How to apply for Pennsylvania WIC

View the steps to apply for the Pennsylvania WIC program. The Pennsylvania Department of Health 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 Pennsylvania WIC office for assistance.

WIC Prescreening

Before you start the Pennsylvania 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.

Pennsylvania WIC Eligibility

WIC serves the following Pennsylvania residents:

  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding women, for up to one year postpartum
  • Women up to six months postpartum, who are not breastfeeding
  • Infants and children under 5 years old, including foster children

These residents must also meet the Pennsylvania WIC Income Guidelines, which is 185% of the poverty level set by the federal government and is based on household size. They must also have a medical or nutritional risk, which is determined at the Pennsylvania WIC certification appointment. There are many qualifying risks. Some examples include:

  • Anemia
  • Being underweight
  • Being overweight
  • Premature baby, and
  • Pregnancy complications

Applying for WIC in Pennsylvania

To apply for PA WIC benefits, call the toll-free WIC Hotline at 800-WIC-WINS to be connected to WIC office staff that will answer your questions and schedule your appointment. Or if you prefer, you can start the PA WIC application process online by clicking here. Once your appointment is scheduled, please take time to review the list of required items listed below needed for your initial visit to the WIC office.

What you need for your appointment

You will need to bring the following information with you to your first appointment:

Proof of Identity
For a woman, driver's license, photo ID card, passport or student ID. For an infant, birth certificate, crib card or discharge paperwork. For a child, birth certificate, crib card or passport.

Proof of Income
Proof of all sources of income for everyone living in the household (ex. pay stubs for the last 30 days, unemployment letter, child support, income tax return for self-employed persons only).

ACCESS card (if applicable)

Proof of Address
Proof of Pennsylvania residency (document with name and current address such as driver's license, utility bill or recent mail).

Immunization records for all children under 2 years old (ex. baby book, health passport), if available. Your children under age 5 and proof of pregnancy stating due date (if applicable).

If possible, complete a dietary questionnaire for each applicant:

  • Woman (pregnant, up to 6 months postpartum or up to 12 months postpartum if breastfeeding)
  • Infant (under age 1)
  • Child (age 1 to under age 5)

If you are currently on the PA WIC program or a proxy for a WIC participant, always bring your WIC packet and WIC ID card to every appointment.

What if I am a grandparent, father or foster parent?
If you are a grandparent, father or foster parent who has custody of a child under age 5, you may apply for the child to receive Pennsylvania WIC. Custody paperwork will be required for change of custody or other custody issues. Situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

What if I'm a teen? Do I qualify if I live with my mom or dad?
In most cases, if you are a teen, and your parents claim you as a dependent on their taxes, you must count all of the income of your household to determine if you are eligible for PA WIC benefits. Please call your local WIC clinic to find out if you are income eligible.

How long can I be on WIC?

Pennsylvania 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 PA 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 PA 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 Pennsylvania 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 PA 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.