SNAP for Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) is a government sponsored program that provides healthy foods for at-risk families. WIC benefits are given based upon financial need, and allow women who are pregnant or have recently given birth to purchase nutritious foods for themselves and their children under the age of five. New mothers and small children who do not have regular access to healthy, nutritious foods may be at high risk for malnutrition and other nutrition-related conditions. WIC SNAP is meant to protect the health of mothers, infants, and children who are considered at-risk for malnutrition by providing education and free food benefits. The WIC application is filled out during a mandatory preliminary medical appointment at a WIC clinic. The purpose of the doctor’s appointment is for a trained medical professional to evaluate the applicant and determine if she and her child are at-risk for malnutrition related health conditions.

This section on WIC in Texas will cover:

  • What is the WIC program in Texas?
  • Texas WIC eligibility requirements
  • What do Texas WIC benefits cover?

What is the WIC Program in Texas?

SNAP for Women, Infants and Children in TX provides full nutritional support for growing households. Much like food stamps, WIC gives beneficiaries a fixed amount of money each month to spend on nutritious foods for growing children and pregnant women. Providing a growing child with consistent healthy meals has been proven to improve physical, cognitive, and overall growth. WIC SNAP has also been proven to decrease infant mortality rates, premature births, and low birth weights. Aside from providing food benefits each month, WIC benefits also give beneficiaries resources to become more educated about nutrition. Fathers and other family members helping to support small children are all welcome to benefit from WIC nutrition education.

WIC nutrition education provides some of the following resources:

  • Breastfeeding education
  • How to handle digestive issues in infants
  • Why children should get immunization shots and where to get them
  • Tips for eating healthy for pregnant women and small children

Texas WIC Eligibility Requirements

Petitioners interested in learning about the WIC program in Texas may have a clearer picture after reviewing the WIC eligibility requirements. WIC is basically SNAP for women, infants, and children only. The purpose of WIC SNAP is to help pregnant women, women who are nursing, postpartum women, newborns, and small children purchase nutritious foods that are necessary for growth that they may have otherwise not been able to afford.

Petitioners who meet any of the following criteria may be eligible for SNAP for women, infants, and children:

  • Pregnant women
  • Postpartum women who have given birth in the past six months
  • Women who are nursing an infant under the age of one
  • Parents, step-parents, and guardians of children under the age of 5

Although a petitioner cannot apply for WIC online in Texas, he or she may find resources online that give information about where a petitioner can schedule an appointment at a WIC clinic to determine eligibility. During the WIC application process, a medical professional must determine the petitioner and her child to be at nutritional risk. Nutritional risk as interpreted by WIC SNAP eligibility means that an individual may not be getting all of the nutrients essential for optimal cognitive and physical growth. In the state of TX, there are two categories of nutritional risk. Nutritional risk based on diet means that the applicant regularly eats food with poor nutritional values. Medically based risks are defined as risk factors that are derived from health issues. Examples of medically based nutrition risks for pregnant women include high risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, or being underweight.

To be eligible to receive WIC SNAP in TX, applicants must meet the income requirements. WIC benefits are reserved for households with small children that are unable to purchase nutritious foods on their own. Generally, petitioners who are already receiving government assistance through programs like Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or SNAP are also eligible for WIC SNAP. The maximum allowable gross income to qualify for WIC benefits in Texas varies based upon household size. To be eligible for SNAP for women, infants, and children, the highest yearly household income allowed is:

  • For households of 1, $1832
  • For households of 2, $2470
  • For households of 3, $3108
  • For households of 4, $3747
  • For households of 5, $4385
  • For households of 6, $5023

What do Texas WIC Benefits Cover?

Generally, SNAP for women, infants, and children cover monthly food benefits for mothers and young children, as well as nutrition education for the entire household. WIC SNAP will provide beneficiaries with a monthly allowance that is to be used for purchasing formula and nutritious food. Each beneficiary is provided with a special food package and food suggestions based upon health status and the age of the child. WIC benefits may be used in most grocery stores in Texas, but cannot be used to purchase foods that have already been prepared, like food from a restaurant. Some WIC clinics provide beneficiaries with vouchers to use at farmer’s markets to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

WIC SNAP also provides all beneficiaries with literature on how to improve nutrition. Unlike WIC food benefits, WIC education benefits are available for all guardians of eligible children. Fathers and other close family members are encouraged to benefit from WIC nutrition education to help promote healthy eating habits within a household.