Proud Welfare Mom: WIC vs SNAP

:::UPDATE – This post was written in 2013. Much has changed in our lives since it was written, but I remain proud of my family, and we do remain both dependent on and grateful for government services provided through the Connecticut Department of Social Services. Please read other Proud Welfare Mom posts. If you comment here only to vent rage or hate, I will delete your comment. If you have something to say that might help someone or further discussion, I will try to reply. The comments I receive on this page make me question humanities, some days. Be human beings. :::

I’m putting on my Proud Welfare Mom hat today to explain the difference between WIC and SNAP (food stamps). It’s really important, and really confusing. I’ll do my best.

**Disclaimer: I am not trained to explain any of this to anyone, or to help anyone apply. My experience is limited to the Connecticut Department of Social Services only.**

First, it’s important to understand that WIC is a special kind of “welfare” program. The acronym is for Women Infants and Children. It’s the most basic of safety nets, in that the purpose of WIC is to make sure that pregnant women, infants and very young children receive very basic nutrition (milk, eggs, bread) for low-income families. You can qualify for WIC if your income is below a certain amount. Other WIC requirements include: living in the area of the office you’re applying through, and a few other things. The most important thing about WIC, though, and what makes it such a basic safety net, is that you don’t need to prove that you’re a US citizen or a documented immigrant to qualify, meaning that the US government realizes that the most very basic nutrition for pregnant women and children under five-years-old is good for society at large. Or, if you are cynical, it is cheaper to provide basic nutritional assistance for the most vulnerable population than to provide health care after they show up in our emergency rooms.

Unlike WIC, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as and still informally referred to as “food stamps,” requires a rather lengthy application and many more eligibility requirements. It is not just for the basics, but for groceries in general. Very unlike WIC, you can’t even receive SNAP benefits unless you’re a US citizen or have lived here legally for at least five years. That’s probably because SNAP is much more expensive–a family of three, like mine, can receive about $500 per month. That’s not what we get, but you can imagine that it adds up.

One of the stranger questions asked on the "adjustment" form I'm currently filling out to continue receiving SNAP benefits.

One of the stranger questions asked on the “adjustment” form I’m currently filling out to continue receiving SNAP benefits.

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention a dollar amount for WIC. This is the second important difference between WIC and SNAP; WIC benefits include a book of “checks,” or vouchers, for specific foods, to be used at specific stores, while SNAP provides money for food in general, at a variety of stores and even, in some states, restaurants. WIC checks are so complicated to use that my husband and I have never managed, between the two of us, to make it through the checkout process at a grocery store without encountering some sort of problem. Right brand, wrong type of bread–“Yes, you did get the 12 grain bread last time, but that was in December. Now, it’s a new year and we only allow the Whole Wheat from that brand.” If we don’t get everything that’s been printed on the check, or if the store is simply out of stock, then we are out of luck. Nothing organic is allowed. Keep in mind that we are over-educated, native English speakers, and we have a really hard time navigating this process. When my therapist asked me why WIC made me feel angry, infantalized and humiliated, I showed her the booklet explaining which foods we are and are not allowed to get. She made several mistakes trying to understand the first two pages. 

Why is WIC so complicated? Because it involves negotiations between the states and food manufacturers. The state asks companies to submit bids and accepts whatever it can get for the least amount of money. Big companies can usually afford to provide the deepest discounts. WIC makes a list of those foods and prints it on our vouchers. The stores must then write down the dollar amount, send in the vouchers and wait to receive compensation. For that reason, if we wanted formula from WIC, we could only get Enfamil. If we chose to use the vouchers they give us for jars of baby food, we could only get certain “flavors” of the Beech Nut brand. Babies who are breastfed can get the jars of meat, but babies who are formula fed can only get the fruit and veggie jars. Why? Because they only allow iron-enriched formula. Breastfed babies need the iron in the jars of meat, presumably. Just for the record, our local WIC office encourages breastfeeding with warmth and enthusiasm, and I love them for it. Every three months, we go to the office and sit down with the booklet and a nutritional counsellor and choose from our options. We are apparently unusual for choosing the tofu option. Everyone receives vouchers for gallons of milk. I don’t know how anyone goes through that much milk. It’s supposed to be on of my main sources of protein, unfortunately.

We're enjoying organic berries this summer, thanks to SNAP.

We’re enjoying organic berries this summer, thanks to SNAP.

WIC is stuck in the distant past in its nutritional suggestions (processed cereals, juice from concentrate, skim milk for protein, etc.) because highly processed foods are cheaper. Organic is more expensive. I wasn’t really that angry about “Big Agra” and corporate food until I saw for myself the way low-income families get stuck with the worst options, simply because they are the cheapest to manufacture and contain foods heavily subsidized in farming (corn and corn products are in absolutely everything). Frosted Flakes (generic, processed corn, sugary) are allowed, while steel-cut oatmeal (high in protein, hardly processed) is not. We can only get the most heavily processed hot cereals, too.

SNAP allows us complete freedom in what we buy; it simply limits the amount of money we are allowed to spend. We fill out mountains of paperwork, and the Department of Social Services determines how much money we should receive. They put it on an “EBT” card that we swipe and use with a PIN, just as through it were attached to our bank account. It took me months of waiting and hours on the phone to get that amount adjusted after Walt was born, because someone, somewhere, had failed to type in his social security number. Now that we have received the money we ought to have been allotted in the first place, I can feed my child organic products. Because we prefer to eat unprocessed foods in general and because, in the store itself (as opposed to in the board room, where WIC is negotiated), vegetables are cheaper than anything else, we eat well on that amount.

In Connecticut, the only restriction we’ve encountered on what we buy using our SNAP money is on prepared foods. Oddly, we can’t use it for the salad bar at Whole Foods, but we can use it for the sushi they package and sell in a cooler right in front of the counter where they prepare the sushi. I don’t really understand the restrictions, but I love SNAP. Whatever it doesn’t cover just comes up as a balance. It’s easy for everyone, as though you were splitting the bill onto two cards.

You can use your SNAP card at any grocery store, whereas WIC vouchers may only be used at stores who have agreed to participate. Cashiers don’t need to understand any rules or call over managers for any signatures when we use our SNAP card, but WIC vouchers require both. We can always use our SNAP card at farmers’ markets and even receive an extra $10 to spend on fruits and vegetables when we “spend” at least $10, there. WIC has just started giving out checks for the market, but they are few and far between.

I’ve surpassed 1200 words and have also reached the limits of my patience. I’m happy to answer any questions, though! Ask away!

One more thing: I am proud of myself for navigating all the paperwork and time on the phone required to get my family the help we need. I am still struggling with feelings of shame in actually using that help. I can’t handle WIC checks at all. Nathan does it all, so that I don’t have anxiety attacks in the aisles of Wal-Mart (a company I hate, but the only place where the cashiers know what they’re doing regarding WIC). My emotional response is complicated. Money is hard for everyone to deal with, even people who have lots, in my experience. I’m hoping that talking about it will help me and anyone else who happens across this space.


  1. Leah Marie Pickren Silverman says

    I’m politically (and especially fiscally) nearly a socialist. I’m a proud champion of entitlement programs, and advocate loudly for more of them. I also proudly admit that I have used both WIC and SNAP for my family, and am still currently using WIC (although we don’t collect everything on those checks, because it is just stuff we wouldn’t eat… you’re so right about the poor receiving the crappiest food). Even still, I experience shame when using those WIC checks. I get embarrassed if I see someone I know at the store while I’m using them. And that reaction makes me more vehement in defense of these programs, because no one should have to feel that way about getting the help they need. What is shameful, is that a distaste for these programs is so ingrained in our society, that even those of who know better still feel the shame when doing what we need to do for our families.

    Rock on, proud welfare mom. Proud is what we should feel.

    • says

      Well, at least we feel shame together, and we know that we shouldn’t have to! I share your views and well, let’s just say I had a lot in common, politically, with the Norwegian family I used to babysit for. Thanks, as always, Leah!

      • SlackerInc says

        We are former SNAP users and still current WIC users (our economic situation has improved but we are still lower-middle class) and can totally relate to all that.

          • says

            I guerilla garden. The most that would happen is that they tear it up (which has been done to me). It would be incredibly rare for anyone to press charges. Like in Ron Finley and other famous guerilla gardeners’ cases, the city will ask you to remove it and threaten fines, which draws attention to the situation and more often than not, creates community support for the effort and the garden ends up being allowed.

      • Katie says

        Geez… I can relate, lol. I turn dark red whenever they yell across the store “Hey, she’s using WIC/Food Stamps. Is this allowed?” It is mortifying. But in my opinion, I’d rather eat and be embarrassed, than starve because of pride. But I try to be less embarrassed about it because most everyone has needed help and more people than you think need walfair and it helps me feel less like a burden on society like everyone in the world makes you feel. It’s like feeding your self or your children with specifically “their” tax dollars is the worst crime in the world because of how pathetic you are as a person whom obviously sits on their ass all day, with no job, doing every drug out there with the only aspiration of leeching that persons taxes from them. But, when asked about starving children in other countries, it is the saddest thing in the world that no one helps them, because what kind of monsters could sit back and watch another human starve with the ability to help them… it’s like, “Are you being serious right now???” Lol.)

      • Datona DePizzol says

        My boyfriend and I just had twin girls. He is on SSI and Disability which goes to paying our rent. I receive WIC and cash assistance as well as Foodstamps. His Foodstamps combined with mine once the babies were born because even though we are not married we live together with our twin girls. I’m not sure if you know the answer to my question but I decided to ask anyway. It’s about taxes. My boyfriend and I do not work and have not worked in the past year. I would like to know if I could claim our newborn twins somehow or is there no possible way? He is disabled so he can’t work and we both take care of our girls. im not going to work until they are 1 years old and I have not worked in over a year so I won’t get tax forms from a job.

    • Mary Beth says

      Of course you’re a socialist. You like redistribution of money, because you’re a taker.
      Anyone who is “proud” to be on government assistance should be horsewhipped. It’s great to have programs to help the truly needy, but it’s something to be grateful for, not proud of. And anyone taking assistance should be working overtime to get off the dole, and contribute to society instead of taking from it.

      • says

        As human being who would consider whipping another human being, literally or metaphorically, ought to be ashamed of yourself. I work overtime taking care of my son, because child care isn’t FREE. My husband works overtime finishing his dissertation and hunting for a job, at which point we will move up about four income brackets and become “givers.”

        There are many ways to contribute to society. You should consider this idea: kindness. Would you rather live among cruel people or kind people?

        • chris says

          Its not kind that i have to pay 4 thousand dollars in taxes monthly because society does not want to work 2 jobs..I work hard and the takers just take and take..

          • Jax says

            Honestly that is your choice. Also, we as a society should fight for better pay so that we should not have to choose to work 2 to 3 jobs and/or overtime or have to use government programs to make ends meet. If the minimum wage went up perhaps there would be less of a need for these programs.

          • Raven says

            Yes, those people who are taking from you, making you pay $4,000 in taxes, are called “Republicans”.

            However, if you *are* paying $4,000 in taxes, then it is likely that your income is at least $150,000, and therefore you are rich and therefore you have nothing to complain about.

          • beth says

            As a mom I work over 40 hours a week and receive wic. If I were to work 2 jobs daycare would be twice as expensive, and cost more than what I would get paid. I would actually owe daycare more than I get paid and would get zero time to spend with my son

          • Michelle says

            Republicans? Last I checked Obama (democrats) were raising and pushing for higher taxes. And $150,000 is far from “rich”. Maybe if you are single… but certainly not if you are supporting a family. Its middle class, which is far from wealthy. I also have to say that I am kind of appalled that someone so proud to be on welfare programs also claims to be “over-educated”. Why aren’t you putting your education to good use in careers that allow you to pay into the system reducing the national burden/debt… versus taking from it and contributing to the financial decline of this country?

          • BoB says

            I ended up here purely by chance (I was trying to search to see difference between WIC, SNAP, is SNAP what we formerly knew as “food stamps” etc I DID NOT come here just to pound on welfare moms or anyone else who’s struggling to make ends meet, whether it is financially, emotionally, physically (such as with a disability) or in any other way, but I’m not really far off at all from what Chris says, as I’ve faced my share of challenges in life as well, but FINALLY made the move two years ago to jump out of the low paying, mind numbing job I dreaded literally every day and I started my own business.

            Now, I had to risk EVERYTHING I’d scrimped and saved up over my life (I’m 44 years old, never inherited a cent or got $$ from “mummy”, grew up lower middle class) but by living so damn frugal, not knocking up random women (more on that in a bit) and investing safely and wisely, I had built about an $80,000 nest egg that was my life line, as I knew sooner or later I’d reach a crisis point where I literally might hurt myself since I HATED my career so much, so I had to RISK every last cent of that 80 grand to secure the loans to start my business, I worked literally MANY 80, 90 AND 100+ HOUR WEEKS for the first year and now in year two, we’re suddenly turning a profit, actually more than I’d ever expected and just got the news from my accountant last week that I’m going to get slaughtered by the IRS, I’ll have to come up with a MASSIVE amount of tax $$, I don’t know if I can!

            So, while I’m compassionate on the one hand, on the other hand I think, what the hell built this country anyway so that we even have the ability to give hand outs? Was it handouts left and right, free cell phones, free this, free that or was it working your ass off and hoping like hell it all works out?


            I was the last child of older parents, my mom is 93, my dad passed away almost 10 years ago, but to them this idea of a guy just knocking up random women and women just OOPS! Getting knocked up over and over and over again (and YES I’m 100% PRO-CHOICE!) is insanity and I have to agree! We have 5 million methods of birth control now, plus of course the good ol “don’t do it in the first place and you definitely won’t get pregnant” method and yet we have more people who their hands out than ever!

            China is going to run us over like roadkill! Then try asking them for your “bennies”!

          • Joseph says

            Why so bitter, if you pay that much in taxes it is because you make more than enough, do you have no shame in scolding these unfortunate people who are just trying to survive and do right by there children. Bitterness comes from entitlement which is Pride! Maybe you should give away everything you own and then maybe your bitterness will subside. You don’t know what you got till its gone.

        • Keegan says

          Hi so I cashier at a supermarket and there are lots of people that are on these programs. WIC is more difficult to ring up but I feel that it is a better program, because it gives people what they need. Food stamps I usually have a problem with when I see people complain about everything when they buy chips and pop then pay with the money the government takes out of my check every week.

          • says

            I’d like to point out two things: the money that comes out of your check every week is not directly proportionate to the money that the federal government budgets for food stamps. The more important point, however, is that what someone buys with his or her EBT card at any given moment is not indicative of an overall diet. Our kids have birthdays, too, and we watch football. Why shouldn’t we eat potato chips and drink soda? It’s not ok to assume a poor diet based on one purchase, just as it is not ok to assume that someone who seems overweight is lazy, doesn’t exercise, eats poorly. You can’t know a life story just from a supermarket purchase. WIC seems to provide what people need, but in fact fails to provide much in the way of vegetables. Bread and milk are no longer considered the staples of a truly healthy diet, and the ingredients in the brands of, for example, bread and cereal, are known to be factors in the current obesity epidemic. High fructose corn syrup is in the less expensive bread WIC offers, even if it says “whole wheat” on the package, and this is just one ingredient linked to our country’s declining health. WIC sends families home with gallon after gallon of milk, and much of it goes to waste. The juice WIC provides is extremely high in sugar, and low in nutritional value. I can use my food stamps to buy healthier food, and using the EBT card has never caused an embarrassing hold up in the checkout line. I would like to gently suggest that you check your assumptions about your customers, and please remember that you are seeing a very small snippet of a life.

          • Sarah says

            @Keegan: if you are a cashier at a grocery store, you most likely don’t pay any taxes at all. You most likely get it all back in your tax refund, plus extra from the earned income tax credit, and any other tax credits, such as dependent credits.

            So you are a taker. You use roads, police protection, public parks, etc, all without contributing tax revenue.

            Want to be a “giver” and not a “taker”? Refuse your tax refunds, and tax credits. Then you will be a tax payer. Right now, you are most likely making either minimum wage, or not much above it, and therefore NOT actually contributing.

            So maybe you should stop judging people on SNAP.

          • Raven says

            Your comment makes no sense whatsoever. How are chips and.pop “worse” then rancid, pasturized milk laced with hormones and disease? Why is taking money to pay for toxic, unhealthy , disease-causing food on WIC okay but taking money to buy food in general for people who can’t buy food, so that those who actually care about as well as know about health CAN be healthy since the rare person who does care can choose them, and, unlike WIC, only putting disease to the people who want the disease, not okay?

