Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (known as WIC) is a Federal assistance program of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five. (See Child nutrition programs) The eligibility requirement is a family income below 185% of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. If a person participates in other benefit programs, or has family members who participate in the Food Stamp Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, they automatically meet the eligibility requirements. This program is unrelated to the USDA's "Food Stamp" program.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children was created by a 1972 bill Senator Hubert Humphrey (D) of Minnesota introduced. It is a federally funded program established by Congress in September 1972 under Public Law 92-433, section 17 to the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. It was made permanent in 1975. Currently, WIC serves 45% of all infants born in the US.

WIC participants often receive a monthly check or voucher - or more recently an EBT card. The USDA implemented new rules in 2006 that required foods to be more price-competitive. This has resulted in the closure of many "WIC Only Stores". Formerly, these stores charged the maximum permitted under the program, charging up to 16% more than regular stores for the same food. However, the WIC program is one of most successful government programs. A national study done by Mathematica in 1994 showed WIC benefit cost ratios ranging from $1.77 to $3.13 saved for each $1 spent on WIC.