How to apply for Michigan WIC

View the steps to apply for the Michigan WIC program. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services administrates WIC in the state including the application process. View the steps below to see if you qualify, and if so, what you need to do to apply. If you still have questions or issues about the application process, you can contact the Michigan WIC office for assistance.

WIC Prescreening

Before you start the Michigan WIC application process, you can use the online prescreening tool to see if you qualify. Please note, this tool is not considered an application. You will still need to follow the application process for this state. It takes about 15 minutes to complete the prescreening tool.

What does the WIC program offer

For qualified participants, the Michigan WIC program provides:

Foods for Infants (Birth-12 Months)
The Michigan WIC program provides and encourages support for breastfeeding. Iron-fortified infant formula is used for infants who are not fully breastfed for the first year of their life. The state contracts with one of the formula companies that provide the formula at a reduced price.

At six months, infants may then also receive infant cereal and fruits and vegetables for infants. For infants that are fully breastfed, they may also receive meats specified for infants. If an infant has a specific medical need, they may receive a special formula.

Foods for Women and Children
Pregnant and postpartum women and children (under 5 years of age) participating in Michigan WIC receive food benefits for milk, cheese, eggs, cereals, peanut butter, dry beans/peas or canned beans/peas, and fruit or vegetable juices, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain choices to include breads, tortillas, brown rice and oatmeal.

Women who exclusively breastfeed their babies may also receive extra food, including canned tuna fish. Special formulas or nutritional supplements are also available to participating women and children who have certain medical conditions.

Nutrition Education
The MI WIC nutrition education assists participants with:

  • Infant and toddler feeding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Prenatal weight gain
  • Anemia or iron deficiency
  • Child growth and development and other nutrition related health issues

High Risk Nutrition Counseling
Registered Dietitians at WIC provide individualized high risk nutrition counseling for participants with special medical conditions or nutrition-related health issues.

Health Care Referrals
WIC works closely with the health care community, receiving referrals from private and public health care providers and providing referrals as needed for health and social services. WIC refers participants for immunizations, substance abuse counseling and treatment, prenatal care, smoking cessation, lead screening, the Healthy Kids/MI Child program, and more.

The Michigan WIC program encourages persons already receiving medical services to remain under their physicians' care. WIC also encourages well-child visits and routine health and dental care.

Breastfeeding Promotion and Support
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of life. All WIC agencies have trained personnel ready to assist mothers with the basics of breastfeeding.

Many Michigan WIC agencies have breastfeeding peer counselor support programs that provide mother-to-mother counseling. In addition, WIC agencies provide educational resources and breast pumps for returning to work or school.

Michigan Project FRESH

The Michigan WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), also known as Project FRESH, provides eligible WIC participants with coupons to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets. WIC participants receive these nutrition benefits in addition to their food package and nutrition education.

The Project FRESH program enhances farmers' earnings and supports participation in farmers' markets. This program partners with the Michigan State University Extension, local farmers and farmer's markets to promote healthy eating and fruit and vegetable consumption.

Michigan WIC Eligibility

To be eligible for MI WIC benefits, applicants must meet all of the following 4 requirements:

Categorical Requirement
Fit into one of the categories listed below.

  • Pregnant Women
  • Breastfeeding Women up to 1 year from delivery
  • Postpartum Women up to 6 months from delivery
  • Infants
  • Children up to their 5th birthday

Residential Requirement
Be a resident of the state of Michigan. US citizenship is not required.

Income Requirement
Be at or below 185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines or on Medicaid or SNAP (Food stamps). To see if you qualify, view the Michigan WIC Income Guidelines.

Nutrition Risk Requirement
To qualify, the WIC staff must determine if you are at a nutrition and/or health risk. Some typical health risks are: low blood iron or anemia; too much or too little weight gain (for pregnant women and children), poor diet, chronic disease, and developmental disabilities.

Applying for WIC in Michigan

To start the application process for Michigan WIC benefits, simply call your local WIC clinic to schedule an appointment. Or you can call 211 to have someone help you find a local WIC clinic.

What you need for your appointment

You need to bring the following information to your appointment:

  • Proof of income or Medicaid Card
  • Proof of identification for the applicant (drivers license, birth certificate
  • Proof of applicant's address
  • Proof of pregnancy, if available (for Pregnant Women)
  • Immunization record (for children)

If you have additional questions or issues about what you need, please contact your local WIC clinic. When someone applies for the MI WIC program the following steps are taken:

  • Review of income, residency, and identity
  • Review of health and medical history
  • Review of usual dietary intake and eating patterns
  • Review of immunization record (children only)
  • Height & weight measurements taken
  • Hemoglobin test performed (over 6 months of age)
  • Meet with health professional for determination of eligibility for program
  • Discuss foods that will be received from WIC
  • Learn nutrition & health information applicable for participant
  • Learn about other helpful services & resources in the community
  • Learn about how to use the WIC coupons
  • Make next appointment to pickup benefits and receive additional nutrition education

The initial WIC appointment can take from 1-2 hours. The other appointments during the certification period usually take 30 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on the individual, the next appointment may be in 1, 2 or 3 months.

How long is someone certified for the program?
Depending on their WIC category, participants are certified for a specific length of time. At the end of the certification period, participants can repeat the certification process to be re-certified. The general certification periods by WIC category are:

  • Pregnant women are certified up to 6 weeks past their estimated date of delivery
  • Breastfeeding women are certified for up to 1 year from date of delivery as long as they continue to breastfeed
  • Postpartum women are certified for 6 months from the date of delivery
  • Infants added prior to 6 months of age are certified up to their first birthday
  • Children and infants added after 6 months of age are certified for 6 months

How long can I be on WIC?

Michigan WIC is considered to be a short-term program. A person receiving benefits "graduates" once their certification period ends. The certification period is the length of time a person is eligible to receive MI WIC benefits. Depending on the applicant's condition, either pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, or an infant/child, an eligible person will usually receive these benefits for up to 6 months to a year. Once they have reached the end of that time, they must apply for Michigan WIC again if they want to continue using it.

WIC waiting list

In some cases, if the state agency does not have enough money to serve everyone who needs WIC, they must keep a list called a waiting list. This contains a list of individuals who want to apply for the Michigan WIC program and are likely to be served. The state agency will then use a special system, called a Priority System, that will allow them to determine who is eligible to receive MI WIC benefits next once more people can be served.

The reason for this priority system is to make sure that services and benefits are available right away to participants who need it most, which are people with serious health conditions such as anemia (low blood levels), history of pregnancy problems or being underweight.

Planning to move

Anyone currently on Michigan WIC that is planning to move, including out of state, can continue receiving WIC benefits until their certification period expires. In order to do that, they must provide proof that they are receiving benefits when they move to their new location. In most cases the staff will provide you with a special card called the Verification of Certification Card (VOC).

To obtain proof, contact your current MI WIC clinic to let them know your plans. When you move, you will need to call your local WIC clinic near your new location and schedule an appointment so you can show them the proof. Make sure to take the special card with you to the appointment to show proof.