How to apply for Tennessee WIC

View the steps to apply for the Tennessee WIC program. The Tennessee 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 Tennessee WIC office for assistance.

WIC Prescreening

Before you start the Tennessee 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.

Tennessee WIC Eligibility

Pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to five years of age who meet the Tennessee WIC Income Guidelines and have documented medical or nutritional needs are eligible to receive Tennessee WIC benefits.

Individuals who receive food stamps, AFDC, or who are on TennCare at no cost are income eligible for WIC. Many individuals not receiving benefits from these programs may also qualify. The potentially eligible Tennessee population is approximately 200,000 people.

Applying for WIC in Tennessee

To get the application process started for TN WIC benefits call your local WIC clinic or 800-342-5942. Applicants are given an appointment to come in for a health screening, or to bring current medical referral information from a local physician, outpatient clinic, or hospital.

What you need for your appointment

When you go to your clinic for your appointment, you must bring these kinds of proofs for everyone who is applying for Tennessee WIC. Here are some examples:

  • Proof of Identity
    Such as a driver's license, social security card, shot record, or birth certificate
  • Proof of Residency
    Such as a utility bill/receipt, rent/mortgage receipt, or a piece of mail with your name and current address
  • Proof of Income
    For the household, such as paycheck stubs, food stamp eligibility letter, TANF eligibility letter, or a bank statement

Other documents can also be used. Call your local WIC clinic for more information.

How long can I be on WIC?

Tennessee 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 TN 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 TN 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 Tennessee 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 TN 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.