      • Melissa Denny says

        Hi all I wish I could get on Snap :) but am happy with Wic :) have noticed a few things with Wic .. some stores will let you price match fruits and veggies .. like Wal-Mart I live in Las Vegas and I can get online ads from groceries wayy further in the city and take those ads to walmart and get three times as much and I can use Wic like I got 6lbs of bananas here for 2.00 and i was able to use my Wic card too which was great ! and I got like 9 lbs of apples for 3.00 that way too :) and I am guessing if they will let you do this with Wic they will for SNAP too so that may help some of you guys family a little more.. I know how hard it is to get by with how expensive everything can be .. and with SNAP you can buy meat sooo definately check your stores see who does price matching and who doesnt and if they will do it in combination with EBT cards gather your ads every week and make out a great list :) I down load ads onto my phone so I can show the cashier the ad when I hit the check out :) it helps! anyway :) I hope this info helps you guys :)

      • Jax says

        No human being should ever be horse whipped. You should be ashamed for suggesting such a thing. Personally speaking I worked overtime every year for the last 15 years. I paid my taxes which go to fund such government programs.Due to unforseen circumstances and this horrible economy I am now
        proudly using those programs I so proudly worked for and paid into.

        • Victoria says

          I have a question that some may find silly but here goes .. I am new to the SNAP program and I purchase foods for my children and I, however, when I swipe the card there’s two boxes that appear and one says “food” while the other says “cash” .. what is the one for the “cash” box for?

          • Deb says

            Well said. Also, people that receive these assistance programs should have to undergo urine test to make sure they are clean before giving them their monthly allotments!

        • Quan says

          I was pregnant last year and used to live a very luxury life. But suddenly my husband’s business closed. We owed so much money and in seriously debt. Now my baby is 6 months old and my husband works and gets really low pay. I work at home too. My midwife gave me the info of Wic last year but I waited til now to apply for it. Because we even have hard time to pay our rent and car payment. My baby and I are both underweight. There was a interview and I got my wic check right away after the interview. WIC really helps. Even though there are so many rules for using it ., I still appreciate for this program. Because people do have hard time. i don’t know why people judge me about using WIC checks. Because there are very stric rules for buying food. WIC only allow you to buy food you need, not what you want.

      • Deb says

        Well said. Also, people that receive these assistance programs should have to undergo urine test to make sure they are clean before giving them their monthly allotments!

        • Rhissanna says

          Well, Deb, first of all, there’d be a lot of taxpayers’ money involved in testing every single person, (every month) who applied for financial assistance. In those states which have some system of drug testing, the results are excellent; almost no one who receives welfare uses drugs. Arizona tested 87,000 applicants and found only one person who tested positive. That should be good news, right?

          Of course, preventing families from getting benefits because the parents are junkies does seem to penalise children who already have a difficult home life. Don’t embrace the Victorian idea of help just the “worthy poor”. How can you judge who eats and who does not?

        • Emily says

          There are endless reasons why people end up needing help, and it’s usually boat just because we don’t feel like working. The guidelines to get on SNAP are difficult. No matter what though, no one should go hungry in this nation of overabundance.

    • Raven says

      More “Entitlement programs” are not good at all. I am homeless, and I am highly against most of this crap because it harms poor peoppe, not helps them. Food stamps yes obviously are good, and free apartments without any “reporting” or “caseworker” or “disability” requirements are also good (I assume! – we don’t have then here so I don’t know if there’s actually something harmful in them that I don’t know). But there is so much very stupid spending that could instead be used to actually create jobs or increase minimum wage or have better buses or even fix the roads, whatever else would help society instead of harm it. For example, the have “child care programs”. They should not have that. It is a LOT more expensive that giving the petty $100 to the stay-at-home mom for free, and it then requires you, in order to get any help even though $100 does not do anything if your child is under 5, to give your child away to strangers who you cannot even interview or investigate, who will put toxic substances in their body like “lotion” and tylenol, who will not care for them and leave them crying for at least one minute, and this is if you are in a “safe” area where “real abuse” is unlikely and the place is “clean”… but it’s not clean because it will be full of bleach and cancer. If you don’t subject your child to extreme danger then you are not allowed to get the money you are supposed to have to buy diapers. But, if this “child care” crap did not exist, then they would not attempt to claim that there are “no barriers” to you coming 4 hours to the office every single day to be “trained” in things you already know like “how to type a sentence,” and then your baby would have diapers. The “training programs” should probably be removed as well. If you are legitimately stupid there are innumerous places, including libraries and others, that will teach you these basic things. If you are not stupid, like most people except in certain rare areas, then this is just an extreme waste of both your time and taxpayers’ money – and don’t forget that a good portion of stuff you’re buying is also still converted into “taxpayers’ money” – even if you’re homeless. Because the state is also too stupid to give tax-exempt cards to anyone who is homeless or under a certain level so that they are not paying taxes to what the state would call themselves. The WORST disaster of all, that harms everyone, is Obamacare. WIC is now extremely fucking dangerous, but you can just opt out, not use the program, and not have that danger – especially since there aren’t many edible items in it anyway. However you CANT get rid of Obamacare unless you’re off the grid completely. And you can’t really be completely off the grid if you’re homeless when you startstart, either, unless you HAPPEN to live in the South and also have a lot of construction and building skills, and also willing to live completely without money or communication since you can’t have Internet to make money with and communicate with. Because of Obamacare, a homeless pregnant person cannot get Medicaid. There are now 20 different “plans,” all with LONG textbooks of explanations. So, after 2 months, I have still not been able to figure out which one. Obviously I would not be stupid enough to sign up for Obamacare voluntarily,but if you don’t, they put you in one automatically. They already have your name in Obamacare. The only way to avoid that is to not get food stamps – and the only way to not get food stamps, even if you wanted to, is to have not gotten them BEFORE the evil thing started, which we sisbt know about in order to not do that. If you’re outside, you can certainly survive without food stamps. But if you’re homeless and inside, and especially if you’re pregnant, you cannot survive without them. Obamacare is EXTREMELY dangerous. The manuals talk about “the consequences of noncompliance”. Meaning, our “plan” demands you put some toxic substance such as pharmaceuticals used for allopathic lab tests into your body, you don’t do it, then you will have some “consequence of noncompliance”. They will also “make appointments for you without your input” and “call to remind you to go to them”. Meaning that if you are trying to have a safe pregnancy and safe children, they will know about it and possibly attempt to kidnap them as a result. Since Obamacare, NO safe place will accept Medicaid, except some midwives. But midwives are not automatically safe by themselves. In addition, I am unable to sign up because I am still trying to find the information on how to get the original, Obamacare-free Medicaid. Of course you don’t need anything from allopathic doctors that Obama care would “give” you, but it is important to have an ultrasound, which free places will not do, because without one you cannot know the gender of your baby and therefore cannot have a name or name options when he is born. And, like all of the other “programs” except food stamps, because of Obama care, free places where you *could* get something like a nutrition test or STD-babysafe treatment if that applied to you, have all been shut down and no longer exist. Other “programs” that SEVERELY harm poor people include “early intervention,” where they test your child for developmental delays and then send social workers to abuse them and force them to look at people’s eyes or other traumatizifng and abusive things and instill in them the idea that they are not allowed to be themselves if they are autistic, Obamacare gift cards for doing things like getting mammograms so they can induce cancer in people who are uneducated enough not to know that mammograms cause cancer, and many others.

      • Theda says

        I make a good living. It’s not a difficult job and I work banker’s hours. So what? I beat the system whenever I can. So what? I can score some goodies . What’s wrong with that? Those who can’t are just jealous. I know I can beat the food stamp thing but some inside info would help. People do it everyday. How about sharing?

    • anna says

      I am a currently a student in Nutrition and Dietetics and I just wanted to say Thank You for this.
      Many people are unaware of how this all works or who it affects. I am doing a collaborative report on WIC programs, and I came across your blog. It will definately help me explain the barriers and the reality of government programs.
      I hope to educate others on the facts and to bring awareness to Health and Nutrition for everyone.

    • Kayfabe says

      I have needed and used SNAP all of my adult life because I am physically and mentally disabled and can barely scrape by on SSI- which is also govt help. My entire life is dictated by what I have from the Govt it seems. I absolutely REFUSE to feel ashamed because at least for my life, I have NO help, no family and no money. Thru no fault of my own am forced by a selfish Govt to exist in poverty, and this little bit is what I get from a Govt who SHOULD be feeding its citizens when they cannot work! It should also give free health care too but that is, apparently, too much to ask! However I do get a little EBT and use it at Trader Joes and other organic stores. I have a lot of food intolerance, allergies, etc. but they do not care nor allot more money to make up for the extremely overpriced cost of gluten free etc. So I still have to eat what I am really not meant to, at least I do not starve. However it costs so much to shop nowdays, EBT food ought to be getting raised, not cut. I would love to see these people who yell abt people getting free food, try to shop and eat on less than 150 dollars a month. Good luck. I absolutely refuse to mess my health up further by living on Ramen noodles, processed salty TV dinners, and canned meat. I need fresh fruit and real meats. Everyone deserves food and it ought to be provided for us all, even those with money. I absolutely will call out a person in the store, loudly, if they dare give me a dirty look as I take out an EBT or SSI card. It is none of their concern, and if you think I should feel ashamed, I will make you feel shame right back.

      • tam says

        how do you get both…if you get SSI you do NOT qualify ever for EBT in either cash benefits or FOOD what is your deal..maybe you should be ashamed you are ripping off someone else from getting it that needs it…and it’s people like you that keep the benefits from being raised there is just too much double applicants. i saw a man with out of state plates come in and was behind him in line i spoke with him he comes from arizona to california and once he hits san diego area south he just goes right up the coast collecting on different id’s for a family of three..also, workers inside the social services buildings fraudulently pull up cases for themselves or have family or friends come in and they split it. they have no shame and if their supervisors are ok with it they ok the cases and scoot them all along because every hand is getting slapped with cash. its ridiculous. and here is a good rule of thumb..we don’t need to eat meat..we are not meant to eat meat it just tastes good to us..but we were not physically built to eat meat and it does bad things to our health so you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables all day long and have plenty of benefits its all the other nasty bad for you items like beer and cake and steak and big burgers and fast food..that will kill us quicker than a delicious vegetarian meal beans are loaded with protein and cantaloupe is such a complete food nutritionally you could eat it night and day for years and be fully nourished. I lived off of beans and garlic an occasional onion radishes and cilantro for over a year. this was all we could afford and I worked hard. I took my little baby with me to clean newly built condominiums and walked up and down stairs and with vacuum cleaner ladders and a baby and pregnant..there is work out there but by the time they rake you over the coals for every dime you dare made they make your life a living hell and forget about if you quit because you had no child care or got too sick or they were relocating you and you had no transportation then soc serv will dock you from getting any thing until whatever you grossed not what you brought home but what you earned before deductions and they do not consider bills and that is how long you go without food and or help until you get another job and you dont get unemployment either oh that you will also have to prove that you didnt get anything from them also your bank account statements proving you arent hiding money so shitty. i worked 60 hours a week and paid so much in child care they still gave me a welfare check and food stamps and i quit because a stranger was watching my child and i was cut off cash and food and even though they had every copy of every check i got and every bank statement every month they cut me off for quitting and i was not allowed to get back on for almost one year due to my gross income not even taking into account i was so broke i still earned a welfare check and food stamps so much for working 60 hours a week and putting one child in with a sitter..i paid then 400 a month for ONE child the place down the street charges 800 a month .how is that feasible?

    • franie says

      Thank you so much! I’ve held a tax paying job since I was 15 years old (currently 31). When I was 28 both my husband and I lost our jobs due to outsourcing then we found out we were pregnant. We had good jobs, had been married for almost 3 years, wanted to have a family, had some money put away…. Did everything right then the carpet was pulled out from under us. Our savings and unemployment lasted a little over a year but we couldn’t find work… I was introduced to WIC because I was having problems with breastfeeding and they would provide me with a free pump. This also got us into reviving the vouchers. I basically just found what worked and didn’t deviate. Until tonight for the first time I had a problem… I was humiliated, something I get every month and the cashier was just going on and on how no one gets this so I must be wrong… We get corn tortillas instead of the bread for the whole grain. I was trying to show him the book but he didn’t care, so I was actually looking up what I should do when I found your blog.
      We had SNAP for 4 months until my husband finally got a job but you’re right they treat you like a child… Worst even because they treat you with distain as well, how dare you not be able to make your own money,no matter if you’ve been paying for this program for years or not….


      My granddaughter had WIC for her and her little baby boy. There is a grocery store just for WIC near her so she didn’t have to struggle at the regular supermarket to figure out the complications. Of course L.A. is a big area so a WIC grocery store could be viable. They should revise and improve the list of items to be any brand of bread, for instance. Thanks for a very informative web site.

    • Jason says

      U don’t have to feel that way. People maybe jealous because they came from countries where there is no welfare programs. Or they dont qualify. Money is time and effort and when people see u using gr it’s like a free meal. U just have to be alive and poor to get it. And that feeling in that check out stand is well worth the food.

    • Branki says

      Get a fucking job or two you loser. Stop having kids you can’t afford. They will grow up to be losers just like you. You should be ashamed of yourself. People who actually pay federal taxes should not be supporting your lazy ass. Also you are not supporting your kids. The government is.

      • tam says

        How do you know they haven’t worked? How do you know they can work? How do you know anything about them or their lives to say such a hateful hurtful insult to anyone you do not know? I agree someone should be ashamed of themselves but it isn’t the people on this website venting it is the people looking down at those less fortunate and instead of looking at their thinking about free food and cash as a wonderful gift yes..ungrateful and should we have been born any other country we too would be immigrating to that land of free food and housing and insurance and cash..but to live what kind of life? wow how fun, watching tv playing with our 500 kids and living in bad neighborhoods or living off someones poor senior citizen mother or grandmother poor things thought they could have their last years full of fun and bucket list things at least enjoying themselves in peace and quiet but nope we got the baby daddy baby mamma and oh all five of the kids planned because when you do nothing to prevent it you intentionally planned it unless you are retarded mentally challenged in which case once without supervision could happen but more than that should be prison time for care giver. seriously living on ssi is no picnic and if you think this is the life think about how much you pay for rent electricity gas trash and sewer laundry transportation food personal items like shampoo soap razors lotion or a new pair of shoes not fancy just a pair of shoes how about one pair of pants jeans oh how is that at a thrift store 10 bucks used. dont say bad things about people that is so wrong. but be grateful everyone if you were in any other country you would never have it this good anywhere else!!!

    • Kaitlyn says

      What’s cool now is that wic is on a card now. You use it like snap and it will give you a receipt of your remaining balance. It’s awesome. And convenient. I hate holding up the register lines for them to fill out the checks…I’m glad they are progressing forward.

  2. frustrated momma says

    We only qualified for Wic because my twins were in the nicu. We applied for snap and were denied because we make just over the limit. We could desperately use snap as my kids need a gluten free diet out of necessity and it is extremely expensive! My husband is disabled in a wheelchair and works full time. I am his full time Care giver which doesn’t leave time for either one of us to seek extra employment. It is so very frustrating when you are doing ok and your pay is cut by $1.50 an hour because dpw funding was cut. I receive pay to care for him. Without the setup we have I would have to seek outside employment and then try and afford daycare for the twins and my husband wouldn’t hve transportation back and forth to work. So for now we struggle through day to day and we gave up wic because it didn’t provide for the nutritional needs of my family.

    • says

      Oh, my heart aches for you! I was once uninsured and taking two medications that did not yet have generics, none of which factored in to my application for state assistance; I made $100 too much–per YEAR. I survived because my mother and stepfather paid for my rent. Without my family, I would have had to choose between meds and rent. And I don’t function without meds, so good-bye income!

      This part of your story is baffling to me: our society is failing you, in part because WIC hasn’t caught on that some people can’t tolerate gluten. What an easy fix! They only recently started offering soy milk and tofu in our state. What a mess.

      On our most recent DSS paperwork, new in 2013, they ask about medical expenses, costs for day care, care for elderly family members *and* care for disabled family members. I’m not “unemployed” and they don’t get on my case to get a job, because they see that I spend $0 on day care and we have an infant. I am guessing that you don’t live in Connecticut, but the optimist in me is hoping that there might be a new application in your state, too.

      If you have to keep struggling day-to-day, then all I can say is keep up the brave, hard work. I very much hope that the society to which much of your hard-earned money goes in taxes will catch up to your needs before too long.

