March 10, 2020
WIC Assistance is Available to All Who Meet Income Eligibility
JoDell Geilmann-Parke -
(SALT LAKE CITY)—Many immigrants in Utah are questioning how recent changes to the public charge rule will affect their families. WIC, the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, is NOT included in the final public charge rule. Pregnant women, newborns and children up to the age of 5 may fully participate in the WIC program regardless of immigration or citizenship status.
For over 4 decades, WIC has provided early and targeted nutrition for women and children. WIC compliments efforts by SNAP and Medicaid to ensure healthy pregnancies, positive birth outcomes and early child development. When families lose access to these programs, children lose access to preventative health measures that can mitigate significant health conditions or poor health later in life. WIC provides eligible participants with nutrition support and resources that improve health outcomes.
People currently on WIC should continue participation. People who were on WIC in the past can reapply. And people who have not previously received WIC benefits can sign up without fear of negative consequence. The final rule clarifies that WIC participation will not be considered in a public charge determination conducted in the United States, even though other vital programs like SNAP and Medicaid are affected. The final rule does not permit public charge consideration of Medicaid benefits if the immigrant is under 21 years of age, or a pregnant woman (including a postpartum period of 60 days).
WIC clinics and agencies do not inquire or collect information about a participants’ immigration or citizenship status. In compliance with federal regulations, they do not share any personal information with outside agencies, including immigration authorities. Refugees, asylees, and VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) self-petitioners are protected and not subject to public charge determinations.
Utah WIC welcomes all community members and their families. Everyone in Utah may use WIC services regardless of immigration status and without fear of it being held against you.
For more information visit the National WIC Association website or call 1-877-WIC-KIDS to speak to someone locally.
WIC is a nutrition program that helps pregnant women, new mothers, and young children eat well and stay healthy. WIC provides low-income women, infants, and children under 5 with nutrition education, vouchers for nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, a review of immunization records, and referrals to other helpful agencies.