note.
If you have an infant or children under age five, you must also provide:
- Proof of birth, such as a birth certificate(s); and
- Proof of immunizations, if applicable, such as shot records from the pediatrician’s office.
WIC does not require proof of citizenship or alien status for you to apply. If you are undocumented and need services, you should receive those services.
How do I receive my benefits and how much will my benefits be?
All WIC services, including health screening, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and special checks for food, are delivered on-site at your local WIC office. WIC special checks are paper, unlike SNAP benefits which you receive on a LINK card. The vouchers list the specific foods you may buy, such as milk or peanut butter, and the quantity of each.
Your benefits will be determined by your health screening on the basis of your nutritional needs. The average value of the monthly voucher per person in Illinois is approximately $45.
More Information and Resources
If you need assistance, contact the Illinois State WIC Office at 217-782-2166.
Besides relying on your local WIC office, you can direct questions about any IDHS program to your local Family and Community Resource Center (FCRC). If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at 1-800-843-6154 (TTY 1-800-447-6404).