Coupons and the WIC Program
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Coupons and the WIC Program

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Fake Coupons with US CoinsWIC is a federal food assistance program that helps women, infants, and children. Those who qualify for this type of assistance need to meet income eligibility guidelines. This is a program that can provide much needed help to low-income families. People using WIC can use coupons with it.

What is WIC?
WIC is an abbreviation of “women, infants, and children”. It is a special supplemental nutrition program that provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum woman. It is also provides the same benefits for infants and children (up to the age of 5) who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Who is eligible for WIC?
There are four criteria that determine who is (and who is not) eligible for WIC. The first one is “categorical”. WIC is for pregnant women (during pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after the birth of an infant or the end of a pregnancy). It also for infants (up to the infant’s first birthday) and children (up to the child’s fifth birthday).

The second criteria is “residential”. Applicants must live in the state in which they apply for WIC. The third criteria is “income”. In order to qualify, a woman must be at or below the income level or standard set by whatever state she lives in. The fourth criteria is “nutrition risk”. This means that the mother or the infant has medical-based or dietary-based conditions.

What does WIC cover?
WIC provides foods for mothers, infants, and children. These foods include: infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans or peas, and canned fish. Recently, the following items were added: soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole-wheat bread, and other whole-grain options.

Those who are eligible for WIC pay for these foods with checks or vouchers. Some states have replaced the checks or vouchers with an EBT card. The card can be used just like a debit card at stores that take WIC.

Can you use coupons with WIC?
Yes! You absolutely can use coupons with WIC. Doing so can help stretch the WIC benefit a little bit farther. The WIC guidelines for 2014 from the United States Department of Agriculture state that WIC authorized vendors must treat people who use WIC the same as they treat people who do not use it. That means people who use WIC are allowed to use coupons and take advantage of in-store promotions.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.