WIC income guidelines change

PARKERSBURG – Income guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children have changed.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Office of Nutrition Services announced the new eligibility income guidelines this week.

The new guidelines indicate a family of four can earn $44,123 and still qualify for WIC program benefits. This amounts to a $555 increase from last year.

The department’s new income guidelines for WIC could mean an additional 5,000 West Virginia residents will now be eligible for benefits, state health officials said. The WIC program operates locally under the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.

“Each year, after April 1, the new income guidelines are released and we provide that information through the outreach programs,” said June Rhodes, the local WIC program director.

“We’ve only had once in the past few years where the income guidelines didn’t change,” Rhodes said. “There should be more people eligible for the WIC program. We are not at our maximum caseload yet, we still have room, so we can take more people.”

Potential clients can call the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department to apply for the program. Proof of income is required, in the form of the past month’s total household income.

“If they are eligible for other assistance programs like S.N.A.P. (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or the medical card, they would qualify,” Rhodes said. The income guidelines are based on gross income, and unlike some of the other programs, WIC does not not take anything off, they go strictly by the gross income, Rhodes said.

“Our goal is to provide nutritional services and information that help keep West Virginia families healthy,” said Dr. Letitia Tierney, state health officer and commissioner for public health. “Currently, West Virginia WIC serves nearly 46,000 mothers and young children monthly. With the expanded income guidelines, we can serve more families.”

West Virginia WIC serves 70 percent of all babies born in West Virginia.

Families enrolled in the program receive nutrition education, breastfeeding education, nutritious foods, and access to maternal, prenatal and pediatric healthcare services that may otherwise be unavailable.

* The new income guidelines are: for a family of one; $416 gross weekly income; $1,800, gross monthly income, and $21,590 in gross annual income; for a family of two, the new guideline is $560 weekly; $2,428 monthly, and $29,101 yearly; for a family of three, the guidelines are $705, weekly; $3,051 monthly, and $36,612 annually; for a family of four, the guideline is $849, weekly; $3,677 monthly and $44,123 yearly.

* For each additional family member add: $145; $626, and $7,511.

Eligibility projections indicate as many as 50,733 residents qualify for the program. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, foster parents or any legal guardian of a child under the age of five may apply.

To learn more about WIC services or how to apply for benefits, call the Wood County WIC Clinic at 304-428-3688 or the State WIC office at 304-558-0030. More information is available online at www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic.