WIC and Retail Grocery Stores

What is WIC?

WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. WIC provides nutritious foods (primarily through retail grocery stores), nutrition counseling, and referrals to health care and social services. WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. Nearly 8.1 million people – including more than 25,000 in Maine – get WIC benefits each month.

What foods does WIC provide?

WIC provides infant formula, infant and adult cereal and juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, and dried beans or peas. Some WIC participants also receive canned tuna and fresh fruits and vegetables.

How are stores authorized to accept WIC checks?

Each State agency is responsible for authorizing stores to accept WIC checks. At a minimum, the state agency will consider the prices of foods, the business integrity of the store's owner, and the variety and quantity of foods available in the store. Nearly 49,000 stores are currently authorized to accept WIC checks.

Is there a cost for WIC authorization?

No. There are no fees for the WIC authorization process.

Must State agencies authorize all qualified stores that apply?

No. State agencies must authorize enough stores to ensure that WIC participants have access to WIC foods.

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