WIC Program Overview
The WIC Program provides nutrition education and supplemental foods to low-income persons who are also nutritionally at risk. The target population for WIC includes pregnant women, breastfeeding women up to 1 year postpartum, non-breastfeeding women up to 6 months postpartum, infants, and children up to age 5. Eligible persons must provide documentation for proofs of income, residency, and identity according to federal guidelines established by the USDA. Upon enrollment, eligible persons receive nutrition and breastfeeding education & counseling, extensive healthcare & community referrals, and vouchers for specified nutritious foods which are then redeemed at local merchant locations.
WIC services in Knox County are available at the Main Knox County Health Department location and are accessible by appointment (865-215-5016). There is no charge associated with WIC program benefits. Qualifying persons must provide written documentation of income & residency eligibility. Income cannot exceed 185% of federal poverty level, set yearly by USDA. Adjunctive eligibility is extended to individuals currently enrolled in Food Stamps, TANF, or certain TennCare categories. Current income eligibility information can be found at http://health.state.tn.us/wic. Persons served at Knox County Health Department must reside in Knox County or an adjacent county. More detailed information regarding program benefits may be found at www.fns.usda.gov/wic
What can you expect at a typical WIC visit?
Once WIC staff has verified eligibility, children and women are weighed, measured for height/length, and at specified intervals (as determined by USDA regulations) hemoglobin is checked to determine risk of anemia. If you would like to bring referral measures from your doctor’s office, we require the following:
- Measures must be written on a prescription pad or physician’s letterhead stationery
- Date the measures were taken (must be less than 60 days old at the time of WIC appt.)
- Measures must include height, weight, and either hemoglobin or hematocrit
- Measures must be signed by the doctor or a designated person within the doctor’s office
Please note: Federal regulations require children to be present for certification, even if using referral measures.
WIC nutrition education staff will then provide all participants with appropriately targeted education & healthcare referrals. Participants proceed to receive the vouchers for the foods that WIC provides. A return appointment is provided as needed so participants may continue access without interruption.
The following information gives details regarding acceptable types of documentation that we must have in order to satisfy federal requirements for program participation:
At each certification , you must bring proof of income , proof of identity for you and your children, and proof of Tennessee residency . If you do not bring these items, you cannot receive WIC services. All participants are required to be present at certification, including infants and children. At each voucher pickup, you or your proxy must bring proof of identity to be able to receive vouchers. (Please note: an “alternate shopper” signature on your WIC folder is not a proxy!) These are federal guidelines and we cannot make exceptions. If you are a transfer into Knox County, you must provide proofs of identity and residency regardless of the type of visit. Also, for a prenatal certification appointment we request that you bring written proof of your pregnancy.
Listed below are examples of things that you can use as proofs (only one item from each category is necessary):
Must include all income for the “economic unit” (related or non-related individuals who are usually but not necessarily living together, and who share income and/or other household goods and services)
- Proof of eligibility for Medicaid (TennCare), TANF, or Food Stamps (no EBT cards, must provide benefit statement) Note: Not all TennCare codes are acceptable for WIC eligibility and sometimes the computer system is not accessible; please bring alternate proof to prevent a delay in enrollment and benefits.
Current (most recent) check stubs
- “current” meaning within the last 30 days
If unemployed we will need the last check stub.
Note: Check information must show gross income – no exceptions!
- Copy of Court Order
- Government Program Award Letter (includes unemployment compensation)
Income statement from employer (when check stubs are not available or paid in cash, dated within last 30 days)
(Statement must be current, with signature and date. We reserve the right to contact the employer to verify the information.)
- Investment statement
- Social Security benefits statement/SSI benefits statement
- Veterans Benefit statement
- VOC Card (VOC information cannot be used for income purposes if the visit is for re-certification)
- Previous year tax return with W-2 form(s) ( if self-employed only and no other source of income)
Written letter of support from a third party with signature and current date
Must indicate a dollar amount of monthly support. Must contain enough information to accurately determine the household income status or describe why other documentation is not available. A “letter of support” from someone within the “economic unit” is not acceptable. This should be used only if absolutely no other information is available.
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Hospital birth certificate, ID bracelet or crib card
- Photo ID
- Social Security card
- Registration in local/state/federal government programs
- TennCare or Medical Insurance Card
- VOC Card
- Voter Registration Card
- WIC Folder (for voucher pick-up if the folder has been signed)
- WIC ID (for certification if label is attached)
(should have name and address, not a post office box; should be the most current available)
- Rent receipt/mortgage statement (Receipt should have name, address of leaseholder with renter’s current address)
- Utility bill/receipt
- Official correspondence
- Written letter of support from a third party with signature and current date
A “letter of support” from someone within the “economic unit” is not acceptable