WIC Program in Colorado
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP for women, infants and children in Colorado is often referred to as WIC. It is important to know how to apply for WIC if you are eligible, as it is an invaluable food assistance program. Similar to SNAP, food assistance is distributed monthly. Eligible participants receive WIC vouchers monthly that can be used at authorized food stores in exchange for nutritious foods such as cereal, eggs, milk, cheese and baby foods. WIC benefits also include health screening and referrals and well as other community resources. You will not be able to apply for WIC online in Colorado, as a WIC application must be completed at your local WIC clinic. In order to apply for WIC, you must meet eligibility requirements that include covered groups of individuals, residential requirements and income guidelines. For more information on the WIC program, including the WIC application process, the benefits that WIC provides and eligibility requirements, review the sections that have been provided below.
What is the WIC program in Colorado?
Before you apply for WIC, it is recommended that you learn more about the program in order to have a better understanding of how the program works and how it can aid you and your family. Administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), WIC SNAP was first introduced as a pilot program in 1972 and made permanent in 1974. By providing eligible recipients with WIC benefits such as health screening, breastfeeding support and monthly food assistance vouchers, WIC strives to improve the health of pregnant women, infants, children and new mothers. Studies show that women and children who participate in SNAP for women, infants and children have longer gestation periods, higher birth weights and lower infant mortality in comparison to women and children who do not participate. Download our comprehensive state guide to learn more about how food assistance programs help families in Colorado.
Who is eligible for SNAP for women, infants and children in Colorado?
In order to understand how to apply for WIC, you must first familiarize yourself with eligibility requirements that have been set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To be eligible for SNAP for women, infants and children, you must either be a pregnant woman, a woman who is breastfeeding (up to one year after a baby’s delivery), a postpartum woman who is not breastfeeding (up to six months after the baby’s delivery), an infant or a child up to five years of age. If you are a man, then you can only apply to WIC SNAP for children in your care that are younger than five years of age. WIC benefits are only available to low-income families with a household gross income that does not exceed WIC income guidelines. This is to ensure that needy families can gain access to nutritional foods that will help in a child’s health and growth as well as a mother’s health before and after delivery. In order to apply for WIC in Colorado, you must reside within the state of Colorado. You may only receive WIC benefits in the state that you reside in, even if you work in a different state.
In some cases, WIC SNAP may not be available to all eligible applicants due to limited resources. If a local WIC agency has reached a maximum caseload, then applicants will be granted WIC benefits based upon a priority system, with the highest priority given to pregnant women, breastfeeding women and infant children that have a nutritional risk due to medical problems. A nutritional risk is a medically based risk, such as anemia, underweight or other poor pregnancy outcomes. Diet based risks such as an inadequate dietary pattern can also be considered a nutritional risk. Applicants who are not given priority may consider applying to other food assistance programs for their children such as any of the three school-meal programs in CO.
Colorado WIC Benefits
SNAP for women, infants and children provide numerous benefits to eligible participants that extend beyond food assistance. WIC benefits include but are not limited to the following:
- Monthly food assistance vouchers that will allow you to receive predetermined healthy foods to supplement your family’s diet
- Health screening and referrals
- Information about other community resources that your family may be eligible for
- WIC consultations (at least every three months) where you will receive personalized nutrition consultations and breastfeeding support
When using WIC SNAP, it is important to understand that the food that you will be provided with a list of food items that you are eligible to receive each month. SNAP for women, infants and children foods include cereal, fruits, vegetables, juice, eggs, milk, peanut butter, canned beans, baby food, bread and other whole-grain option. You will not be eligible to receive any food that is not a part of the WIC program unless you also receive SNAP benefits, in which you will be able to select foods according to that specific program.
How to Apply for WIC in Colorado
As mentioned previously, you cannot apply for WIC online at this time in Colorado. Instead, you must visit a Colorado WIC clinic in order to submit an application. If you would like to complete a WIC application, then it is recommended that you call your local WIC clinic ahead of time in order to schedule an appointment and discuss your eligibility for the WIC program. While you cannot apply for WIC online, you are able to utilize an eligibility tool to determine whether or not you may be eligible for benefits. For more information about food assistance programs in Colorado, download our detailed state guide.