The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health announces new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) income guidelines for eligibility in the WIC Nutrition Program. These changes represent an increase in the income amounts that qualify a family to participate in program benefits.

WIC is a short term intervention program designed to influence lifetime nutrition and health behavior in pregnant women, new mothers, breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to the age of 5 years old. WIC offers nutrition education and services, breastfeeding promotion and education, nutritious foods, and access to maternal, prenatal and pediatric healthcare services. As a matter of fact, the monthly food package of healthy foods, valued at about $60.00 in grocery stores, includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and breads, baby foods of cereal, fruits, vegetables and meats as well as dairy products of milk, cheese and eggs.

The new income guidelines are:

WIC is for all kinds of families: married and single parents, working or not working. If you are a father, mother, grandparent, foster parent or other legal guardian of a child under five, you can apply for WIC.

Beginning in March, the WV WIC Program began piloting an online, integrated WIC electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system. WIC EBT, more commonly referred to as eWIC, improves the WIC shopping experience which gives families needed access to benefits without the stigma of paper vouchers.

"The eWIC card makes the grocery purchase process identical to all other shoppers," said Denise Ferris, State WIC Director. "WIC participants can swipe their eWIC cards along with other methods of payment which allows participants to shop confidentially, but also makes possible small - even one item - purchases, which they haven't been able to do under the traditional WIC system."

To learn if your family is eligible for WIC services, call your local WIC clinic at 304-354-6898. For more information, visit ons.wvdhhr.org

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