The checks, vouchers or electronic benefit cards that Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, issues are accepted at about 47,000 retailers and state agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana, American Samoa and a number of Indian tribal organizations, as of November 2013. Some states distribute the food through special warehouses or deliver the food directly to qualifying program participants.
Other outlets that participate in the WIC Supplemental Nutrition Program are schools, hospitals, community centers, migrant health centers, county health departments, public housing facilities and mobile clinics. Because the program is intended to supplement diets that lack nutritional food, the type of food that can be purchased with WIC benefits are limited. It includes milk, eggs, cheese, fruit and vegetable juices, canned fish, canned and dried peas and beans, baby foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-wheat bread, and iron-fortified cereal for children and adults. Priority recipients of WIC benefits include pregnant and breastfeeding mothers with medical or dietary problems, infants and children with medical or dietary problems, and other people who lack access to sufficient nutrition, such as migrants or the homeless.
To receive WIC benefits, participants must be residents of the state where they apply. They must also have incomes below the maximum determined by the state agency handling the WIC benefit program. Applicants already receiving Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, SNAP benefits or other state aid automatically qualify for the WIC program.