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WIC is the third-largest food assistance and nutrition program. In 2020, it served 6.2 million recipients per month , including half of all the babies born during the year.
WIC provides supplemental nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) who are experiencing food insecurity due to limited financial resources, loss of job, or disability.
It gives struggling families and their children access to healthy and essential food necessities for adequate nutrition.
Target is a major chain retail store with locations in all 50 states. They carry a wide variety of food and everyday necessities. But does Target accept WIC?
In this guide, we'll cover the details of the WIC program and explore the answer to the question "Does Target take WIC?"
If you want to know about the WIC program, its benefits, and where it is accepted, keep reading for more information.
Many assume that SNAP and WIC are the same things, but they are not. While they are both governmental supplemental food assistance programs, they have different criteria.
However, it is possible to qualify for both programs at the same time if you meet specific financial and situational requirements.
SNAP benefits are based on a household's income with a pre-determined dollar amount given each month for food expenses in the form of an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card.
SNAP primarily assists those who are well below the Federal Poverty Level, where their cost of living expenses make it difficult to afford adequate food each month. They are either low-income or no-income households requiring extra assistance with affording food.
Disabled or elderly persons may qualify for more benefits due to their high care costs.
WIC helps with some grocery costs for families struggling with limited finances but only for foods that are essential nutrition to mothers, infants, and children. WIC primarily offers breastfeeding support, referral services, and nutrition education.
WIC fills in the gaps to allow the purchase of healthy and nutritious food that families with a limited income may not be able to afford otherwise. Depending on the need, WIC benefits per month can range from $50 to $150.
Depending on your situation, you will receive a WIC benefits card to use in WIC-approved stores to buy specially labeled WIC items for you or your child's nutritional needs. WIC cards are processed much like a standard debit card at checkout.
In some places, WIC may still come in the form of checks, which are filled out at the register for the total cost of your WIC grocery purchase and given to the cashier to complete your purchase.
WIC checklists the approved items on the back if you aren't sure what your WIC benefits cover. But those are now being phased out in favor of EBT WIC cards, which are much easier to use and track balances on.
SNAP EBT can be used to pay for groceries for grocery delivery services such as Shipt from certain stores, minus tip and delivery fee. SNAP EBT can also be used to pay for groceries through Walmart and their website and app.
WIC cannot be used to pay for online groceries or grocery delivery services. But many grocery and food delivery services offer discounts on their services, especially for new users.
Instacart currently offers a $20 free credit for new users that can help offset some of the cost associated with delivery fees.
WIC is a state-by-state-based program. You must apply at the WIC office for the state in which you live with that state's form. The program is available in all 50 states, but some states may have different forms or requirements.
WIC is a program specifically for women who are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding or have an infant or a child under five years of age. They must also meet specific financial need requirements, varying from state to state.
If a household already receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or is Medicaid eligible, they may also qualify for WIC. Migrant workers and military service persons may qualify as well.
Breastfeeding mothers can receive WIC benefits for up to a year after the child's birth. While non-breastfeeding mothers receive WIC for only the first six months once the baby is born.
WIC is not limited to just pregnant women. Anyone raising a child to five years of age experiencing financial hardship and nutritional food insecurity can apply. This includes foster parents, single fathers, grandparents, legal guardians, and other caregivers.
You do not need to use all of your WIC benefits in one shopping trip if you do not need to. Your WIC benefits are only valid for 30 days at a time and will expire at midnight on the 30th day if they are not used.
It is essential to use your benefits before they expire each month to maximize the total allowance for your family.
Your WIC benefits do not roll over month to month. Check your Last Day to Use date and your First Day to Use date to guarantee that you do not miss out on your benefits for that month.
Unlike the SNAP food card program, WIC has specific restrictions on its items. Food provided through the program must meet particular USDA standards and nutritional values.
WIC food items may include:
The food is also based on the nutritional needs necessary at certain stages of growth and development or dietary requirements.
