Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Food and Nutrition Service regional offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Program Accomplishments

For fiscal year 2007, FNS approved the operation of the WIC Program in 90 State agencies. This figure includes 50 States, 34 Indian agencies, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and the District of Columbia. As of September 2007, an average of approximately 8,285,249 women, infants and children received WIC benefits every month. Although food package costs varied widely among the States, the monthly average food package cost as of September 2007 was approximately $39.09 per person. For fiscal year 2007, the WIC Program realized over $1.9 billion in savings generated by infant formula rebates, which allowed approximately 2.2 million additional participants to be served with the WIC grant. In its continuing effort to advance new technologies, FNS awarded approximately $5.2 million in Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) grants to 6 WIC State agencies in FY 2007, in support of EBT projects. The WIC Program State Agency Model (SAM) Project is a FNS initiate to plan, develop and deploy model information systems (IS) in WIC State agencies. The SAM project was initiated by FNS at the request of the Office of Management and Budget, with the expectation that these modern, state-of-the-art systems will be transferred to other WIC State agencies at a lower cost than regular development/transfer efforts. FNS has awarded funding to 3 State Agency Model (SAM) consortia across the country. Funding in FY 2006 totaled $20,214,463; an additional $553,433 was awarded in FY 2007. As part of its efforts to revitalize quality nutrition services, in FY 2007 FNS continued to take steeps to increase training and technical assistance opportunities and facilitate communication among its partners. In collaboration with the National Agricultural Library-Food and Nutrition Information Center, FNS continues to enhance the WIC Works Resource System (WWRS), an on-line system for WIC educators to talk, share successes, receive training on counseling strategies, and find educational materials and tools for assessment, and review current research. A new feature of WWRS is the WIC Bulletin Board Exchange; a database of ideas collected from WIC local agencies. The data base containes over 40 ideas many with photos from the waiting rooms and offices. The goal is to allow WIC staff to share ideas on how to reinforce nutrition messages through bulletin board displays. The online staff learning modules were enhanced with the addition of 3 modules on the topic of infant feeding (Infant Formula Basics, Feeding Infants 0-6 Months, and Feeding Infants 6-12 Months). Additionally a series of Web pages were created to post resources that assist State and local agencies in planning, developing and implementing the Value Enhanced Nutrition Assessment initiative. As part of our ongoing committment to promote breastfeeding to WIC participants and their families through the USDA national breastfeeding promotion campaign, Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work, a marketing project, Partnering with WIC for Breastfeeding Success, was launched. This project invites stakeholders and health care professionals to partner with WIC to create a national environment that encourages mothers to breastfeed. In FY 2006, FNS and the National WIC Association continued to work together on the Value Enhanced Nutrition Assessment (VENA) initiative. Part of the continuing effort to improve and revitalize nutrition services in the WIC Program, VENA is WIC nut rition assessment guidance toenhance and ensurethecollection and interpretation of accurate and relevant assessment information for all WIC Program participants. In FY 2006, FNS worked with the Rochester Institute of Technology to provide training to all WIC State agencies on the competencies necessary to implement VENA: critical thinking, rapport building, and positive health outcome-based approachestonutritionassessment.competenciesnecessaryto implement VENA: critical thinking, rapport building, and positive health outcome-based approaches to nutrition assessment.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants are made to State health departments or comparable agencies, Indian tribes, bands, or intertribal councils, or groups recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, or the Indian Health Service of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These agencies distribute funds to participating local public or nonprofit private health or welfare agencies.

Funds are expended to pay for supplemental foods, nutrition education and health care referrals for participants, as well as specified administrative costs, including certification services.

State agencies are provided Federal funds according to legislative and regulatory formulas.

Only local agencies qualifying under State agency applications with formal agreements may operate WIC programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

A local agency is eligible to apply to deliver locally the services of the WIC Program, provided that: (1) it serves a population of low-income women, infants, and children at nutritional risk; and (2) it is a public or private nonprofit health or human service agency.