      • Alexy Nieves says

        Just so everyone who is gluten-free. Soy contains wheat, which in turn contains gluten. I am also on SNAP with my wife and two boys. I am not proud to be on the program but I am grateful that these programs are in place. I worked extremely hard for years and now i can’t find work in CT. I am currently in college in order to find a new career path and land work. My wife was a stay at home mom until i lost my job last year. We only survived because of these programs that are in place in the government. I payed into the government its only right they help the people who are in need. We are still in debt with both mortgage and other bills, but at least my family can eat healthy and not worry about the next meal.

        • JenJen says

          Soy absolutely does NOT contain gluten. Soy sauce sometimes contains gluten, but soy does not. Many gluten free products contain soy. WIC needs to have a plan in place for people with Celiac Disease or food allergies. Whole wheat won’t work for gluten free, eggs won’t work for those with egg allergy. I hope changes are coming…. Organic shouldn’t be excluded on WIC either. We need to provide the best NUTRITION possible for women, infants and children, not the cheapest.

    • Branki says

      My kid was in the NICU and we did not qualify. I had to buy the expensive formula out of my own pocket, imagine that!!! You qualified because you are low income, not because your kids were in the NICU You had kids that you clearly could not afford, yet you want more shit? Are you kidding me lady? You don’t work , yet you thought it was a good idea to have kids?

  3. NM says

    Thank you for this article! It made me realize how lucky I am that in Chicago we have WIC ‘grocery stores’. They are small stores staffed with WIC employees that only stock what is approved in the vouchers. They have shelves of cereal and baby food and freezers with frozen veggies as well as fresh gallons of milk, eggs and cheese and a small fresh veggie section. I’ve never had to deal with the hassle of trying to figure out what I was able to get. I just walked to the shelf and grabbed it. I’ve used WIC since I became pregnant and found it a big help. There were times during my pregnancy we were so broke that I stretched out the pound of dried beans they gave me into meals for the week. I am not ashamed of that. It helped me nurture my baby and while I have become much more educated on organics and whole foods now that he is two I still appreciate the help. I donated the jarred baby foods and cereals to a woman’s shelter and now just use about half the tickets. We don’t eat processed cereals, I make my own peanut butter and juices. But I appreciate that lm able to get some fresh, though not organic veggies to supplement my CSA and organic purchases with my SNAP card. And while I would love to buy organic, local eggs and cheese it isn’t always possible so I get that there too. We grab the occasional gallon of milk since hubs drinks it and he would be buying it anyway. But LO and I don’t drink cows milk. I am shocked at the amount of whole milk and cereal they were offering me, he had just turned 1 and he was supposed to guzzle a gallon of milk a week?? I only breastfed so I don’t know about the formula but I hear from other moms that it was never enough and they still had to supplement with their own money and buy more. I appreciate that in a way, since maybe it will push more moms to nurse. My WIC office is encouraging of nursing but didn’t push one or the other at me. THeir eyes widen when I walk in with my toddler and proudly announce we are still nursing. Makes me sad to think that they don’t see many of my ‘kind’. I agree the nutritional guidelines are quite antiquated and I find having to justify why we don’t need so much milk and cereal. They give me the tickets anyway and say I can donate the food or just not get it. So at least you aren’t forced to eat the food. But yes, if you aren’t very educated or are very low income or don’t have SNAP how can you have access to the more wholesome food? I wish WIC would get with the times. It probably wouldn’t cost much to work with local farmers and provide more produce instead of three giant boxes of corn cereal a month to our kids! If they took the time to educate these mothers about whole nutrition and organics we can really start to take some of this power back from Big Agr. I’m still fairly low income now and we do a CSA most of the year (farm lets me use SNAP for some of it thankfully), I garden and I shop for as much organic as possible. So I don’t believe in the excuse of ‘i can’t afford it’. I understand that it helps to live in a big city, and I am very grateful that just in my neighborhood alone I have several local coop stores and even an amish farm store where the owner brings back fresh inventory weekly -from duck eggs to raw butter to free range chicken.

    • says

      A WIC grocery store sounds amazing! My head reels at the thought: they must have so much more negotiating power with companies about what they can get for you.

      I love our WIC office for simply making it really, really easy for breastfeeding moms to get really, really good advice. I talked with the lactation consultant and still have her card in my wallet. She’s got the highest level of certification, and she’s free through the WIC office. There are posters, but there’s no shaming about formula.

      As for produce, it amazes me how the place you live can make such a huge difference in how simple or complicated it is to get local produce. It’s cheaper and easier for my friend in Lexington, KY than it is for us. There appears to be more interest, there. Both college towns in farming regions. I’d never have guessed that the University of Kentucky was more crunchy than Yale, but here we are. The farmer’s market itself is the only low-income friendly way to go about it, and that’s because the larger organization that puts the market together gives us tokens for swiping our EBT card. The farmers themselves only take cash. I’ll have to look into it, more, though. I was so overwhelmed with just getting started and wading through all the paperwork, and then fighting them, going “We should be getting more than this!” for six months.

      • says

        PS I have to use SNAP, not WIC, for peanut butter, despite the fact that WIC would be happy to give us gallons of the stuff, because I cannot bring myself to eat the crap with hydrogenated oils and sugar added. I literally feed it only to the DOG as a treat.

        • Jennie says

          We buy the Natural versions of the peanut butter, but they seem to be taking it off WIC weekly so the choices are less and less….but what I cannot use, I get anyway and make Bird Suet with! My kids love to see the birds happily eating our homemade bird food….so we all win.

          • eve says

            I am trying very hard not to feel upset that people are complaining about the free things they receive! I am amazed that our society provides so much support but does not encourage Moms to work…I understand that taking care of kids (especially babies and toddlers) is an incredibly important job, but why not arrange child care with a friend or family member or create a “co-op” with neighbors so that you can work @ least part time and contribute something to your own family’s financial needs? It doesn’t seem reasonable to expect government to completely support anyone who is physically and mentally able to work…just because they have a child. If one is unable to work…I agree that they should be cared for…it is simply the right thing to do. But I am discouraged to hear so many accepting something (free!) and complaining about it…and even giving it to birds! I personally know some elderly who would be grateful for that pnut butter…and they worked all their lives. I work a job and often overtime to support my family..and help those elderly that I know. Please…think about finances before having kids, and take parenting responsibilities (including providing financial support) for your kids without asking government to shoulder that responbibility. Soon there will be more receiving aid than taxpayers can support…I am afraid for the disabled who will suffer. I believe that the healthy adults should work….it is simply the right thing to do.

        • chris says

          You shouldnt waste it.Hard working citizens have to pay for it.I cant stand complainers.your getting free food,stop complaining.I have to pay for your food.

          • Nic says

            Chris. Shes not wasting the food the birds are eating it. Birds have to eat too. Duh. And 14% of your precious tax dollars gets divided to programs like food stamps, wic and such. 20% to defense.20% to insurance programs. 20% to social security. 12 % goes to safety net programs such as earned income credits and such and the rest is unaccounted for. So maybe u should be pissed about the missing 14%? Probably a lot of politicians are pocketing the cash so who cares what this lady does with her peanut butter. Worry about shit that matters and not what this lady does with her peanut butter.

          • Stacey shriver says

            chris, I have no idea what your circumstance in life is, but that is pure bigotry to the poor. (i must mention that I do not use any form of assistance) Yes there are lots that abuse the system. If you have lets say a waitress who’s a single mother working her tail to the bone to make ends meet, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them getting help. Or if theres a circumstance where times are tough. My cousin just had massive surgery and he has 3 daughters. While he is off work he gets assistance for food. Just because your poor, doesn’t mean you deserve to starve. Especially when people for the most part do try. And it still isn’t enough. Next are you gonna say “well get an education” Heres a thought pal? Who’s gonna wait on you when you go out to eat? Who’s gonna deliver that pizza? Who’s gonna serve you that coffee? The working poor are so important to our society as well. God get a better attitude

          • Michelle says

            I’m sorry, but Nic what did the birds do before WIC? It is a waste to take something you’re not paying for and have no intention to use for yourself (whom it is intended to benefit) and literally give it to the birds! The birds aren’t going to starve because they don’t get their piece of the welfare “pie”! Our nation however is rapidly going into a financial ruin that even the top 1% can’t afford to bail us out of all sources combined. More people are taking from the “cookie jar” and there are less and less “bakers” to refill it.

    • Tim says

      I’m sorry I have to reply I have made it about halfway down the comments and honestly wish it was open season on “stupid ,close-minded, discriminative people.” My background has me working since age 10 finishing high school then fighting for my country for 8 years spending 2 of those years getting shot at. I use both wic and snap and did so even in the military. My tax bracket is upper low class I don’t think I have ever made above 28,000$ I have a wife and 3 children one of which I pay child support to the state so his mother can move to a different state. These people that get on here and talk down to the ones that use these programs and tell the “undesirables” they need to be horse whipped should really have a look around, open their eyes, and take the silver spoons out of their mouths. Someone who bashes the poor or the people who have had unexpected and unforeseen complications in life needs to be given the boot out of this country. We were founded in the shadow of democracy where our politicians are suppose to represent us and the people are suppose to take care of each other. Does this happen maybe on rare occasions for the most part it does not. For those on the high horses have u actually looked at the price of groceries these days maybe if u went instead of sending your butler out you would understand. I’m 28 years old been married twice have 3 children and haven’t stopped working and fighting for my family since age 10 but yet I should be ashamed to be receiving help from the government that was originally established to help me. Well I just found the people responsible for 90% of our problems. End rant

      • Branki says

        So why did you have all those kids on an income of only 28k?? I never had kids I could not support so why did you ? ? Having kids is a want, not a need. You alone are responsible for needing to be on welfare, no one else. Low income people who need welfare should not have 3 kids before they are 30. BTW you did not fall on hard times , you made poor life choices. I suggest you pick up another job to help yourself and your family.

        • Me says

          He was busy protecting YOUR freedom while he was serving our country. Now he needs help from HIS government.

          How about you ask your congressman why men and women who fight for our freedom and protect our lives are only making $28,000 a year?

          Shame on you.

  4. says

    I didn’t even sign up for WIC during or after my second pregnancy a little over four years ago, even though we sorely needed it, because I couldn’t deal with all the stress that goes into it. First you have to find every thing you need that conforms to their strict and ever-changing list of items. Then you have to deal with rude cashiers who refuse to acknowledge that you’re not a complete idiot just because you picked the wrong size cereal, or chose the wrong brand juice, even though the voucher specifically says, “Brand X or anything of equal or lesser value.” Last, there’s the people in line behind you who make horribly rude comments about how long it’s taking, and “Oh… She’s got /WIC/. No WONDER it’s taking so long.”

    I did end up getting SNAP benefits after having my second daughter, and although I’ve run into a few issues with it in dealing with paperwork (it’s my local office, really), I’ve really enjoyed the benefits of being able to choose my own diet.

    Thank you for taking the time to explain the difference between the two types of benefits. It’s unfortunate, the stigma that is attached to both, because they really are helpful.

    • says

      Oh, the things that I imagine people thinking about me! Our theory is that going to this one particular Wal Mart (and only that one) works faster and more smoothly because there are more customers *and* more cashiers who have used it. Plus, more lines open for people to just go to a shorter wait.

      I HEAR you about the SNAP paperwork! My son was six months old before the local office even put me on the phone with an actual social worker. We’re not allowed to go in person without an appointment. Which you cannot make unless you talk to a social worker. And all because someone just didn’t type in the baby’s SSN. The day they backdated our account with all the money we *should* have been getting, I went to Whole Foods and bought All The Things I wanted.

  5. Lettuce5 says

    I haven’t received WIC for 11 years but it was hard to use then! I work as a BFPC and forgot how complicated WIC is until I read this. Trust me, WalMart gives me complete anxiety and I try to avoid that store as much as possible. I am not sure what it is about that store but I have talked to many other people who get Wal Mart anxiety as well.

    • says

      I can’t go in one. My husband finds that one particular Wal Mart is the easiest place to use WIC, but he doesn’t share my anxiety. I can’t tell if it’s the crowds, the disorganization, the lighting or all of the above, but the place makes me itch.

      I hear that in other states (Texas) they have cards for WIC. I find it hilarious that in CT they are still using the same dot matrix printer on our checks that my dad used for his college papers in 1986.

      • Lettuce5 says

        I know WIC (USDA) is planning on making the whole system electronic to save money and easier to use. I keep up to date with the politics, policy and fiscal part of WIC as it impacts my job greatly. I follow it on Facebook if interested.

        Also, I can add that milk provided is way too much and I wish more fruits/veggies are available to promote better health. I think there is a lot wrong with the WIC program and think the stakeholders of the program have too much input and the politicians do not know enough about the choices they are making for the American public.

        • says

          Yes, exactly this–the people deciding what’s going to be available are too far away. I bet the women working in our local office could tell them exactly what should be on the list & what no one needs.

  6. simonesnake says

    My understanding of WIC has been that it is federally funded but run by the states without many requirements on how to run it, which has always bothered me since I live in North Carolina, which has a terrible record for how they choose to set up programs on their own. My biggest peeve of late has been that I was recently told that due to having a home birth I will not be able to use receive any infant WIC until I can provide a birth certificate and Medicaid card – that unlike a hospital birth, where they have a system set up to accept the signature of an OB, midwife, or pediatrician as proof of birth, they just don’t have a precedent to accept the exact same thing when the birth didn’t happen at the hospital.
    I has also struck me as unfair in a luck of the draw sort of way that how much you get for fruits and veggies seems to vary widely. In NC I get $10 per month for fruits and veggies (no organic allowed, and they only “WIC tag” frozen items, so you never know if fresh produce will go through till you get to the register). However, I’ve chatted with many others on mommy boards who are currently receiving $100 a month in produce vouchers which are good for organic and farmers market items.
    Being disabled and on SSI and Medicaid I find it reassuring that I could move anywhere in the country and still receive basically the same level of care due to federal oversight – so how is it fair that a tiny baby could receive such widely varying assistance just because they had the good (or bad) fortune to be born in a particular sate or location.

    • says

      You are right about the states setting some rules within a basic federal structure, and the links I provide above go to the US Dept of Agriculture, which oversees WIC and SNAP. As for the home birth, do you need formula from WIC? Unless you need formula, you should be able to wait until you see your pediatrician. A doctor can verify the birth date, weight and length of the baby at the first visit, and that’s all they should need to change your checks. It won’t be a big change, though, if you’re breastfeeding.

      We also get $10 per month for fruits and veggies, but there aren’t restrictions like in NC–that sounds awful! As for the other moms, I have never heard of anything like $100/month. There are farmers market vouchers that are new, but our office hasn’t gotten ours yet. I can’t remember how much they are for, but there aren’t restrictions on those, either, in CT.

      I agree that it’s ridiculous that so much depends on which state, even which neighborhood, we live in. It’s not fair, but it’s the American system.

      • Jennie says

        In Tennessee each child gets $6 a month in veggies/fruits. That is all. I as a pregnant woman get $10. Its sad to think we can get boxes and boxes of crappy cereal but barely buy a bag of apples. So much waste, with the milk too because we would never drink all that milk, plus we prefer Almond Milk/Organic Soy. But WIC wont approve anything but low fat dairy unless a doctor in TN says that my kids or I cannot have any dairy at all. And they dont let you choose it due to the expense….but I don’t know anyone who drinks at minimum a gallon of milk a week, per person. So my hubs drinks the milk and I use it in some recipes, the rest I either don’t get at all or I call a sister to pick up my extras. But WIC is pretty awful honestly. In rural-ish Tennessee – poor people really have the worst possible food options and are treated really poorly. At mt local grocery, I get the eye roll with the WIC vouchers and some cashiers seem almost angry about it and some stores only let managers ring your WIC order. No farmers market option here, with WIC or SNAP which is a bummer because I am a proud local veggie lover.

          • Jamie says

            Chris, maybe you should get another hobby besides trolling message boards where needy people are discussing how to survive.

            I’ve been receiving SNAP benefits for the past few months for the first time in my life because I’ve been unemployed for 2 years through no fault of my own. Each month I hope that I’m able to get full-time employment and be able to afford my own food without the help of food stamps.

            And, yes, I actually do work 2 jobs.

          • Jason says

            Yes, Chris, people should just go find that magic Tree Of Decent-Paying Jobs and harvest a couple like you did, you rugged Bootstrap-American you.

