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WIC assistance in Michigan expands with less restrictive income eligibility requirements

 apples, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruit on a grocery store shelf

Michigan families can now make more money and still qualify for federally-funded food assistance benefits.

New standards for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, commonly known as WIC, took effect this month.

Michigan WIC Director Christina Herring says families can be eligible as soon as they apply.

“They would just need to contact either one of our offices. And up until August 9, we are still offering the WIC waiver in remote services. So, if a family cannot come in in-person all the way up until August 9, they will be eligible to do a remote service,” Herring said.

The thresholds are based on the federal poverty line. Pregnant women and families with children up to age five can qualify if they make up to 185% of that line.

Herring said the new thresholds translate to around an 8.1% increase over last year.

“It will allow more families to either be reintroduced to the program because they’re able to make a little bit more money and still be part of our program versus not being able to be eligible,” Herring said.

Herring praises changes made during the pandemic to encourage more fruits and vegetables in children’s diets. But she says she’d like to see Congress extend the program to include children up to age six.

“We do recognize that children are of school age or in kindergarten at the age of five, and so our program currently only allows you to be eligible up to five. So, if we were able to get it, increase the age to six, that would at least allow them to stay on the program a little bit longer,” Herring said.

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