For example, pregnant women need foods that are rich in iron for the healthy development of their growing baby but should steer clear of canned fish like tuna because the mercury content may harm their unborn child in utero.
After the child is born, the mother may need to supplement their feeding with baby formula if she cannot produce enough natural milk to foster the baby's nutrient needs.
For items that WIC does not cover, you can use a shopping app like Shopkick to get points for store walk-ins, scanning, and buying specific items in the app that you can redeem for gift cards.
The short answer is yes. Although they did not initially accept WIC, as of 2021, Target and SuperTarget stores are now approved WIC food stores. The Target WIC system works just as it would in any other WIC authorized store.
Look for the Target WIC items labeled on the store shelves. Target's WIC items include peanut butter, whole grain products, whole-wheat bread, fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, eggs, nutritious cereals, canned fish, infant formula, and baby food.
Soy-based products and lactose-free milk are also qualifying products through WIC for those with dietary concerns.
WIC is also accepted at all Whole Foods stores through its acquisition by Amazon Fresh.
Although Target does accept WIC, you cannot use your WIC benefits to pay in the Target app or on the Target.com website. It is only for physical use in the store. You can, however, use WIC at the self-checkout kiosks.
Following these steps and tips will ensure that the self-checkout transaction process goes smoothly. If this is your first time using your WIC benefits card, you should go to another check stand or do it when you have more time, as the self-checkout process may seem overwhelming.
Before you start, it is a good idea to separate your WIC items from the non-WIC items to prevent any confusion before you check out.
While the self-checkout may automatically sort out what Target WIC items are from the other items, using multiple payment methods can cause the system to jam. This could require a call for assistance from a Target store employee.
This can be embarrassing and cause unwanted judgment from other customers in line and employees who might make you feel uncomfortable with their comments and opinions about those on assistance programs.
While this may not be a regular occurrence in some places, it is still best to do separate transactions to ensure that your Target WIC-approved items are properly transacted without incident. This will also expedite the checkout process—especially for parents with young children who can get angsty in stores.
Scan your eligible Target WIC items by passing the item's barcode over the scanner. For fresh fruit and vegetables, like bananas, you may have to look up the item's code in the system and place it on the register's built-in scale to get the total price per the item's weight.
When you have scanned each item, place it to the side of the self-checkout register in the bagging area. Double-check that each item is one of the Target WIC-approved items.
When all of your items have been scanned, tap the PAY button on the bottom of the screen. Follow the prompts and swipe your card through the payment portal and enter your four-digit WIC card PIN, the same as you would with a regular debit card.
It will ask you to confirm on the screen the total amount that will be deducted from your card's allotment.
The transaction will conclude when you hit confirm, and a receipt for your items will come out of the machine. Your updated WIC card balance will show at the bottom of the receipt.
You should keep these receipts close by to track your spending and ensure that you know what your remaining balance is for future shopping trips.
You can check your WIC benefits balance with the receipt method described above. In addition, you may also check your balance by calling the number on the back of the card for your updated balance.
If you have the WIC app for your smartphone, this will allow you to check your balance at any time and see when your benefits expire and renew for the month.
You can also ask a store employee to print out a sheet of your current balance at the register. The website for your state's WIC program has a log-in portal for you to find your monthly balance.
And if you still need to find your balance, your state's local WIC office can print a copy of your current balance as well.
Finding a WIC food store can be done in several different ways. The WIC Store Locator website is a state-by-state searchable resource for finding WIC-approved stores nearest you. Tap on your state and city to see all participating WIC-approved stores, pharmacies, and adjacent locations.
Your state's WIC website also provides lists of WIC-approved stores and their locations closest to your location. If you have the WIC app for your smartphone, you can search for a WIC food store by typing in your zip code under WIC Grocers to see a list of the participating locations near you.
Many retailers post "WIC Accepted Here" signs at the front entrance to inform shoppers that they are a WIC participating provider.
Now that you know the answer to the question, "Does Target accept WIC in 2023?" you can better understand its uses.
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