          • SingleMommy says

            I’m a full time student and have been for the past two years. I participated in the work study program. I have been receiving snap that entire time. My boyfriend was killed in a fatal car accident driving my car. 5 days later I found out I was pregnant. Do you think it is more important to get a job or to attempt to better myself and my child in the long run? I worked from the time I was 16 until recently and I’m 27. I believe I paid for what I am receiving. Plus in 6 months I will graduate with a bachelor’s that has a starting pay off roughly 45,000 a year. My child and I who are a one income family could not survive off of student loans. Yes people take advantage of the system but not everyone. I do not agree with complaining. I’m grateful for what I get and if I don’t use it I give it to someone who really needs it. They are slowly improving the system. 6 years ago when I had my daughter they didn’t give you veggies or allow you to get lactose free milk or tuna. Wic also provided me with a breast pump. My son was in the nice for a week and I was only given a hand pump. The wic office also has a lactation specialist who has been amazing. I’m grateful for every bit of help I receive.

    • Branki says

      So you thought it was ok to have kids when you can’t even afford to take care of yourself? Where the hell is the responsibility today? You had kids knowing you needed welfare to support you and now them.

  7. Katrina says

    As a fellow person from CT whose husband works at the grocery store, the reason you can’t get foods from the salad bar with SNAP or anything hot is because those foods are taxable. Once it is packaged it no longer is taxable though. So don’t go to the seafood department and ask for a steamed lobster and expect to get it with SNAP. You can get the live lobster though, assuming you would have enough food stamps to cover the $12.99. Honestly, I can see why people get so aggravated by people who get food stamps though. Those who fall just over the poverty guidelines and do not qualify for SNAP also cannot purchase organic foods and lobster because it ends up being a choice between eating and paying their mortgage.

    • says

      You’re kidding me with this, right? I wasn’t COMPLAINING that I can’t raid the Whole Foods hot bar, I was just trying to illustrate that the card doesn’t come with an explanation like “once it’s packaged it is no longer taxable.”

      I think there’s a huge gap, and I’ve been in that gap: choosing between meds and paying rent. It’s terrible. I still bought organic apples. I just ate fewer.

      But please, come here, to my space, and spend your time typing out judgements of me and my family. By all means, assume that we’re using your tax dollars to gorge ourselves on (gasp) organic fruits and vegetables and lobster. Because I write a blog, I must be inviting you to hold us up as an example of whatever is making you mad, today. Seems like a great use of your time, to me.

      • Katrina says

        Wow, I wasn’t trying to bash you. I was simply explaining why you can’t get the prepared food items because you said you didn’t understand why. Geez take a chill pill why don’t you. Sorry if you found my comment judgmental. I have used both WIC and food stamps myself. I’m simply trying to play devils advocate about why people might be bitter about purchases that are made. Someone is paying for this stuff is all. I’m not saying you’re bad or you’re abusing the system. You would have to budget your food stamps very carefully to buy completely organic and feed your family on the amount you are given every month. People do abuse the system though, I wasn’t saying that’s what YOU were doing!

        • says

          It’s really hard to tell tone from comments, and using a general “people” often means that a passive-agressive insult is coming. The number of people who abuse the system is so very tiny.

          I write about my experience, because I’m not qualified to write about the system as a whole. But the details are meant to represent the greater problem: people who need help with the basics are shamed and doubted and jump through a million hoops. Even if you did mean to just point out something about buying organic, I will not “chill” about something this basic and important.

      • chris says

        Get a Job and stop taking from the hard working citizens. Better yet get 2 jobs like everyone else.Tired of society sucking on the governments titt. Stop taking,stop.Get off the welfare system. Your your brain and be usful to society.

        • Lauren says

          “everyone else”
          You’re kidding right? Or do you think “about 5%” (the number of Americans who work 2 or more jobs) is enough to pretty much constitute “everyone”?
          hint: It’s not.

          • Branki says

            Years ago many people worked two jobs to avoid welfare. Today people are nothing but lazy slobs who breed kids they know they can’t support w/out taxpayer help . The are disgusting

  8. Alli D. says

    I’m glad that there is help for people, and I think that food is a basic right. I was a cashier at a low-income convenience store: some of my best lessons were taught by my customers, and I still think fondly of many! I’ve seen the full range from both sides of the counter and the EBT card.

    Keep centered and keep smiling: those that are impatient may not get it now, and for my part I sincerely hope they never HAVE TO… but I am certain that the majority of people believe that supporting our fellow citizens is the right thing. Sometimes they just need a nudge;)

    Thanks for the post, thanks for being very clear about the bureaucratic headaches.

    • says

      It’s a good point: never ok to take it out on the cashier! “Keep centered and keep smiling” is great advice, because it does no one any good at all to get upset in the store. It’s my policy in general to be nice to low-wage earners, but I do try extra hard to be nice to people who have to deal with the headache from the other side. I hope I didn’t come across as too hard on the store employes.

    • chris says

      No.if you have two arms and two legs and not intellectually challenged, then you need to work and stop taking from the hard working citizens.Sometimes the takers just need a nuge off welfare.

  9. Brian Castrucci says

    It always saddens me when people discuss and criticize the WIC program often with incorrect information. The program is not perfect, but, as a former state WIC director and more than six years of experience with the program, I just wanted to provide education and perspective. No judgment is meant here. I have spent my entire career, until recently, working in governmental public health – maternal and child health to be exact. I dedicated my life to helping my fellow citizens, so please read no judgment here; only information and perspective.

    Before, I go into too great of detail let me start with a clarifying point – WIC stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children; SNAP for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Two key words common in each program is SUPPLEMENTAL and NUTRITION. I point out these two words because neither program is meant to provide the sole nutrition for a family or person or infant or combination thereof and there is a supposition of nutrition. With that said, here are some other points I would like you to consider when assessing the program. Let me also offer a call to action – this is our program. It is the people’s program. Much of what the states must do is dictated by USDA, but where there is flexibility (see point 5 below), we should have it. Engage your state WIC director; see if there is a WIC advisory committee. Get involved. I know, we all have limited time available, but if it is important to you, there are ways to get involved. Many of us who work or have worked in my case in government believe it to be a noble professional and a privilege to serve our fellow citizens. You want a better program, a more thoughtful program that balances the needs of our citizens with the purpose of the program.

    1) Complexity. WIC is complex. Not just for the participants, but for the vendors as well. No one likes the long, complicated process it takes to process WIC at checkout. WIC vendors can use signage, stickers, etc. to try to make purchase using WIC as easy as possible, but that is the choice of the vendor. WIC is further complicated because of between state nuances that are exceptionally troubling for vendors working across states – Kroger, Publix, Food Lion, etc. Everyone would like WIC to be less complex; easier like SNAP. WIC is not easy because the food package is regimented. The WIC food package changed in 2009 to conform with recommendations from an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel. There is greater variety. Increased focus on fruits and vegetables. Greater incentives for breastfeeding. Nevertheless, still very complex. However, while SNAP provides increased choice, it also provides an estimated $2B to $4B annual subsidy to the soda industry (, That’s’ the tradeoff. Complexity with nutrition based on scientific guidance or free choice that benefits those who are responsible, at least in part, for one of the worst health crises in American history – obesity. For those who would like to buy organics on SNAP, I agree with you. More fruits and vegetables, I agree with you. High dollar, nutritious food, I agree with you. Soda, snack cakes, Ramen noodles, I do not agree with you there. Remember, SNAP, like WIC, is supplemental. The supplement, in my opinion, should be used for those foods that provide the greatest nutrition.

    2) Vouchers are going away. There is a USDA mandate that all states have EBT (electronic benefit transfer) by 2020. This will eliminate the checks, but not the complexity.

    3) Least expensive options. In the article, the complexity of WIC is blamed on “negotiations between the states and manufactures.” This is not true in any of the states with which I am familiar. There is a price survey that the vendors (supermarkets) complete where WIC is seeking to reimburse only the lowest priced foods. This is important because WIC is NOT AN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM, while SNAP is AN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM. This is an important distinction because not everyone eligible for WIC can receive it. If funding is not available, WIC can institute waiting lists or close enrollment. SNAP must serve all eligible. So, there is an incentive for WIC to keep costs low. On the vendor side, no one ever knows the maximum allowable amount on a voucher. This is determined by the state. Should a vendor exceed the maximum allowable – again, which they do not know – they risk their voucher being rejected which then often nets them a loss on the merchandise, but a returned check fee. So, this is the “incentive” to the vendor to limit the foods its makes available to WIC participants.

    4) Contract formula rebate. Only one formula can be purchased by WIC participants in each state. Why? Because each state gets a rebate from the formula manufacture that gets the exclusive contract in the state. This is done by competitive bid in each state and the money from the rebate helps to fund the program. So, one could find it hypocritical that a program designed to promote breastfeeding is receiving money based on the amount of contract formula sold in the state.

    5) Famers’ market options. Many farmers’ markets are starting to accept WIC and SNAP. This is a very positive way the program can support local, smaller agriculture and provide access to the freshest produce.

    6) Vendors. There are many more vendors for SNAP than for WIC. The reason is that to participate in WIC the vendor must have a specific quantity of non-WIC foods available. This is what keeps the convenience store types out of the WIC business. The ability to accept WIC is worth a substantial amount to a vendor. If a cashier is not respectful, report that vendor to your state WIC office. This should be taken seriously and should be a major training point for all cashiers. If vendors have no signage, ask them to get some.

    • says

      Oh, Brian. It always saddens ME when people leave comments on my space without even reading what I have written, here. My first clue that you wrote this without even reading my post is that you spell out what the acronyms stand for as a “point of clarification.” I say what they stand for AND LINK TO THE USDA in the second paragraph. I also mention using the farmers’ market option and how helpful it is, but that my office has yet to receive its vouchers in the middle of JUNE.

      1) Read before commenting. It’s just good manners.

      2) This is not a website devoted to educating the public on how these programs work in general, and I state right there at the beginning that I’m not a professional. My information is correct, but the point of this space is to express my opinion. That opinion, informed by my experience with an independent nutritionist specializing in pregnancy and early childhood (I could afford to consult her before I lost my job and ended up depending on WIC) is that WIC encourages poor nutritional habits. Point of fact: at least three of the cereals we are allotted in giant proportions are FROSTED. As a point of clarification, that means “covered in sugar.”

      3) Finally, by 2020, when the program has eliminated its checks, my kid will be SEVEN.

      4) Please do come to the Shop & Stop in Hamden, Connecticut and try to find a soul who gives a damn about WIC signage. I invite you to try.

      5) It really looks like this list is a description of the job you claim to have done. Perhaps you should send it to your successor.


      • Brian Castrucci says

        Well, I did read it. Several times. Attempted to clarify points that needed it and reinforce others. Not a condemnation of what you were stating, but as you said you are not an expert. Unfortunately, while I am able to find value in your comments, you do not share that in the comments of others.

        • says

          I find great value in the comments of others. Your comment repeats things I said in my post, which is not super helpful. I also don’t see why you need to condescend to me in order to defend WIC. The first message “I’m not judging” -repeated in your comment twice- tells me is that I am being judged. I still have no idea what you were trying to say, except that I should be more forgiving of WIC and its problems. And, well, I refuse to do that.

          • Brian Castrucci says

            Okay, you have the acronym wrong. The answer you provide to why is WIC so complicated is wrong. I imagine it is easier to criticize a program that helps to provides assistance to millions of US families rather than getting the facts right and working for positive change.

      • chris says

        You are going to stay on welfare until your kids are 7? about you get a job and stop taking from the tax payers. Get 2 jobs like all the hard working citizens. You should be ashamed of yourself taking from your fellow citizens .Maybe you should post a thankyou letter to the taxpayers for giving you all your welfare assistance.

        • Kaitlin says

          It is really a shame that most of our society feels this way. I personally am a working soon to be mom and I personally will be taking full advantage of the WIC program. And if it enlightens you any I work for Department of Human Resources as a SNAP eligibility worker. I am on salary and work 40 hours per week and I still meet poverty guidelines for a 3 person household for WIC. I believe if you are eligible for assistance it is out there for you to use it. I no longer am eligible for SNAP benefits due to my salary but WIC has different income limits in my state. I believe if you are honest about your income and expenses as you should be when attempting to qualify for these programs and you are eligible you should use the assistance if it is needed to support the health of your household.

  10. Brian Castrucci says

    Agreed. It is not perfect. The new food package is more nutritious and allows soy and tofu in specific packages. EBT cards solve the partial voucher problem that you correctly identified. Not perfect in the least but there are many working very hard to make it better.

    • SlackerInc says

      Hope so because I support government taking an active role and projecting competence.

      Here in Missouri things are moving in the other direction and we still do not have EBT for WIC.

    • says

      Brian, I just can’t leave this one alone. WIC stands for Women Infants and Children. I don’t care if that’s not the entire name of the program, and maybe I should have put that in there, but the ACRONYM is correctly stated. And your opinion about why it is complicated is different, but my facts are correct. Negotiating about formula = big food companies negotiating with the states. The lowest-priced items rule is *technically* different, but has the same effect. Big companies can keep prices lower and they tend to be less healthy. I AM LIVING THIS. You simply know it from the bureaucratic side, and do you even know it in my state?

      One more thing: you have no idea what it is like to raise a child, file all the paperwork on time, get yourself to and from the store, pay for the car, the apartment, take care of your marriage, and then feel the energy to say “Hey! Let’s go do some activism to improve WIC!” We are lucky enough to see a lot of our son. Many families on entitlements programs are so busy working that they barely get time to play with their kids. And you want them to find free time for advocacy work? You’re dreaming. I feel disempowered after spending an entire day just trying to get an actual social worker on the phone (they did disallow going in person). Asking the people who receive WIC and SNAP to advocate for ourselves, while you stand there nitpicking at details in my attempt to paint a portrait of what life on this side looks? That disgusts me.

  11. Cassie says

    You own a dog, are a stay at home mom, and want to eat organic. Why should I pay for you when I have to work to pay to feed my children when I’d prefer to stay home, can’t afford a dog, and can’t afford organic for my children either?

      • Branki says

        Get a job. You have no right to be a stay at home mom. You can’t afford it and you should be ashamed of yourself for not providing for your family

        • Chuck says

          It costs more for both parents to work than to sacrifice one as a stay-at-home parent put to a point. If both can bring home big paychecks, then it’s reasonable, but up to that point, you’re just working to pay for daycare. I think that’s where a lot of folks are. Once the kids go to school, they’ll be off the program.

    • chris says

      Yeah, I dont want to pay for you to stay home and eat organic.Get a job, you should be ashamed of yourself taking from the hard working citizens.

      • Tria says

        Seriously Chris. You mentioned so many times about taking from hardworking citizens. First of all how hard are you working if you have time to keep coming back to this blog to make the same comments over and over and over? (Just saying) Second of all, you need realize that just because a person makes more money and doesn’t need governmental assistance does not make them any more hard working than someone who does. Did you know that much of the poor are the “working class poor”? These are people who work full time but often at such low wages that this doesn’t allow for them to cover all of their debts and expenses. Life is a lot about choices a person makes but there is also a big portion of life circumstances that are out of the individual’s control. Everyone needs a little compassion and help sometimes, whether it’s from friends or family. Some people don’t have friends or family that can help them. They do the best they can and try to improve their lives along the way. What should parents do who need help? Let their children starve? In that case, you would then be ranting about irresponsible parents. Just thank God that you have not been in the position that you needed the assistance of the government. We are all blessed in many ways but our circumstances could change very quickly. Maybe you are wealthy-due to inheritance or good investments or just because you managed to save well from a good job. Tomorrow you could lose all of it and you may find yourself in desperate need. Don’t judge or criticize just because you have been fortunate.

  12. says

    The BIG problem with WIC is(and I’ve seen it) that it frees up a family’s income to be used for beer, wine, cigarettes and 50 lb. bags of dog food! I could’ve received WIC but chose to give up unnecessary things in order to feed my child.

  13. Whitney says

    The fact that my tax dollars are paying for you to spend extra money on organic food for your family when my family eats only generic brand non-organic food that I work hard to purchase on my own income is completely ridiculous. SNAP is not meant to be a permanent solution, it was made to be a supplementary program to help families get back on there feet.

    • says

      You completely missed the point of this post, and you obviously missed the contribution of many of the people who commented on it. I am not talking about using SNAP even buy organic milk. I am budgeting my grocery money, which includes SNAP, to include organic produce ONLY for my baby and only on certain fruits and vegetables, because there’s good evidence that pesticides are POISON.

