During this pandemic, providing for your family is a major concern as millions have lost their Jobs or are in indefinite hiatus. The Federal Government has a couple of programs that can help you get by during these hard times.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are federally funded health and nutrition programs. SNAP and WIC are specifically designed to help out low-income families and their children.
Are WIC and SNAP the same thing?
Although they share some similarities, these programs are not the same. The WIC Program is designed so that low-income women and children can maintain a healthy diet. This program is considered a short-term aid, that is, punctual; and is aimed primarily at mothers with infants and children who are five years of age or younger.
While both are US government nutrition programs that provide benefits to low-income and vulnerable people, they have different selection processes, requirements, and eligibility conditions. Even the benefits are different from one another.
SNAP is one of the largest food aid programs in the United States. In fact, it protects millions of people, families and the elderly who are elderly or chronically ill. Once a person qualifies as a SNAP recipient, they will be able to purchase a wide variety of foods at local supermarkets, convenience stores, and farmer’s markets. To verify this, it would be enough to review everything that can be purchased with the EBT card.
On the other hand, WIC focuses on ensuring specific foods for women, children, and infants who are malnourished or have a poor diet, either during breastfeeding or in the early years of development. Therefore, the benefits obtained by citizens with SNAP are very different from those of a WIC card, at least if we consider the purpose of both programs. Additionally, the SNAP application and selection process is much more extensive and comprehensive than WIC. Why? Well, mainly, because the amount of benefits distributed by SNAP is much higher than that of the WIC Program.
How can I apply for WIC and SNAP?
Before applying for a WIC card or SNAP coupons, you should find out which department or agency is in charge of managing any of these programs in your state. Remember that the distribution of these types of benefits may be in charge of a department of social services or a family planning agency.
Once you know which department is in charge of receiving applications, you will need to apply for SNAP. If you are accepted into SNAP, you are pregnant and your income is not high enough to maintain a healthy diet, you will automatically be eligible for WIC benefits.
There are several ways to apply for the SNAP Program: online, in person, or by mail. However, the procedure and means of application admitted will depend on each state. To be sure of the steps you should take before submitting your application, contact the appropriate state agency and ask for detailed information.
Eligibility for WIC and SNAP
While the WIC card and SNAP food stamps have different eligibility requirements, they do share some, especially when it comes to family income. This is because, in most states, both programs are run by the same social service agency. So it should come as no surprise that the maximum income limits a family must have to qualify for WIC and SNAP are (practically) the same.
So much so that, in some cases, you can automatically qualify for the WIC card just by being declared a beneficiary in SNAP. Now, to comply with the socioeconomic conditions interposed by the agency, your income must be within what is known as the Federal Poverty Level (FPL or Federal Poverty Level). Another requirement that is the same in both programs is the requirement that the applicant reside in the state. Otherwise, you will have to submit your application to the local agency where you live.
One of the most relevant differences in terms of eligibility is that the WIC Program has much more specific qualification criteria. As seen above, this program is only designed to help low-income women, children, and babies, as long as they meet certain age criteria and, for women, who are pregnant, postpartum, or lactation. In contrast, SNAP does not distinguish between gender or age.
Another important difference between the WIC card and SNAP food stamps is that, to be a WIC beneficiary, the agency will evaluate the health conditions of the applicants. This does not happen in the SNAP program, unless the citizen asks for help paying their medical bills. In the case of WIC, representatives screen applicants to determine if they are at health risk or have nutritional deficiencies.
If you are not, and if you do not qualify for SNAP, you may not be able to get SNAP benefits. However, WIC has a point in its favor and that is that the eligibility criteria are much more flexible when it comes to citizenship or compliance with work requirements, something that is much stricter in SNAP agencies.