The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides food assistance, nutrition education, and health care referrals for pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children.
What’s New with WIC?
WIC Flexibilities for Formula Shortage and Recall
Due to the nationwide shortage of formula and voluntary recall of Abbott formula products, WIC is providing flexibilities to make it easier to purchase available formula with WIC benefits.
The following alternative formula flexibilities will be available until at least August 2022:
- Allows participants to receive alternate container sizes — including those that are bigger than usual — and different forms, like ready to feed.
- Allows participants to receive a different brand of formula without a doctor’s note.
- Allows stores to exchange recalled formula purchased with WIC benefits.
Participants now have 20 more formula alternative options to purchase with WIC benefits. The new alternatives are in medium and large containers. The medium containers will remove 1.5 containers from your benefits.
- Temporary formula alternatives (total comfort, advance, soy isomil, concentrate, ready to feed)
- Temporary Formula Alternatives (sensitive, for spit up)
– Visit Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services website to read recommended Do’s and Don’ts related to the formula shortage.
- If you are having difficulty finding formula and are using or are possibly eligible for WIC, call your local WIC office. They may be able to connect you to local resources.
Abbott Formula Recall
Missouri WIC received a waiver that allows retailers to exchange the recalled Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare formula products. WIC authorized retailers must treat all customers (including WIC participants) the same with regard to the recall exchange process and possible substitutes, which may include, but are not limited to: the same product, a substitute product in another brand, a store credit, or a cash refund.
Retailers are not required to verify whether a product was purchased with WIC benefits as part of the exchange process. The recall exchange process could vary with each WIC retailer. Talk to your retailer to learn how to complete the exchange. If the exchanged cans cost more, the store may charge you the difference, depending on the store policy. If unable to complete an exchange at the retailer, call the Similac hotline at 1-800-986-8540 or complete the form at similacrecall.com.
If you want to check if your powdered formula is part of the recall, you can enter the product lot code on the bottom of your package on the company’s website
Access WIC Services Remotely
Many of the local WIC agencies are now offering services by phone, drive-up, mail or online until further notice. Contact your local WIC office to find out how they’re operating right now.
WIC Shopping Flexibilities
WIC families now have more options in a variety of food categories to help address WIC product shortages.
If typical products are not in stock at the store, below are new WIC-approved substitutions:
- Purchase Jif, Skippy, and Peter Pan peanut butters in the same size.
- Substitute large eggs for a dozen medium, extra-large, jumbo or brown eggs (organic, free-range or specialty eggs are not allowed).
- Purchase quarts, half gallons, or gallons of milk to total the number of gallons on the checks.
- Purchase milk with a fat content closest to what’s issued on the checks (substitutions are not allowed for lactose-free, organic, flavored, or other milk alternatives).
- Purchase certain alternate brands of whole wheat bread
- Purchase Beech-Nut, Gerber, or Tippy Toes brand of 4-ounce jars equal to the total amount listed on the checks.
You can find more details and food guides on the Department of Health and Senior Services website.
All participants must be a Missouri resident and further eligibility is based on three (3) additional things: category, income, and nutritional risk.
- Pregnant women
- Women breastfeeding an infant up to the infant’s 1st birthday
- Postpartum women up to six (6) months after delivery or end of pregnancy
- Infants up to their 1st birthday
- Children until their 5th birthday
- Fathers, grandparents, guardians, and foster parents may also apply for benefits for the children living in their household.
- Household income may be no more than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines. Families that qualify for SNAP or TANF automatically qualify.
- Nutrition Risk:
- Individuals who meet income and category guidelines will have a nutrition and health assessment during the certification process.
- To see if you qualify for the Missouri WIC program, please visit the income guidelines or the prescreen tool for further information.
WIC provides supplemental food, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care. For information about food benefits, reference the complete list of Missouri WIC-approved foods (lista de Comida española).
- WIC encourages and provides support for breastfeeding. For babies who are not fully breastfed, iron fortified infant formula can be provided.
- At six (6) months of age, infants may receive infant cereal, fruit, and vegetables. Infants who are fully breastfed also receive infant meat.
- Women and children can receive milk; soy milk; eggs; cheese and yogurt; cold and hot cereal; juice; peanut butter; dried beans, peas and lentils; canned beans; infant cereal; infant formula; infant fruit, vegetables and meats; tofu; tuna; sardines and salmon; whole grain breads; brown rice; tortillas; whole wheat pasta; and fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.
- Women who fully breastfeed their babies may also receive extra food including canned tuna, salmon, or sardines.
- Women, infants, and children who have certain medical conditions may also be provided exempt formula and WIC eligible nutritionals.
- Be sure to ask your nutritional specialist about possible substitutions to fit your dietary needs and preferences.
Where can WIC be used?
Department of Health and Senior Services
WIC and Nutrition Services
Shopping with WIC
eWIC Makes Shopping with WIC Easier!
- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) WIC program is fully operating with an EBT system called eWIC.
- WIC benefits are loaded for current and future months on the eWIC card making it easier to redeem benefits for participants and retailers.
- Click here to read more about how to use eWIC and find answers to frequently asked questions on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) website.
Download the WICShopper App
- WICShopper app is a WIC smartphone application that can be downloaded through the Apple App Store and Google play store for free.
- It allows participants to register their eWIC cards to help track their benefits throughout each month.
- It also allows participants to scan an item’s Universal Product Code (UPC) to identify WIC-approved food items in the store before checking out.
- The app features nutritional info, food preparation tips and recipes.
- For more tips and info visit the WICShopper website.
WIC Questions & Answers
Can WIC applications and verification documents be completed without going in-person into a local WIC office?
Yes. In order to support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, WIC applications and verification documents may now be submitted electronically. Please contact your local WIC office for specific details on how to submit an application.
Participants are still required to visit a local WIC store clinic to receive benefits. Call your local agency to find out if they offer alternative methods such drive-up services.
Can a participant designate someone else to pick up food at the grocery store if they are under a COVID-19 quarantine?
Yes. Participants may designate a “Proxy” to go the grocery store for them. A proxy may be assigned during the certification process by making the request in-person or in writing to the local WIC agency.
- .Purchase Jif, Peter Pan, and Skippy in 16-18 oz containers of creamy, crunchy, regular, or smooth peanut butter if stores do not have store brand peanut butter available.
- Purchase a dozen medium, extra-large, jumbo, or brown eggs if stores do not have large eggs available. Organic, free range, and specialty eggs are not allowed.
- Purchase quarts, half-gallons, and gallons of milk to total the number of gallon(s) issued. Substitution is not permitted for lactose free, organic, flavored, or other milk alternatives.
- Purchase WIC-approved alternate brands of 16 ounce whole wheat breads if the retailer does not have an approved brand available.
- Purchase Beech-Nut, Gerber, or Tippy Toes organic varieties of 4 oz jars to equal up to the total ounces issued if 4 oz jars of approved infant fruits and vegetables are not available.
If your WIC authorized retailer does not have WIC food items in stock, please refer to the location map to find other WIC authorized retailers: WIC Clinics and Retailers
Typically, participants must visit a WIC clinic in order to enroll or recertify for WIC. However, during the COVID-19 emergency, individuals may now apply or recertify for WIC remotely. The waiver also allows WIC to postpone the height, weight and blood work that are usually required during a nutrition assessment at enrollment. These flexibilities are in place until the end of the federally declared public health emergency