      Do you seriously have nothing better to worry about in the state of this country’s finances, during a GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN over funding a law that already passed? You are actually upset about your tax dollars going to the “wrong” GROCERIES?! There is so much wrong with the way tax money is spent. I highly recommend that you put your time and energy into reading about that and complaining about bigger issues.

  14. Tmax says

    First off ive never used any food assistance of any kind in my life. Our family does qualify but we have chose not to except. The thing i find funny is that people bitch about how the tax money is spent recklessly on food but in reality this is prolly one of the least reckless programs our gov funds. Most of the people receiving help pay taxes and therefore contribute to the programs that are assisting them.

    • says

      Thank you! Of all the spending problems our government has, this just is nowhere near the top of the list. We paid taxes before this bump in the road, and we will pay taxes, afterwards. (We file taxes, as it is, but like most of you, I assume, we take the legal deductions and end up getting it back.)

      Speaking of taxes: It’s important to me that this gets noted–once the money goes to the IRS, there is no longer any such thing as “my tax dollars.” It’s a pool of money that pays for running the government. Or not, I suppose, in rare cases.

  15. charlotte simmons says


    I think the REASON you and your husband dropped below poverty line is what offends some people. From what I can gather from your comments, you qualify for SNAP because you stay at home rather than work (you can’t work out a staggered schedule with your husband that would allow you to take some sort of part time job as my husband and I do?), you proudly admit your husband is using public assistance to put him through a PhD program–surely not the original aim of the program, and you have an upper-class urbanite’s preference for expensive Whole Foods groceries when working middle class people make do with generic brands at Safeway or Kroger’s. All that, plus talking about your therapist, makes it sound like people in far less advantageous situations than yours are paying your monthly grocery bill because we find ways to work while pursuing higher education and parenthood.

    • says

      With love and respect in my heart, please let me explain a detail that is really important, here: the government examines our entire yearly income, then the state provides us with a monthly allowance for food, and THEN I budget that allowance. I do not get more money if I spend it all on organic smoothies from Whole Foods. If we run out of food money, we can’t get more. Your tax dollars go to the same place in the treasury, regardless of how those of us on public assistance spend our SNAP dollars.

      We are allowed to budget our own food money, even if that money comes from the state. Out of concern for children’s health, I would like to ban all marketing of unhealthy, sugary foods by using cute cartoon characters, TV commercials and other manipulations that encourage children to eat the food that contributes to America’s obesity epidemic. Despite my concern for this public health emergency, however, it is not my right to tell your family what food to eat. Even though my tax dollars and my son’s future tax dollars will go towards paying for the consequences of this choice. In my opinion, it’s a terrible choice: allowing a child to eat foods that lead to obesity and diabetes. But we live in a country that allows families to make those choices, so I can only hope that educating families will help lead them in a healthier direction. I do not have the right to tell any parent how to spend grocery money, or where, even if I see a direct link between that choice and an expensive public health issue.

      The reasons that we dropped below the poverty line make me ashamed of our society, which has clearly taught many of its members that parenting and higher education are worth so little that no one should have to spend any money supporting anyone else’s effort to parent or learn with true concentration and enjoyment. I am ashamed that our society asks people to work themselves to the bone to make ends meet, and that it does not value family, in any true sense. Why do “family values” not include spending TIME as a family? Study after study reflects that healthy families listen to each other, play together, learn together, eat meals together. These healthy families produce healthy children, who grow up to be productive members of society. Why does a society obsessed with the catch phrase “family values” not give a damn about the families who face the choice to either live in poverty, accept government aid or miss time actually spent as a family? Why does our society not recognize the long-term health benefits of NOT BEING EXHAUSTED all the time by working multiple poorly-paid, part-time jobs, as most families living below or near the poverty line must do?

      We choose time together. I spend at least five hours a week making sure that we keep our benefits which, by the way, come from the same state that pays my husband’s salary–if they paid their graduate students a living wage and provided comprehensive benefits, we wouldn’t be here. I truly understand how tempting it is to look at details like “Whole Foods” rather than the larger picture. I am honestly and respectfully asking you to consider what “family” means and why I HOPE that my family’s past and future tax dollars support families who choose time together over yet another job.

  16. charlotte simmons says

    Well, if you feel proud that you spend that five plus hours a week navigating “the system” rather than participating in paid work that would help your family support itself, then I don’t think there’s anything we can agree on. Many generations of happy families have managed to spend happy time together and still provide for themselves (we do it every day). My husband worked part time as a waiter and took out loans to earn his Masters. We are now slowly but surely paying back those loans out of his increased income. I feel proud of that choice.

    • says

      Please understand where the “pride” comes from in my title: I’m not ashamed to accept assistance, and I am proud of my FAMILY. I think we can agree to disagree on the idea that paid work outside the home is the only way to support a family. I support my family much better in my current role, in the opinion of everyone in that family.

      A side note: earning a master’s degree is a much different and much quicker process than earning a PhD. My husband’s program asks that in return for his salary, he spend time teaching and writing, and his contract stipulates that this ought to be a full-time job. Because they pay him for his work teaching, they have the right to ask that he spend a certain number of hours on his teaching. His dissertation requires the rest of his hours. Unlike a master’s thesis, a dissertation must be a book-length work with a main idea that has never been written by anyone else. I am not for a minute suggesting that what your family went through was in any way easier. I am simply asking you to open yourself to the idea that my family’s position is not comparable to yours.

        • Chuck says

          Chris, get a job or write your own blog instead of torturing us with your useless opinion. It adds nothing to the conversation. If your personality is as equally bland as all of your comments have been, I can understand why you have no one to listen to you at this hour of the night.

  17. charlotte simmons says

    I’ll consider what you say but will add my aunt also waited tables while earning a PhD in counselor eduction. She is now the dean of the graduate studies department at Southern Arkansas University, so I’m pretty sure it can be done.

    • says

      Thanks for your consideration! I’m really glad we could be civil. I know that it can be done, but I simply wish for space for the idea that it might not be the best choice for every family. I’m not sure if you noticed that this blog also chronicles my struggle to maintain mental health; choosing to accomplish fewer tasks has decreased my anxiety and increased my productivity. I’m not comfortable speaking for my husband re: his health, mental or physical, but PhD students across the board are now asked to do much more than they were, when your aunt earned hers.

  18. Lisa Ross says

    Every person that complains about others using SNAP and/or WIC is judging, period. Judging without full knowledge of the others situation. Are there people that take advantage of the system? Yes. But of every “system” there always will be. Just because they are on government assistance doesn’t mean they are lazy or incompetent. There are families where both parents work, sometimes even two jobs (or more) each and still need the assistance. Mind you, most using assistance have tax dollars that pay for it just as everyone else.

    We have no right to tell another family what to eat, how or why to eat particular items. I don’t know anyone that would appreciate that. However, I do believe that if you use illegal drugs benefits should be removed. That the receipts be evaluated, if the person us buying beer, alcohol or cigarettes, removed. If the cash can be provided to support a habit/addiction, then it can buy food.

    Here in Texas I do see families that buy BBQ supplies, regularly and use SNAP. I am not talking about $75 for a family weekend, I am talking about spending $300 or more just on meat alone monthly…sometimes more. Then spend cash on the rest. Once in a while, ok, but on a regular basis…if you can party (literally) monthly with your benefits, remove them.

  19. Chippy says

    I always knew when I had a baby I would breastfeed him. Up until this past July when he was born I hadn’t realized breastfeeding isn’t the easiest thing. I struggled with it the first few weeks home and ended up using formula samples Enfamil sent me. When I priced out formula and how often they go through a can I almost had a heart attack. I signed up for WIC as a back up in the event that the whole BFing thing didnt work out. So thankfully the lactation consultant at the WIC office ended up helping me perfect the art and I havnt had to give him formula since. We qualify for other assistance but it’s not a dire necessity so we choose not to utilize it. I’m grateful to wic for helping me do what’s best for my baby. I have nothing bad to say about programs that help the needy. And to the lady who uses snap to purchase the healthiest choices possible for your child, I commend you. I live in an area where people trade food purchased with benefits for drugs, alcohol and money. They drink all day and walk around our grass area in their pajamas yelling to each other like complete morons with the foulest language in front of their children that are other times playing in the street unsupervised. I leave for work at 7am they are outside sitting around. I come home around 6…they are still there. Cigarette in one hand beer in the other. YES, THAT PISSES ME OFF. However, there are people like you who have respectable priorities. I’d rather my tax dollars go to your organic apples and tofu than my neighbors manicure and fake nail tips. Thank you for feeding your baby the healthiest way you possibly can. It’s relieving to know SOMEONE uses it properly.

    • says

      I love so much about what you are saying here, ESPECIALLY that the WIC lactation consultants were able to help you so much! YAY, Mama! Congratulations on finding help to do that work. Because BFing? It’s work. Formula IS crazy expensive, and the one thing that I like about WIC is that, when there are good lactation consultants available to moms like you, their policy of supplementing, but not entirely paying for, formula takes the pressure off mom and baby while you learn. (That’s a controversial point of view, but it’s my opinion!)

      And thanks for seeing the big picture with what I’m trying to say in this post. If you don’t buy healthy food, you’re abusing the system. If I buy organic, I’m abusing the system. NOPE. If I use my EBT card for stuff that’s allowed and then my family consumes that food: that’s just USING the system. I totally understand choosing not to use it, too, because it is so much work to get in and stay in! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        • Chuck says

          Actually, if you can’t afford good manners, thoughts, and actions, you can’t afford babies. I’d much rather have this author’s children in the upcoming generation than people like “Chris”.

  20. Debra Guenterberg says

    I noticed you seemed miffed because someone forgot to add your son. Just want to know why would you have another child if youcanncannot (oops) afford to feed them?

    • says

      I usually delete these. But as the holidays come and go, I’d like people like you to look at the children around you and ask yourselves: “do I know for sure that these children ought to be here, or ought not be here? How do I know?” I’ve gotten several of these comments, and they display a coldness, ignorance and lack of humanity that makes me shudder. I am shocked every time someone implies that we give away or put down our dog, but I don’t even have words for the suggestion that I ought to have terminated my pregnancy when I lost my job. We were comfortably above the poverty line when we chose to have a child, and losing my income after I was already pregnant is what put us below that line. I pray for you, and others who not only think, but actually express, such horrific thoughts. I pray that you find some love and kindness in your heart.

    • Dani says

      I would like to add that not everyone decides, ‘Well, I can’t feed the kids I have now, why not add another one?’ I had one child and that was plenty. I was on 2 forms of birth control just to be sure. (birth control pills and spermicide) They worked for 4 years, then they failed. I had my second child. When asking about having a tubal, I was told that due to scar tissue from an emergency appendectomy years ago, I did not qualify. In fact, the doctor was surprised I conceived at all. He told me to enjoy my special baby, and not to count on another one. I instead decided that 2 kids was very hard work and really did not want to count on scar tissue to prevent conception. I signed up for the shot and also used a different spermicide. Nine months later, I was taking another pregnancy test. Though after that one, I was able to convince hubby that a vasectomy was a good thing.

      No one makes a plan for life and adds poverty to it. Poverty is generally thrust upon you with no regards as to your ‘plan’. Well, we shouldn’t add another child, because I see that in 2 years my employers will go out of business and I will be terminated. Oh, wait, and no dog after that because they have a life span of 10-15 years, and I foresee that in that time I will become disabled and have to go on benefits. It doesn’t happen that way.

      • Chuck says

        It seems like what these people are suggesting is that you just eat your unplanned pregnancies. Seems to solve every problem, except for of course the new ones being murder and cannibalism, but they’d rather have that than WIC.

  21. mm08 says

    I love this post and agree with everything, from your opinion about Wal-Mart and organics to the guilty feeling of using SNAP. But our families need to eat, and the government’s aware of that. Reading this was very helpful because I just found out I’m pregnant for the first time and am struggling to understand WIC. Also the way SNAP’s rules change every month our amount here in Kansas is endlessly going up and down and my husband and I have been kicked off twice for making too much ($8,000 per year total household salary is considered too much. Yikes.)

    • says

      Well, the good news is that once you’re a family of three, your SNAP money should be easier to hang onto and more consistent. The bad news is that I can’t even keep up with all the changes happening.
      As for WIC, I’m assuming that signing up is similar across states–your first “appointment” is very long, because they explain how it works and then meet with each new family privately to discuss your individual needs. There’s a lot of time to ask questions, so you just have to manage getting someone who knows the answer or is willing to find out for you. I hope your WIC office is nice; ours was quite lovely. We don’t use it anymore, because it wasn’t worth the effort, but it really did help when I was pregnant and the baby was first born. Here’s hoping that Kansas no longer uses dot-matrix-printed checks and that you like Cheerios! (So many boxes of Cheerios…)

  22. Krystal says

    Some of your comments about wic are false. I work there for six years and wic never allows frosted flakes. Read thing wic food guide.. Sugary cereals are not allowed. The supermarket you are shopping at fooled you intto thinking thats a WIC item the frosted flakes and its not. Alot of times the store gives you want they want you to have and not whats really offered on wic. And thats why I tell my clients to report the store so they can be fined. I agree the wic needs to updated alot of things on there program such as offering fresh fruits and vegetables to infants but alot of times that participants are not reading the food guide properly.

  23. Faith says

    I came across your website when I was trying to understand WIC and SNAP benefits. I am a military spouse and have been separated from my husband for 2 years because I have been unable to find a job that makes anything close to what I make now. We just recently had a baby and the benefits could really help our financial situation allowing us to live together as a family.
    Thank you for simplifying the process. It really helps a newbie like me. I don’t feel ashamed whatsoever about our situation. For anyone who did have a nasty comment to make I would just ignore them. I remind myself that my husband sacrifices his life for all Americans, even those that he disagrees with, and that is an example of Christ in my opinion. If they don’t like how I live and the sacrifices I make, that is there issue.

    • says

      You are so right. Turn the other cheek, right? It is much healthier to take a breath and remind myself that they don’t know much about me from a WIC check or a SNAP card, and that I know that our lives are something to be proud of. So many prayers for your family. Persistence is the key to getting through this process. Just keep filing paperwork, and you’ll eventually make headway!

  24. Kirk says

    So it seems you were on SNAP and WIC at the same time is that true? We are dealing with the same sort of thing in our family as my partner is pregnant. We have SNAP and are working on getting WIC but aren’t sure if you can be on both.

    • says

      Hi Kirk! The two programs are completely separate, and you can be on both at the same time. This is, in fact, encouraged! If you have both, Mama and Baby(ies) can eat WIC foods and put a big dent in the grocery bill, letting you stretch your SNAP dollars further.

  25. Sarah says

    Thank you for this piece. I began receiving WIC less than a week ago and am in the process of applying for SNAP. For the record, both my partner and I work full time, I have my Master’s, and he is continuing his education by going to school full time with the aim of improving our station. We are not just laying about with the aim of mooching off the system as seems to be the common misconception about WIC/SNAP recipients.

    My first experience trying to use a voucher was horrible, and I’m relieved to know that I’m not alone in that department. The guide I was given by a WIC office 4 days ago listed foods that the vendor (Rainbow Foods – a major grocery store in MN) insisted did not qualify. For example, Pepperidge Farm’s whole wheat bread is clearly photographed and listed as a WIC option, as are a number of other brands of wheat bread. At the check out line I was told that I the only get brand that I could get was Sara Lee Classic wheat (a pretty uninspiring loaf if you are unfamiliar). Juice was a similar issue. I am not a fan of grape or apple since they always taste cloyingly sweet to me; so there goes a good chunk of my options. Same problem with meeting the vitamin C requirements while also avoiding blends. Across the fridge and shelf-stable items I couldn’t find anything except orange juice that was a single fruit juice with 120% of the daily vitamin C allowance. Almost everything just had 100%. Then, to make it even better, after scanning probably 20 non-frozen oj options, I realized all of them were 59 oz, not 64 oz containers. I grabbed a carton and figured that getting a smaller amount must be acceptable since 64 oz containers don’t seem to exist anymore. NOPE. I will say that my cashier was really apologetic and sweet about it; it was more the death glares I got from the people in line behind me as I ran back and forth to get the “right” items that made the experience excruciating. That and the fact that I tried extremely hard to follow the guide and still failed.

    I have to say that one of things I find most frustrating as I research WIC and SNAP is the number of people who complain about struggling to feed their families and not qualifying for aid and then attack people who are aid recipients. First of all, I can’t help but suspect that at least some of them would have accepted assistance if they could have, and their anti-WIC/SNAP stances developed after they themselves could not benefit from the programs. Secondly, if you make enough that you can’t qualify for food assistance and are still struggling, why on earth would you deprive people who make so little they do qualify from getting any help that they can? There’s this “I have little so you should have less” attitude that makes absolutely no sense to me.

