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Idaho nutrition program expands income eligibility

Thu., June 14, 2012, 9:23 a.m.

COEUR d’ALENE (AP) — Idaho’s special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will implement new income guidelines that raise household income eligibility limits to help offset cost-of-living increases.

The new eligibility guidelines will become effective July 1.

At no cost to qualified families, WIC provides nutritious supplemental foods like milk, eggs, cheese, cereal, juice, beans and peanut butter. WIC services also include health screenings, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding information and support, help from registered dietitians and referrals to other services that may aid a family in need. The average Idahoan enrolled in WIC receives approximately $55 of healthy foods per month. There are currently 44,000 people per month receiving Idaho WIC assistance.

To be eligible for the WIC program, an individual must be a pregnant or breastfeeding woman; a woman who has recently been pregnant; or an infant or child under five years of age. In addition, the individual must live in Idaho, have a special need that can be helped by WIC foods and nutrition counseling, and have a low-to-moderate income.

To be eligible on the basis of income, an applicant’s gross income (i.e. before taxes are withheld) must be at 185 percent or below of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. As an example, for a family of three the new guidelines set an upper income limit of $35,317; under the old guidelines a family of three could have earned up to $34,281. If you or a family member are in the categories served by WIC and currently receive Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, or CHIP, you are automatically income-eligible for WIC.

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