How to apply for Missouri WIC

View the steps to apply for the Missouri WIC program. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior 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 Missouri WIC office for assistance.

WIC Prescreening

Before you start the Missouri 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.

Missouri WIC Eligibility

Missouri WIC benefits provide breastfeeding support, nutrition education, referrals to appropriate health agencies, and nutritious foods for eligible applicants. All applicants must meet the Missouri WIC Income Guidelines. Individuals who meet both income and category guidelines will be assessed for nutritional risk factors during the certification process. Participant eligibility is based on three things, category, income, and nutritional risk, the details are listed below.

Categories Requirement
Participant must fit into one of these categories:

  • Pregnant women
  • Postpartum breastfeeding women up to 1 year after delivery while nursing
  • Postpartum non-breastfeeding women up to 6 months after delivery or termination of the pregnancy
  • Infants from birth up to one year of age
  • Children from one year of age up to their 5th birthday

Income Requirement
Calculated on the family income at 185% or less of federal poverty level. Check the Missouri WIC Income Guidelines.

Nutritional Risk Requirement
WIC documents and prioritizes the nutritional health risks of all Missouri WIC participants. This assessment helps to guarantee that the program benefits those who need it most and that the help given is appropriate for the participants' nutritional health. Below is a list of potential risks for each potential MO WIC applicant:

Risks For Women
Anthropometric (Measurement) Risks:

  • Low Maternal Weight Gain
  • Maternal Weight Loss During Pregnancy
  • Pre-pregnancy/Postpartum Underweight
  • Pre-pregnancy/Postpartum Overweight
  • High Maternal Weight Gain

Clinical, Health, or Medical Risks:

  • Pregnancy-Induced Conditions
  • Pregnancy at a Young Age
  • History of Low Birth weight
  • History of Spontaneous Abortion (Miscarriage)
  • History of Fetal Loss (Stillbirth)
  • History of Neonatal Loss (Death of Baby After Birth)
  • History of Birth with Nutrition- Related Congenital or Birth Defect
  • Closely Spaced Pregnancies
  • High Parity (Pregnant Many Times) and Young Age
  • Multi-fetal Gestation (Twins, Triplets, Etc.)
  • Pregnant Woman Currently Breastfeeding
  • Nutrition-Related Risks or Conditions
  • Dental Problems

Biochemical Risks:

  • Low hemoglobin/Low Hematocrit
  • Elevated Blood Lead Levels

Dietary Risks:

  • Failure to Meet Dietary Guidelines
  • Inappropriate Nutrition Practices for Women

Other Risks:

  • Possibility of Regression
  • Transfer of Certification
  • Breastfeeding Complications
  • Homelessness or Migrancy
  • Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Woman
  • Breastfeeding Mother of Infant at Nutritional Risk

Risks For Infants and Children
Anthropometric (Measurement) Risks:

  • Inadequate Growth
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Premature
  • Small for Gestational Age
  • Low Head Circumference
  • Underweight or at-risk of Becoming Underweight Infants and Children
  • Overweight Children
  • At-risk of Becoming Overweight Infants and Children
  • Short Stature or At Risk of Short Stature
  • Failure to Thrive

Clinical, Health, or Medical Risks:

  • Nutrition-Related Risks or Conditions
  • Dental Problems

Biochemical Risks:

  • Low hemoglobin/Low Hematocrit
  • Elevated Blood Lead Levels

Dietary Risks:

  • Failure to Meet Dietary Guidelines
  • Inappropriate Nutrition Practices for Infants
  • Inappropriate Nutrition Practices for Children
  • Dietary Risk Associated with Complementary Feeding Practices

Other Risks:

  • Possibility of Regression
  • Transfer of Certification
  • Breastfeeding Complications
  • Homelessness or Migrancy
  • Infant up to 6 months of age of a woman participating in WIC or of a woman who would have been eligible during pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding Infant of a Woman at Nutritional Risk
  • Primary Caregiver with Limited Ability to Make Feeding Decisions and/or Prepare Food

Applying for WIC in Missouri

To start the application process for Missouri WIC, you need to contact your local WIC agency and schedule an appointment. If you need additional help finding a WIC agency, please call 800-835-5465.

Missouri eWIC System

Missouri is in the process of converting their current WIC system to the new eWIC system. It will replace paper checks and vouchers with a WIC EBT (Electronic benefit transfer) Card. When you are purchasing WIC approved foods at a local grocery store, you would hand your Missouri WIC EBT card to the cashier when checking it. They will then swipe your card like a credit or debit card and it will deduct the amount from your WIC balance.

Also, instead of having to go down to your local WIC clinic each month to get your paper checks or vouchers, your MO WIC EBT card, also called a smart card, will automatically be refilled electronically each month. They plan to fully role out the Missouri eWIC system by 2019.

How long can I be on WIC?

Missouri 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 MO 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 Missouri 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 Missouri 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 MO 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 Missouri 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 MO 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.