    • says

      Thank you for leaving this comment, today. I didn’t quite know what to say to the one just above yours. Not an awesome way to start my morning, that.

      I, too, am most confused by comparisons between lives, as though my prioritizing organic and discomfort with all the sugar in juice has anything to do with anything that anyone else eats. I simply don’t understand.

    • Chuck says

      Sarah, I absolutely applaud your words. “I have little so you should have less.” That’s the best summary of their negative attitudes. Everyone is suffering, but someone else suffering more won’t make your situation any better, so either be happy that someone is getting the help they need or nothing at all.

  26. gina says

    Great article. Thank you. Can you provide any more specifics on what I can buy and not buy with SNAP at Whole Foods? Much appreciated.

  27. Laura says

    I came across your page here while searching for an ingredients label for the one and only approved loaf of bread available with WIC coupons where I shop, Sara Lee classic whole wheat- nasty stuff. The people on here who complain about WIC recipients “spending their tax dollars” apparently have no clue just how LITTLE that program provides. Six dollars a month total for all fruits and veggies, for instance. I noticed that no one seems to have mentioned the deadbeat dads who so often force us into seeking assistance. Maybe if the powers that be took failure to pay support seriously, instead of ignoring the problem, more mothers could get off of assistance. Or another question for the complainers: Have they any clue how much of their tax dollars go to corporate welfare? Subsidies and tax write offs for companies that make billions in profit, pay their CEOs obscene amounts of money and outsource our jobs, leaving us to struggle here? It is in the thousands annually, the amount they personally pay out of their tax money going to corporate welfare, while SNAP and welfare benefits probably total less than $200 annually. They are angry at the wrong people. I am a single mother of two who would very much like to have a decent full time job to support my children on my own. Child care full time here is about $1200 month. That would have to be some good job, to have anything left to pay rent or anything else after that bill. So what did I do, I cut that bill to $900 for 3 days per week, and am a full time student. In my mid-40s. I am now supporting my children with school loans, most of it going to child care, (and no, nothing subsidized in my area) disqualifying me for food stamps, as I kick the can and hope everything works out in the end, and I don’t just have a degree and debt. I literally did not know what else to do. So the people on here hating on those who are forced to seek assistance should feel lucky they don’t have to do so, and stop labeling everyone who does as a “taker” and believing we are all lazy and worthless. You know who is lazy and worthless? Those CEOs who are REALLY the ones stealing your hard earned money and paying zero taxes as they stash everything in offshore accounts. *Kick soap box back under the sink, goes back to my homework* Good blog, Anne-Marie Lindsay, glad I came across it.

    • says

      Thank you! I hold my breath (literally) whenever I get email that someone has commented on this post. But seriously, the WIC recommendations are like a guide to raising kids who tend toward obesity! All the bad habits! All outdated nutrition info. Has no one funding this thing ever seen a freaking food pyramid? I know that it’s “supplemental” but they are DIScouraging consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. So ridiculous.

  28. I Don't Understand Your Thought Process says

    Hello, I was directed to this website from the comments section of an article that I was reading about income inequality….I am confused as to how you can be “proud” to be on any sort of government assistance….you should be grateful, not proud…I noticed another commenter mentioned something similar and your response was the predictable diatribe about being down on your luck and a temporary position etc and that you work overtime (gasp!) while your husband finishes his dissertation, at which point you expect to move up 4 income brackets (whatever that means…)…Guess what, I’m a father of two and support my wife who stays home to raise our children…I work for a modest salary while also pursuing an MBA… I provide for my family by putting a roof over their heads, food on the table, love and support at the house without ever taking a dime from the government…My point is you’re making an excuse for your situation rather than doing something about it….I was raised by my father who worked two jobs and went to school at night to make sure I was taken care of….As far as what you are “allowed” to buy with your welfare, you should not be complaining! It is at zero cost to you…if you don’t like your options, do something to change them…you are an example of why our society is in decline…congratulations

    • says

      I am not proud OF using government assistance, I am proud, in general, of my life choices (not ashamed) and also use government assistance. This post was specifically written to explain the difference between two programs; ask any nutritionist what he thinks of WIC’s recommendations, and he will tell you that they are outdated. I complain about the poor in this country being left with no alternative but unhealthy choices. I do not complain about my own situation, since I am lucky enough to have so much help and also be able to raise my son, with his father, spending time as a family. We prioritize that over earning more at minimum wage jobs. I do have three work-from-home jobs. We work hard. So do lots of families who cannot make ends meet, no matter how hard they work. That is a reason for a decline in our society, if in fact there is one. I pray that you find more kindness in your heart, and a deeper tolerance for choices that are different from yours.

  29. Louie Louie says

    I can’t believe I actually finish reading this post. I would like to point out few facts. 1, your husband let his family survive on WIC and SNAP. 2, throught out the whole blog I did not seem one word from him defending your honor. 3, He is the one on PHD program, and you are not. I believe that man were born to protect his love ones. A man without pride is a man doesn’t worth a dime. I dont know you well but I just comment on my obervation.

    • says

      You’re entitled to your views on gender roles, but we certainly don’t subscribe to the ones you’re describing. No one suffered any loss of pride.

  30. luella says

    if anyone sees this and buys wic at walmart, on the price label there is a little bold w on right upper corner if its wic approved. i was complaining to my hubby about how hard it is to shop for wic and he works there and told me that inside info and it has helped greatly… as for peanutbutter…there is a brand walmart sells where ingredients were solely peanuts and salt.

  31. Beth Stockton says

    Thank you for this post. I stumbled upon it after googling info on using WIC. I recently resigned from my full time job because the stress was not healthy for my (surprise twin) pregnancy. I also have a 4 year old son and my husband works full time as a teacher. We applied and found out yesterday that we were approved for Medicaid and WIC. I will admit it was VERY humbling to see the words “pregnant woman in poverty” as the reason for acceptance. I have a BA is education and never in my life thought I would need government assistance, but I am so grateful to know it is there for us.
    I could continue working and work after the twins come, but we would be sinking 400 plus dollars a week in child care costs and basically go bankrupt with medical bills and the general expenses of living (I’m talking necessities- we don’t have cable tv or spend any money on entertainment). I feel like we are making the best decision for our family for this season in life.

    • says

      Thank you for writing this one the same day that I delete a comment that called my son a horrible name. I sometimes wonder why I put this out there, but it’s for this exact reason – some of us are choosing to enjoy our lives instead of ruining our health with jobs we hate and don’t earn much doing. Good luck to you, and may you have a joyful pregnancy and birthing!

  32. R says

    I just spent an hour reading your article and the comments. I consider myself a fairly sharp tongued human, but there is absolutely no way I could have handled all of the misdirected, stupid, hateful, and odd comments the way you did. Bravo. Good for you—for choosing to be a family. You realize that your son’s childhood is finite. He needs his parents. I can only HOPE that a percentage of the dollars that my family spends on taxes help families like yours. You put the know-it-all SNAP/WIC “expert” back where he belongs. Love it! And who the hell is this “chris” guy? That guy…..ew. EW!
    Way to stay strong.

    • says

      Thank you for this comment! I had to block an email address from commenting – the ones I delete are really beyond belief. My criteria involve “is this an actual argument, or just an insult?” and “is there a question, here?” As you can see, I don’t delete every negative comment. But the one saying my son is just a “welfare rat” went straight to the trash! I wish I was always able to respond with equanimity, but I think when I do, I encourage discussion. Leaving up cruel and insulting comments serves no purpose. But I do need strength to moderate comments here!

  33. Please Get A Clue People says

    I just wanted to say that I find the people who are upset about their tax dollars going towards people who are “choosing” to sit at home obviously have never needed assistance. That is good for you! But your conceitedness will one day land you to choose between receiving assistance or going without the basic needs for survival. How dare anyone reprimand someone for using assistance after the government rigorously approved them to receive help. There is very little room to try to cheat the system like some might think. Especially because your tax dollars go to fund a lot more “important” things like: unnecessary wars. The point is that the US spends a ridiculous amount of money abroad and people are mad that we are spending at home to take care of our own people. That is just ludicrous! Who cares if they choose to shop at Whole Foods?! The only people who are mad that they are using SNAP at Whole Foods is because they wish they could! Shame those people are like crabs in a barrel, they figure that since they can’t afford it neither should you. There is hate in their hearts to think that someone should choose to abort their pregnancies because life happened and their situation changed. Shame on you!

  34. HB says

    This article is really helpful to me. I’m pregnant and severely gluten intolerant (probably celiac … but not formally tested or diagnosed), also lactose intolerant, and can tolerate only miniscule quantities of corn and peanuts without getting sick. People I know have been telling me to apply for WIC and I’ve been trying to decide whether it would even be worthwhile for us given my dietary needs. I would be able to use the beans, eggs, juice, possibly canned fish (??) and rice (depending on the allowed brands … a lot of rice is cross-contaminated with wheat). Would it be worth the hassle and humiliation? I’m still not sure. Hoping to scrape by without it.

    I feel there needs to be more sensitivity to food allergies in programs like this, especially if they are going to be so controlling. Wheat and milk almost destroyed my intestines; it’s depressing to see them glorified by the government as staples of a healthy diet. I just completed a class that included a state-run nutrition course, and the nutritionist admitted that the reason why she has to talk so much about the benefits of milk is that her program is being funded by Big Dairy.

    Thanks again for braving the naysayers in order to put this information out there.

    • says

      I learned to love sardines! One of the healthiest pregnant lady foods out there. But not covered–they would direct you to tuna, and it was the less yummy kind. You’ll get enough eggs and beans to last 10 years, but you probably won’t like your juice options. There’s usually only one brand of rice allowed. We just stopped going. But if your area has a farmer’s market program, that was the one awesome perk! Unfortunately, they still didn’t get it going by the middle of last summer, when we stopped getting new paper tickets. It was so much work for so little nutrition. (And hey, naysayers, I’m not complaining about work–I’m complaining that all that work by all those people, and all those tax dollars, yield such little reward!)

    • Nicky says

      You can get some gluten free cereals, the beans, rice eggs, tuna, vegetables and with a Dr. note lactose free milk. I take lactose intolerance capsules so I can eat the cheese.

  35. T says

    I just want to say thank you for being a voice for those of use who need assistance, temporarily, in order to survive and get back on our feet. I have a college degree and a teaching certificate and find it humbling and, at times, feel ashamed, to be on SNAP. But, as an adult, we sometimes have to put away our idealized beliefs, our pride, and do whatever it takes in order to support our family. It is just a fact of life right now. I apply for jobs everyday, of every kind, not just teaching. There seems to be a disconnect in those who judge and say, “get a job.” I’d love to get a job. I love being self-sufficient. The reality is that jobs are few and far between. For the last teaching job that I applied for there had been 45 applicants for that one job. Currently, it is a tough job market and a tough economy. It is a privileged perspective indeed to say there should not be welfare of any kind. How nice for you. But also, how sad for you, to be so wholly selfish as to not take into account the many families living below the poverty line. Thank you, Ann-Marie, for writing this blog. Maybe it will help someone feel a little less ashamed that they need some help right now.

    • Julie says


      Thanks for all this information. We don’t qualify for we are over a month :-/ but have an appointment to apply for wic.

      Some people are so judgmental. My husband and I are both well educated and he is working overtime at a poorly paying job to pay our bills after losing his 1099 position. I had a child two years ago and would love to now return to work and can’t get hired anywhere, not even walmart or mcdonalds. After bills we have $50 left to buy gas, groceries, clothes and medicine. We are uninsured. Why should we feel guilty for accepting the help we can get when we have no choice.

      • says

        I hope it’s still relevant information; things seems to change too quickly or not at all. I find that the most ignorant comments try to shame us for having kids, saying it’s “irresponsible” if we can’t support them. Since I can’t tell the future, and don’t know anyone who can do it for me, I’m going to roll with what happened to make us so financially unstable and accept the help we need!

  36. Amanda says

    After I had my son in 2011, I had a reaction to a antibiotic from my c section. It turned into an autoimmune disease. I was unable to return to work after the alloted 8 weeks. I no longer was able to receive the disability income. I applied for medi-cal, which in Ca, when you apply for medi-cal,you also applying for SNAP. To my surprise I qualified. I was on it for 5 months. The month I returned to work,I called my “case manager” and explained I was back to work and could budget my income enough for groceries. I asked her to remove my from the program. 3 months later I received a letter stating “they” had made a mistake and over paid me. I was to pay $1600 back to social services. I felt like I was being punished for being honest. I did pay it back (sorry for my rant). In May of 2013 I broke my back at work. I was being compensated until April of this year. At that time I was considered released from my job and workman’s comp is supposed to be compensating me but isn’t. Sadly I had to file for disability (I’m still waiting to find out if I will be accepted) even sadder is I had to sign up for SNAP again They said workman’s comp is giving me compensation when I haven’t received anything from them (ever) I’m afraid if i do qualify again, that I’ll get screwed again. how do they see income if the income isn’t there. (Sorry for ranting again) BTW I love your article!

    • says

      It’s hard not to rant! And I do feel like there is so much hostility towards changing something, once it’s been rubber stamped, that I’m always afraid to report something between redeterminations. I’m supposed to, and I do, and I get where that hostility might come from for the people who have to file the paperwork, but there is very little incentive to follow this particular law. If we get to the point where we don’t need SNAP anymore, I will just cut up the EBT card, and they can take back whatever money they put on there… sheesh! And someone who refused to give her name once tried to convince me over the phone that we ought to take more student loans, because that’s “financial aid” which is “income.” Uhhhhh sorry – just because we CAN take on debt doesn’t make that a good idea, let alone mandatory.

  37. Janice says

    So many people here who are judging people on assistance programs are not looking at the big picture. If you make enough not to qualify for these programs, you probably have some benefits in your life that people who are low-income do not have. Most poor people live in very small living quarters in less desirable locations and many can’t afford a car unless it’s a total piece of junk that barely runs. They don’t have extra money to go out to eat at a moderately priced restaurant or go see a movie once a week.

    I have a master’s degree and used to have a good middle-income job. I enjoyed having money to spend and affording a decent car. After I lost my job and the unemployment ended, I had to apply for WIC and food stamps to afford to feed my family. My husband has two jobs and had two at the time we qualified. He could not possibly work any more hours and it is not easy to get a low paying job with a master’s degree. The job would have to pay well enough to pay for daycare and transportation, which is makes many jobs not even worth the time. I find it ridiculous that some mothers are forced to work minimum wage jobs while the taxes pay much more money than they are earning for daycare to take care of their children just so we can say that that these people are “working.” People don’t realize that it’s the CEOs making millions who are really the reason most people need welfare programs. If all employees got a fair share of the profit or at least enough to live off of, CEOs could still be wealthy and taxes would not have to spend so much for the people they need to bring them their fortune to survive.

    When my husband’s hours increased, we got taken off food stamps, even though his income doesn’t leave us with much after very basic living expenses (shelter, heating, electricity). The food stamp guidelines do not take a realistic cost of housing into account nor do they take into account student loans that the family can’t get out of paying. My state considers under $500 to be the maximum allowance for a place to live while there is no apartment going for less than $1100, even in tough areas. The system assumes that families can contribute 30% of their gross income to food. This is not possible when the least expensive place to live alone takes more than half of your take-home income. When looking into the way they calculate benefits, they seem to give some families very high amounts of benefits, which sound like much more than a normal family would need for food, while other families are disqualified because they are slightly over even though there is very little money left for food. When we got disqualified, I actually had to brainstorm the cheapest meals I could think of to figure out how to afford to eat on what little we have after bills. I am not in a position to consider how unhealthy it is and choose to eat something better. A 20 cent package of Ramen Noodles is a lot more affordable than a $2.50 package of strawberries. When it’s time to heat the house, we may not have any money for food. This is where I think there needs to be changes in the food stamp system.

    I am very thankful to still qualify for WIC and be able to get some food to feed my family. I honestly feel that the government should create food stamp grocery stores where they can get healthy, unprocessed foods to give to needy families and take away the enormous profit many of these grocery stores are making from all of the food stamp transactions. This would allow the to help more people and to help the poor make better choices for food than what some of them do. While I see many commenter’s point on organic foods being out of reach for many people, I do realize that many of these organic foods are less expensive than boxed dinners and other unhealthy processed foods that are popular with low-income families. I think more commentators should consider the actual cost of organic fruits and basic foods versus prepared foods that cost even more.

