Thursday, November 5, 2015

The new WIC app is great, as are the changes to the program

 We once again have a young child living in our household, so we are getting WIC again.

Several things have changed since we last had it, making it even more helpful and wonderful.

1) They now FINALLY have a card that is scanned at the checkout instead of the awful paper checks that half of the cashiers didn't know how to use. It no longer takes any more time than any other grocery purchase once you get to the register.

2) They allow families to get a vegetarian/vegan package without requiring a doctor's prescription. The package allows tofu and soy milk to replace the cheese, milk, and eggs (or just the dairy or just the eggs, depending on the family's personal or cultural preferences). We were very pleased to see this, as we don't do a lot of dairy out of personal preference, but don't have a medical reason and aren't strict vegans.

3) The whole grains can now be brown rice or whole grain pasta instead of just bread.

4) They have an app that lets you check your available benefits in real time. It also will scan the UPC codes to see if something is allowed on WIC, which is an absolute lifesaver. If anyone reading this has an issue with WIC ("but them are my tax dollars!") being aware that most people of all income levels use mobile devices in 2015, read here.

If you don't get WIC and have a child under 5, check the income limits here to see if you might qualify. A lot of my friends and family who work and make too much for food stamps weren't aware that they qualify for WIC. Also, the federal guidelines say that a family qualifies based on income if people in the family get Medicaid. I'm not positive how WIC does this in MA, since we have people who are eligible for Masshealth but not federal Medicaid, but it's worth a try if you're over the income limit but you or your child has Masshealth.

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