All local agencies must apply through the responsible State, Indian Tribal Organization or U.S.

Territory agency.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to 5 years of age are eligible if: (1) they are individually determined by a competent professional to be in need of the special supplemental foods supplied by the program because of nutritional risk; and (2) meet an income standard, or receive or have certain family members that receive benefits under the Food Stamp, Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs. They must also reside in the State in which benefits are received.


Individuals are certified as meeting an income standard, or as participating in certain other means-tested Federal programs. Certification regarding nutritional need for supplemental foods is determined by local level professionals. As of April 1999, all State agencies were using uniform criteria to determine nutrition risk. Costs are determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. The State designated official responsible for ensuring that the program is operated in accordance with program requirements must sign the State Plan and Federal-State Agreement pursuant to program regulations.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Application is made through submission of a "State Plan of Program Operation and Administration," as required by legislation.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

The standard application forms as furnished by FNS and required by OMB Circular No.

A-102, as implemented by 7 CFR part 3016, must be used for this program by State and local agencies.

Application Procedures

Local agencies must apply to the State agency in writing. Individual participants apply for WIC benefits at an approved local agency.

Award Procedures

Funds are awarded by the Department on the basis of funding formulas to State agencies for distribution to approved local agencies subject to available funds.


A State plan for the next fiscal year is required by August 15. Only substantive changes to the currently approved State plan must be submitted.


Child Nutrition Act of 1966, as amended, Section 17, 42 U.S.C. 1786.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approval determination is made within 30 days of submission of a completed plan or amendment.


Local agency or food vendor appeals: The State agency provides a hearing appeal procedure for a food vendor or local agency adversely affected by certain State or local agency actions. The adverse action may be postponed until a hearing decision is reached. Participant appeals: The State agency provides a hearing appeal procedure for any individual that receives a State or local agency action that results in a claim for repayment of the cash value of improperly issued benefits, denial of participation, or disqualification from the WIC Program.


The program is authorized through September 30, 2009; it presently operates under the authority of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, as amended.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Grants are allocated on the basis of formulas determined by the Department of Agriculture which allocate funds for food benefits, and nutrition services and administration costs. No matching funds are required, but some States contribute nonfederal funds in support of a larger WIC Program in their State.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants are released for the fiscal year using an electronic transfer system. State agencies may withdraw funds only as needed.

Post Assistance Requirements


Monthly report of participation, value of food or food instruments issued, operating expenses, and funds withdrawn from the Federal letter of credit.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," State and local governments and Nonprofit organizations that expend a total amount of Federal awards equal to or in excess of $500,000 in any fiscal year shall have either a single audit or (in certain cases stated in the Circular) a program-specific audit made for such fiscal year. Audit rules provided by OMB Circular A-133 must be applied for audits of grantee and subgrantee fiscal years that began on or after July 1, 1996. Authority to conduct such audits less frequently than annually is limited to: (1) State or local governments required by constitution or statute, in effect on January 1, 1987, to undergo audits less frequently than annually; and (2) nonprofit organizations that had biennial audits for all biennial periods ending between July 1, 1992 and January 1, 1995. If a biennial audit is authorized, the audit must cover the two year period.


Full and complete records concerning program operations including financial operations, food delivery systems, food instrument issuance and redemption, equipment purchases and inventory, certification, nutrition education, civil rights and fair hearing procedures.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants for food) FY 07 $5,547,776,650; FY 08 est $6,250,280,000; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$71,977 to $891,953,017. Average: $59,056,900 in fiscal year 2006 for the 90 State Agencies.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 246; "WIC State Plan Guidance" is available at no charge from FNS.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Food and Nutrition Service regional offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Supplemental Food Programs Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA 22302. Contact: Patricia Daniels, Director. Telephone: (703) 305-2746. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals


Vertical farms are designed in a way to avoid the pressing issues about growing food crops in drought-and-disease-prone fields miles away from the population centers in which they will be consumed.

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