    I agree with you on the fact that more mothers should stay home while their children are young. Some jobs are too demanding on your time to be able to be an attentive parent. Too many children are growing up with problems from not getting enough attention from their parents. It is not helping society. Our society does not even have a system in place for women recovering from childbirth to take some kind of maternity leave without losing their entire income. As for the angry commentators, I used to think like you until my financial life did not turn out as planned. I did everything I could to avoid poverty; got a master’s degree, worked in a good career for several years, and got married before having children and I still ended up living in poverty. Honestly, I don’t believe that having a family should be a privilege of the rich so no one should be saying that someone should have to have a certain income to have a family; the reality is that some people will never have a high enough income not to qualify for help no matter how hard they try. They deserve happiness and to live a fulfilling life, too. If you feel cheated by working several jobs to afford to live, think of what you can afford and enjoy that many of these people can’t. As for the cheaters, I think the DTA (welfare office) workers should be doing a better job looking at the overall lifestyle people are living instead of just the income levels. I do know a family who lives very well and makes such a low income that the only way they can afford to live the way they do is to conceal the rental income they are getting and collecting benefits to pay for necessities while they live the good life (expensive vacations, designer clothes, expensive restaurants, big SUVs, completely renovated house) with their on and off the book income. These are the types that really are a drain on society and should be ashamed from taking from the system. People who are honestly poor and need help should not be ashamed to seek it.

    • says

      Thank you for your honesty. I wish you all the best in your own struggle. Hard work and honest living are sometimes so poorly rewarded. It happens. Shame never helps.

  38. rox says

    I get wic, and have an interview for snap today, fingers crossed…They take out almost 300$ from my husbands pay each week, so I look at it as I’m getting the money back…Helps me sleep better at night and not feel so ashamed of receiving the benefits….

    • says

      Exactly. My husband spent a long time paying a lot of money in taxes. I can’t say I’ve ever had a high-paying job, but my family has put in. Also: I’m happy that future earnings, when all this under-payed grad school stuff is over, if and when there’s a good job, some of my tax dollars will go to help families who need help buying FOOD, whether or not they have ever made enough to pay taxes.

  39. Raven says

    It is very easy to be AWARE of what is and isn’t “allowed” on WIC. They give you a large restrictive brochure to see and it is not at all difficult. What is hard is 1) Actually finding something that actually comes in those sizes at all – for instance, juice is 48 oz. but all juice comes in 59 oz. boxes, and 2) Finding anything remotely healthy that does not cause severe harm to the body (other then the produce which is completely open & free) that actually is “allowed”. Therefore, you will ALWAYS have to argue with the cashier for something because obviously you are not going to voluntarily by non-organic, chemical-laden “peanut butter” voluntarily since you will have to throw it away or give it away. Here are a few tips I have found successful:
    -In the beans section, it does NOT say you can’t get organic. It also has no price limit. So you can actually get organic beans without breaking any rules.
    -You can get POM juice, the big $10 one, and it only breaks the one rule you probably didn’t know of – that it “must have at least 120% DV vitamin C.”. No cashier will ever test this, so the POM juice technically fits all the requirements, and, unlike the other juice you might try, it’s also 48 oz.! Of course, its still not healthy, but I’m sure it’s less toxic then Mott’s GMO apple juiceor some such.
    -You can sometimes find a safe peanut butter which will be the second-least-expensive brand. Hold off on your peanut butter until you can find it.
    -Dont bother trying to find a toxin-free brand of tuna. They are no longer manufactured, and there is not a single brand sold in grocery stores that does not include soy.
    -Cheerios original claim to be non-GMO. They are NOT Non-GMO-Project verified but if they are lying they are eligible for lawsuit. They are however still very full of pesticides and synthetic vitamins. The only thing you might be able to get that’s better is a store brand, if they have a safe-ish one. This is not “allowed” to use store brands, but it won’t be denied by the register either.
    -The WalMart closest to where I am sleeping has a brand of rGBH-free corporate milk. Of course I still am not going to ingest nor allow my children to ingest this horrific thing, but at least you can send a half a message and maybe slightly improve the health of whoever you’re giving it away to.
    -Quaker oatmeal is actually known for being low in pesticides, and is not GMO and not horrific in the processing. So you can eat that, if you’re willing to eat grains.
    -There will never be any possibility of getting safe eggs or cheese, unless someone can convince Whole Foods to start accepting WIC. t will not happen. Don’t try. Just grab the toxic stuff and give it away to someone.

    • Jane says

      I feel I need to reply to this. When tearing apart a list of wic approved foods keep in mind there are many families out there for whom these foods are the difference between giving their kids something to eat and sending them to bed hungry. Calling milk ‘horrific’ is just unnecessary. Everyone can feel any way they want about wic foods. It’s a supplemental program. No one is required to sign up for it.

      Wic is different in different states, much of what you say will not apply to everyone. In my state:

      – you cannot get pom juice. The options are least expensive orange/grapefruit/pineapple/tomato, welchs grape, v8, or any flavor juicy juice.

      – motts apple juice is not gmo. There are no gmo apples or apple juice currently on the market in the us. The concentrate is sometimes from overseas so it’s good to check the origin before deciding on which juice to get.

      – decent natural but conventional single ingredient peanut butter is available

      – there are several soy free cans of tuna available but not on wic although here canned wild Alaskan salmon is an option

      – Cheerios aren’t a fantastic cereal but, again, if the options are Cheerios or hunger I’d take the Cheerios. Yes, registers around here will deny store brand cereal if the brand name is the pictured item in the pamphlet (this is because wic receives rebates from the manufacturer which brings their price down to less than the generic)

      – there are generally many milk options besides regular store brand milk. Here refrigerated goat milk is an option. It’s from grass fed goats and is non homoginized. Many states offer non gmo soy milk and organic tofu.

      – wic does not disallow shopping at whole foods. Whole foods will not carry the items they would be required to carry (like corn syrup based infant formulas and frosted mini wheats) therefore they cannot accept the vouchers.

      – safe eggs is an opinion. Some people, particularly those who cannot afford other options are ok with the basic generic eggs. Same with cheese.

      – please don’t advise anyone to take then give away wic foods they won’t use. It’s illegal. Just take what you need and will use, leave what you will not use. This will help keep money in the program so those who really need it will not be turned away.

  40. Lara says

    There’s definitely a difference between a person who is able to work & sits on their butts at home and does nada & sucks it out of the taxpayers than those who are “working poor”, which just shouldn’t be! Food is so darned expensive (along with other necessities of life). I’m in Canada, & we do have it a bit different here, but there’s still help for {most} of those who need it. When this enforced drug plan comes into effect next April, though, that’s going to hurt a lot of people!

  41. HARRY-ENRIQUE says

    Yikes! I never realized what a complicated mess program like wic were…Since I dont have any children I never qualified….somehow though I assumed that since it was for the benefits if infants and toddlers it would be simplier.
    Your blog I found quite informative and I actually feel proud of people like you who are able to navigate this complicated system and even though it annoys actually sits down to inform us.
    My questions:
    if you only allowed to use you Wic checks and Snap Benefits in the state they were issued?or are you allowed to shop in Neighbor states where more options might be broader?
    also….do you recieve any cash welfare checks to pay rent,electric and water bills?
    How do you make ends meet?
    Once again thank you so much

    • says

      Yes, you can only use WIC/SNAP benefits in the state in which they were issued. If you move, you have to tell the new offices immediately.

      The honest answer is that, even though we make too much to qualify for cash assistance, we don’t make ends meet. We have debt. My husband’s graduate program has a very good rate of placement, which means that he will probably get a job that pays well enough for us to escape this cycle. But many people never do get out. We may not.

  42. Kimberly says

    Hi, I am currently in search of an answer to my question concerning SNAP! I am not eligible for SNAP because I am enrolled in nursing school, and due to the demanding hours of class and study time, I can only work about 18 hours a week so therefor I fall short of the 20 hours per week work requirement for students. I pay rent which is income based and I have no help with my monthly utilities which leaves me with no money to buy groceries! Since I work less than 20 hours a week I don’t qualify for SNAP because “I DON’T WORK ENOUGH”! I honestly don’t get the concept behind this rule because the whole reason I need assistance is because I don’t work enough. I feel as though the only way I can qualify is if I quit nursing school which is not gonna happen. I don’t understand why people who don’t work at all, and people who abuse the system get SNAP when people like me who genuinely have a need for this get turned away because we are doing something with our lives by enrolling in school and obtaining jobs, only to be told we don’t qualify because we don’t work enough! It’s like they want you to do bad. I’m not ranting, or at least I’m not trying to, I just simply would like an answer please.

    • says

      Go to the nearest office for the Department of Social Services, bring copies of everything from you last 5 pay stubs to your lease to your bills (all of them, of all kinds) and any other document that has anything to do with anything. Ask someone to help you apply, and bring any communication you’ve gotten. That’s the only way forward, that I’ve found, when I hit a brick wall. Good luck!

  43. youngwife says

    No I didn’t read all the comments but I just wanted to say that as a hard working young couple my husband and I are. We can’t get Foodstamp cause we make to much money but at the end of the day we don’t have the money to eat cause we have to pay bills. Its not something to be proud of but it would be nice if they would realize that even young people with no kids need help. They tell use to get rid of the one car we have to save money but without the car we wouldn’t be able to go to work. (Or in some of my friends case single moms that work and still can’t make end meet) the system just need to realize that this stuff. I don’t look down on anyone for using the system but the ones who abuse it piss me off.

    • Tim says

      I’m sorry that concept baffles me. They said the same thing to my wife and me. ” Sell one of the vehicles” Mine is a 2000 ford ranger that was my fathers and hers was something we picked up for 1300$ we had 1 child at the time who still had doctors appointments to go to. I asked the question during the appeal the truck and motorcycle I inhereited when he passed was to be sold I asked what was I to do when the little money I recieved ran out before the end of the 6 month disqualifying period. The answer was a very quiet social worker and then she asked if she could put me on hold. The manager talked to me and overturned the decision due to transportation to and from work. I think the deciding factor is the ” no kids” part. I could be wrong.

  44. cinthia says

    I am 16 and with a new born and a 3yr old what can I do I’m try to a play for foodstamps and cash aid /welfet do u know if they will help me I live with my mom but I need my own space know that I have 2 kids my mom has 5 kids and we live in a small apt with only 2 bedrooms and I can’t satand living hear no more its too small and I don’t get along with my siblings at all pliz help thanks god blessed y’all

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  46. Elisa p says

    I am 20 years old, I am pregnant with my first baby and I go to school and pay rent for a room. I have a decent job but ever since they found out I was pregnant, I get little to no hours at work, I thought this would help me get food stamps considering the fact that I ay for school on my own as well, but my application was denied because of the hours I work. This doesn’t make sense to me because I’m pregnant and barely make enough to help myself. I feel hopeless and now I’m turning to wic…. It’s not the healthiest, but to my only choice… Why are they so harsh with the snap card system, when they know a lot of people need help?

    • Sarah says

      Hi Elisa! First of all, congratulations on your first child!
      I’m 20 as well and just found out I’m pregnant. My husband and I are both students. A way to get SNAP while a student is to work any number of hours in a federal work study job. If you have federal work study, simply apply for a job working directly with your university (ex. cafeteria or library worker) and work any number of hours a week and you’ll become eligible. My husband is graduating a year early, so he’s taking too many credits to work often (he’s currently at less then 10 hours a week). Yet, since working in a research lab through the school is funded by federal work study he is eligible for SNAP. If you aren’t able to get federal work study, once your child is born, you’ll definitely be able to get SNAP since all students caring for a child under 6 are able to get SNAP, no matter if they work or not. Reason being they’re so strict with students is because the program fear that middle class students would be eligible for SNAP, without the extra requirements that students must pass.
      Also, if you don’t have health insurance, you can get it through Medicaid where they will cover everything or close to everything. And in some counties there is program called MOMs (Medicaid Obstetrical and Maternal Services), where they help with applying to WIC and SNAP, as well as providing a breast bump once you give birth.
      Good luck with everything!

  47. HB says

    I commented back in June and just want to comment again now that I have experienced both SNAP and WIC. SNAP was a lifesaver for a few months while I made it through the end of a complicated pregnancy and premature birth and my husband hunted for a decent job. However, while easy to use, it has been a very difficult program to navigate due to the way it’s administered by the state here. We had to pay back almost $1000 due a mistake THEY made which I spent weeks trying to bring to their attention! Fortunately I had stopped using the benefits for a few months because of a different misunderstanding, so we were able to pay it all back from the benefits they’d issued, but it was a huge source of stress for me. Now that my husband has a new job, we are still receiving a small amount of benefits from them (less than $100/month), but I worry that they will make another mistake and we’ll have to pay back money we don’t have. However, I just take it one day at a time with gratitude for what we have now. Also, everyone I’ve interacted with at the ISD has been extremely nice, even when they had no clue what they were doing! Haha.

    WIC has been wonderful. First of all, they gave me a high quality electric pump when my son was in the NICU and the hospital discharged me with a plastic hand pump for exclusive round-the-clock pumping while recovering from a c-section and my parents’ private insurance that I was still covered by said that my son being hospitalized and unable to breastfeed was not a good enough reason to give me a pump. WIC made it happen FAST and may have actually saved my milk supply and made breastfeeding possible. The first time I went shopping with WIC, it took almost 2 hours and I had a panic attack. The cashier was annoyed with me, I had to use SNAP to pay for some of the foods that didn’t qualify for WIC for some obscure reason, it was all very confusing and I had nightmares about it that night. But once I figured out what I could get and how it works, it was fine. I basically get the exact same thing every month so there is no uncertainty.

    Coming from a middle class background, I had to make a mental shift regarding the foods I was allowed to buy – for example not being able to get free range eggs. I was poor and hungry, so I made the shift. If I could change the WIC program, I would have it cover free range eggs, almond milk, and at least some organic things (not covering anything organic doesn’t even make sense to me – the organic store-brand beans are actually LESS expensive than the brand of beans I get with WIC). They have been more accommodating to my food allergies/intolerances than I expected. We get gluten-free cereal, corn tortillas (I can’t eat corn, but my husband eats them), non GMO soy milk, salmon, frozen juice with no added sugar, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and of course beans. Lots of beans. We went through a very tight spot recently and all those cans of beans in the pantry were suddenly surprisingly appetizing. My son is 6 months now, so we just started getting baby food as well. They do work with the local farmer’s market – I haven’t gotten a chance to go yet, but hopefully will soon.

    WIC is not perfect, but now that we don’t qualify for SNAP and almost all our money goes to bills and taxes, WIC is making the difference between having enough to eat and not having enough. I am grateful for them literally every day.

  48. reese says

    What?? To the blogger/publisher of this site…apparently you have great skills in web publishing, writing, and web design. Go get a job!! You could be earning $30 an hour without accounting for every penny you earn or scheming to hide income you’ve earned. Is Anne Marie your real name. You should be cited for welfare fraud. As a African-American mother and I chose to do something like this I would be the headliner for the evening local news!!!


    • david says

      I absolutely agree with you Reese. I was shocked to find this blog. If you read the news and watch republican rhetoric, you would be forgiven if you thought only black people used WIC and SNAP. Imagine if this blog where written by a black woman… you’d be the face of the 11 o’clock news with these very same hypocrites here mocking you as a “taker”. What’s to guess these very people vote republican, the very same people that would readily take the WIC they so depend on to survive.

  49. Belinda says

    I have 6 kids and a wonderful husband. We both don’t work, because we are both on Disability income. Also our kids are on disability until 18. There is nothing wrong with us. We were harass and told at one time, “How are you going to set a good example for you kids if you and your husband don’t have a job.” I said
    look I have a physical disability that keeps me from walking and my man can’t see at all.” We deserve to live a normal life like everybody else. So I am not ashamed at all to get help from Uncle

  50. Mary Jakab says

    Thank you for a very informative article. I was behind a woman at the grocery store and she was having a trying time figuring out what was the approved juice on WIC all the while the woman behind us was muttering and rolling her eyes. Thankfully Ms Judgmental moved to another cashier. When the woman was finished she turned to apologize for taking so long. I wanted to hug her but told her no apology was necessary. What I can’t understand is how one woman could judge another – none of us know what tomorrow holds and next time it could be us trying to maneuver through the hoops of WIC

  51. Angela says

    Thank you so much for this post. I have had SNAP and WIC. The shame I feel from using WIC checks is so awful. I have had cashiers roll their eyes when I came up, tell the person behind me that it will take a half hour, ask another checker to do it because “I hate WIC”, and even once a nice cashier asked if my baby was healthy because I wasn’t getting all the milk. If I refuse juice (which I don’t give my kids because of my doctor’s recommendation) or other things the cashiers may give suggestions to “help” me use all the items. The constant changes are infuriating, and it seems the grocery store is almost always out of the bread we can get. I have come so close to stopping, but it’s hard to refuse when my spouse is underemployed and could lose the work he has. SNAP is a much more dignifying, less time consuming process. Interestingly I’ve never received the negativity from my SNAP card from cashiers, even though it is reserved for lower income than WIC. You’d think it the opposite way around with some of the rhetoric against the very poor today. I think their frustration toward WIC is due to the hassle it creates for them, which is projected on to those of us in the program. After writing all this I really may drop out of the program.

