Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children

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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (known as WIC) is a Federal assistance program of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five. The eligibility requirement is a family income below 185% of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. If a person who participates in other benefit programs, or has family members participate in the Food Stamp Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, they automatically meet the eligibility requirements. This program is unrelated to the USDA's "Food Stamp" program.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children was created by a 1972 bill that Senator Humphrey (D) of Minnesota introduced. It was made permanent in 1975.


WIC participants often receive a monthly check or voucher. In many poor areas, "WIC stores" exist that only sell food for vouchers issued by the state WIC program, and do not accept any other form of payment. These stores charge the maximum permitted under the program, charging up to 16% more than regular stores for the same food. [1]


In 2006, the Federal Government decided to cut costs and initiated a ruling that started the end of WIC stores. The WIC store association initiated a class action suit, but lost the case. Within the last 2 years, over 80% of WIC stores have closed down due to the cost cutting measures dictated by the Government. These measures including insisting WIC stores to sell at below cost price, which for over 90% of products is even less than the cost at Walmart and similar stores.

External links

  • "WIC". Food and Nutrition Service. Retrieved November 23. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

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