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  53. says

    Wow, great article and a lively discussion! I came across this because we built a free app for WIC participants to address exactly the issues that are described here. It’s called WICShopper.

    WIC is restrictive in nature which results in a more complicated shopping experience. We’ve worked in the WIC program for 11 years in education and point of sale and have witnessed the struggles participants face while shopping. That’s what led us to build WICShopper.

    Hopefully this helps someone out. One important note – we don’t support all state programs yet. We currently support FLA, MA, KY, WV, TX, NM, WY and IA (coming this week). We hope to add UT, VT, CT, and NH soon.

    Thanks! Website is

  54. Amanda says

    I’m glad I read this post. Though, I’m ready and feel the need to have to sign up for both, my husband who is unemployed but highly educated (where he can be a lawyer) won’t and doesn’t want to file because it is “frowned upon” to receive any assistance if your a lawyer. I have two kids who are under 5, I work 40 hrs a week at a daycare so they can be watched, though I’m only taking home 350 or so every two weeks and husband gets 550 in unemployment. I don’t really know how else to break it down to him that we need the help.

  55. Kayla says

    Thank you for your article, and to the people that shared useful information instead of rants. I found this blog after attempting to find out if I could use Snap to buy freeze dried foods like egg powder and dried meats since I may end up with no roof over my head soon. (IF I can find a store, and also a brand that sells smaller amounts then a $60 can of one thing) I honestly only read a handful of the comments here, but I too experienced snap abuse when I worked at a grocery store. There are people who used their entire $300 snap card balance on ONLY soda pop. I found another guy that used his for $500 worth of ONLY whole lobsters and crab. That did make me angry. I tried to make my supervisor and manager report it to the state, but they wouldn’t because of the headache involved. I’m still not sure If I could have reported them privately without the store backing me, but I would be 100% behind providing grocery store receipts to a case worker who could at least stop that kind of abuse.

    I didn’t think I would ever NEED snap benefits but to all the people posting rants on the subject of wic and snap, realize there are some people who don’t abuse the program and honestly need the assistance.

    If I do find a company that does sell smaller amounts of essentially ‘food storage’ foods I can use snap with, I will post back here incase like me, ‘just add water and heat’ may become necessary.

  56. Samantha says

    I am not proud to be on food stamps. We don’t even get the help we need from food stamps because they only take certain things into account. A certain budget for gas, electric etc.

    I found this because I was wondering if wic was like food stamps. You get a certain amount of help from wic based on income like u do food stamps?

    But after reading just some of the comments I was disgusted. Yes there are people out there who abuse the system but you don’t know everyone situation so how can you judge them? I’m sick … we only have 1 car … we live in the country. I would still work but nobody wants me and tbh don’t have a way of getting there apart from spending my earnings on a taxi twice a day…. I’m educated … my husband is educated … but there’s only so many job positions I’m your “educated field” and they don’t always pick you for it.

    Instead of judging people … judge the world we live in and what rich people are doing to it.

  57. Amanda says

    OK I’d like to make things clear to some of the judgy people out there. I’ve never been without a job since I was 13 now I’m 30. After 5 years of being on my own with my boyfriend after being on multiple types of birth control which all gave me major health issues I had a son in 2008. Now this is when the economy had just hit the hardest in our area and he was in a very good construction job making great $ before hand first construction went then working for a small business that went under and then a company trading hands letting alot of people go in shaddy ways. My husband stayed home with our son and I went back to work and have put myself upnthe ladder and I still can’t afford healthcare childcare and my job requires me to be avalible at the drop of a hat in case of emergency. My now husband has tried several times to find a decent job he tried leaving the state even. Hes only been able to do odd perdiem work and mow lawns around my schedule as we have no help besides each other. Now 7 years after my sons birth w/o traditional birthcontrol just straight up being carefullI no other kids. I was having some girl issues and went to the local health department ( only place I could afford). After lots of blood work and a neg pregnancy test they tell me my hormones are postmenopausal maybe there is a something wrong in your brain with hormones like that you can’t have kids. It was either hormones or my brain and I couldn’t get approved for a charity MRI so I figured my body was done with kids I was very depressed but sucked it up and moved on. We became a little less careful for less then a month and now I’m pregnant. I won’t say I didn’t want another baby but I knew I couldn’t afford it. And at my 18 week ultrasound I discovered I’m having twins. Now be aa nasty person and say I should have terminated? My children were made by people who will love them under circumstances I can only determine as Crappy healthcare which could have been prevented but its not thier fault. They are my blessing and maybe the universe pulled a fait card on me since I wasn’t cooperating. So yes now the government will have to pay for my high risk pregnancy, the wic program I qualify for, and the tiny amount of snap benefits I receive. I’m am not to proud to do what o must to take care of my family as my husband is sure to be doomed to stay home since double the daycare isn’t an option unless he finds something amazing. Not to mention 2 carseats 2 sets of cloths and other nessesities that come with them. Now I know that some people milk the system but I work as hard as I can to do what I can fault me all u want. Oh and BTW hubby will be getting a vasectimy as soon as we can afford it maybe the government should pay for those and some better educated individuals on thier health dept. Not everyone wants to need a hand out. If I can avoid it I will but I know for now I will need this little bit of help.

  58. Sarah says

    Teach at a technical college in Minnesota. Most of my students have between 3 to 6 kids, and a few have upwards of 8 to 12. One student, with 6 children, has never held a job. She receives over $1000 per month in food stamps, $700 to a debit card for whatever she wants, $500 in Government Assistance money, a car load of free groceries from the food shelf every month, reduced-priced bus passes for the family, child care grants for all of her kids, a free apartment, and free medical care. She uses the Emergency Room exclusively. She, and many other students, discovered that if they are enrolled in college, they can stipend out their student loan money and make another $1000 per month. Students enrolled in school also get even more help with child care. I say “enrolled,” in school because they don’t actually have to pass their classes or even attend past the first day, and they don’t have to pass their classes. Some students have taken out $30,0000 or more with no intention of getting a degree.

    One student with 13 children has so many because state-issued health care here includes fertilization treatments (she’s a lesbian, so she definitely needs the ‘help’). She gets welfare, food, and childcare money for all of the children, but can only claim 6 on her taxes to get the biggest deduction. She then “sells” her remaining 7 kids to other students to claim as dependents on their taxes, and then they split the return.

    I would love to have children, but I just can’t afford them. Even as a college teacher, these welfare students are bringing home more than I am. I have to remind myself that there are good people on government assistance, but it can be so hard when I’m literally surrounded by welfare abusers every day. They even offer to sell me their stamps for .50 cents on the dollar!

    I don’t think that responsible people should be ashamed to be an assistance. I think most folks need some help at some point in their lives. But the system as it stands is turning breeding into the most viable and lucrative career available to these women. I’ve heard students with four or five children say things like that they needed to have another baby in the next 10 months to they didn’t loose their WIC benefits. Especially after four or more children, I doubt that these women could secure a job that would pay them a wage even close to the amount they receive from the government, and maybe not even enough to simply keep all of their children.

    So, long story short: If you need some assistance, I’m glad that there are programs to help. If , however, you are planning your family so that you can milk every last dime out of the program without even considering the possibility of work and/or selling your children’s food money so you can get your nails done, I kinda hate you.

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  61. Bianca says

    Hi there! I know you had said you’re no longer on WIC but I thought I would shed a little light in a hopeful direction. Especially since it sounds like you had the checks and CT WIC has progressed onto a EBT card. The rules of needing to buy ‘store brand or cheapest” no longer apply but there are still certain brands to chose from.

    I am not on WIC myself but I do work for WIC. I am a nutritionist in the CT WIC system. I don’t love every single aspect of WIC but I truly believe in their core values and their assistance. WIC was developed for those families who couldn’t meet the nutrition basics in their diet, every single item is calculated to factor in missing key pieces in the greater American diet.

    Milk/Cheese/ Yogurt
    While you don’t drink milk, most of America does, and those children whose parents can’t afford milk..they go without calcium, vitamin D and protein. The milk given per individual is calculated out to provide just about 12oz a day. Recommended amounts are between 2-3 cups based upon age, not factoring in any other sources of dairy like tofu or cheese or yogurt. So 2 servings of dairy total for kids 1-3 and 3/day for ages 4+

    Fruits /Vegetables: self explanatory and you can actually get organic if you choose–it’s how you spend your dollar amount. While I agree it’s not nearly enough, WIC is relied upon by 8 million people (2014 numbers) so we do with what we can. Farmers Market benefits in the summer help too..

    Juice: Concentrate isn’t the only option allowed and hasn’t been the only option since prob. the 70/80’s. Options include refrigerated orange juice, bottled shelf stable juice and concentrate frozen and non frozen. ALL WIC juices are 100% juice, no sugar added. Juice is on there for those children that don’t eat fruit, maybe because their parents can’t afford it or maybe because the child doesn’t eat it.

    Grains: Whole grains, whole wheat. Yes some brands contain HFCS–it’s unfortunate but there are plenty that don’t. This provides a major part of the american diet. This is the majority of fiber for most people and is fortified with vitamins and minerals their diet is lacking. Bread is not the only grain option, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and tortillas are other options. Along these same lines are cereals. Yes some of them are sugar’s hard pressed to find a commercial cold cereal that isn’t, but there are options such as cherrios and chex. Again…another source for vitamins and minerals lacking in diet.

    Beans: A solid source of protein whether you choose canned and rinse the sodium or buy the dried bags. Easy, simple, cheap source of protein. Point blank.

    Peanut butter: you don’t have to get sugar filled ones..natural pb (peanuts and salt (or no salt!) is permitted as long as it is the right size jar. Great source of protein and fat/calories for our underweight moms and kids.

    tuna fish/salmon/sardines: This is a benefit for nursing moms and again is a great source of protein and fatty acids.

    Eggs: protein!

    Tofu: protein and calcium!

    Yes we’re enfamil based products for formula but most importantly…we’re advocates for breastfeeding. My site is baby friendly (were within a hospital) We also employ certified lactation counselors (like myself). So if free formula in a brand you don’t prefer isn’t your thing, then breastfeed, it’s better for you, your baby and the world anyways!

    I’m just saying I know it’s frustrating for a lot of families, but we are a great program and do a lot of good.

    SNAP is also a beneficial program and while you mentioned you have kids birthday parties and like football games (football food) this is not what the majority of people buying cases of soda and processed foods are doing it for. The fact that you can buy prepackaged sushi on it I think is a bit extreme. Everyone, including the poor has the right to treat themselves but it isn’t the best way to spend money to strecth it throughout the month as SNAP and WIC aren’t designed to meet all needs every month, only roughly 70% of food needs monthly actually.

  62. John says

    I have three non-rhetorical questions to which I would greatly appreciate an answer:

    First, is it too much to ask that people who cannot afford to adequately feed and care for their families without government assistance not have more children?

    Second, if as a result of personal irresponsibility, or even in the event of unforeseen circumstances that cause a previously self-supporting family to need help, is it unreasonable to expect that the help to come from that family’s friends, family, and local community rather than the Federal Government?

    Finally how are shame, embarrassment and guilt not appropriate emotions for a person who relies on strangers to subsidize feeding their children?


  63. john doe says

    sick and tired of you freeloaders complain you have know idea how the single man with no children gets screwed fuck you and the system

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    Mr Lucas Davidson.

  65. Darwin Nero says


    We had been married for a while and things were OK, I was in love with her, she was crazy about me, but later on everything changed and by complicated exterior circumstances which did not have to do with us, we decided to pause for a while, but still remain friends. But in the end, she started getting cold: she treated me as if she did not know me, she acted too immature to the point where she did not even say hi to me when we bumped into each other (we had the same circle of friends). Of course, it hurt so badly, I wanted to kill her. Then out of nowhere she disappeared. I wrote her for her birthday and she replied little. Some of my “friends” saw she had left and started going cold with me too, as if it was my fault that she had left. The few that were still my close friends and still hers, told me she had moved on, that it was best not to make contact with her. Then out of the blue some months later she reappeared, but still acting like a douche. I was suffering emotionally of course, because we had never even had a divorce, it was just supposed to be a pause, so I did not know how to react, what to feel, what to do… anyway, she kept coming over and over on the weekends, and I had to deal with my “friends” who the moment they saw her, immediately left me and went over to her. Eventually, I decided to give up trying to restore anything with her as she was showing no signs of wanting me back, and started healing. Around four months after we had ended our relationship, I find out she is with another guy! That’s when I knew I had not gotten over her, because I cried, I was mad, it was just a feeling of “oh, poor me”. I could not stand losing her to some other guy, I decided to go diabolical (i.e. via spell). I got involved with a lot of fraudulent so-called spell casters on the internet who ripped me off my money without getting a result as to what I wanted. I almost lost my sanity. Just as I almost was giving up, one faithful morning, I received a mail from one of the spell castes I had applied for spell with but never got a reply all along. He made me to understand that he could not attend to all his costumers then because it was that time of the year for his annual fellowship with his ancestors for the renewal of his spiritual and supernatural gift. I told him not to worry about the spell anymore, that I was done with all of them fake spell casters. He assured me of his 100% genuine work of this gift which he possessed. I decided to give it a try. After spending about 2500 USD (which was due to my inability to provide a whole lot of materials which he needed for the spell process), I am happy to announce to the world that I have gotten back my wife and we are expecting our first baby. All thanks to Dr. Kene Dilli. All you out there tired of all these fraudsters that call themselves spell casters (seeking to rip were they have not sown) and you require legitimate spell for whatsoever purpose, contact Dr. Kene Dilli on his email address; kenedillitemples AT yahoo DOT com.RE-WRITE THE EMAIL ADDRESS IN IT’S STANDARD FORM.

  66. Teresa says

    WIC is a nutrition education and supplemental food program under the USDA. It’s not an entitlement program.

    Please do not feel ashamed for taking part in these programs. You are doing right by your family in providing nutritious foods.

    People need to realize entitlement programs are a tiny fraction of the governments fiscal budget!

  67. John Steward says

    If you can’t support a wife and one child you need to think of never getting married because why should we support your consequences. Be single and have protected sex 365 days a year, and not be obligated to beg for food or housing.

  68. Tatiana Delatorre says

    Thank you!!! I live in a super remote part of Alaska, am pregnant and very much in need of some help! I just got in over my head regarding both of these and your blog literally broke it down so easily and comprehensively, thank you so much!!!

  69. Shelby says

    Thank you for posting this. It’s really insightful and helped me better understand the day-to-day challenges of using these programs. I’m really interested in nutrition justice and farm bill reform, but I also hope I never have to learn first-hand how to navigate these programs. I had an anxiety attack once just trying to get a medicaid application processed, I think actually having to navigate the welfare system myself would kill me. I appreciate you sitting down to articulate these challenges with really clear examples and lots of personal knowledge. I hope the haters don’t wear you down.

  70. says

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  72. says

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  73. anon says

    I like this post and I am very interested in getting SNAP but the thing is, although we make less than poverty, my husband and two kids live in my parent’s house and we don’t pay normal rent so we have a lot of money to save. So when they ask for our bank information as savings, it is too large to qualify. But I think saving money is necessary, I shouldn’t have to use my savings or pay more rent just to qualify. Based on my income I should qualify. It’s not fair. Does anyone else have this problem and if so how did you get around it if you can.

  74. Lydia Ann says

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  75. Julia says

    To all those mom who’ve slammed welfare moms, the hell with you. You tell us that we need to wait to have children. First off, I waited 5 years before I married, and I then waited another 2 years before we had children. My pilot husband abandoned me after clearing our accounts out for a younger flight attendant. I’m unemployed, and I have been unable to find a job to support my children.

    So yes, I did wait.


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