WIC benefits extended through March 2022

HOUSTON – Women and children will have an added value to their Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits with another temporary extension of fruits and vegetables.

On December 3, 2021, the Further Extending Government Funding Act of 2022 was authorized to give WIC agencies across the country the opportunity to increase the Cash-Value Voucher/Benefit (CVV/B) for fruit and vegetable dollars beginning January 1, 2022 ending March 31, 2022.

The Houston Health Department’s WIC program provides nutritious foods and nutritional counseling and education to low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, infants and children up to the age of 5. Single fathers, grandparents and foster parents are also eligible for WIC services for their children.

“This is great news for our Houston WIC families who rely on this important nutrition to feed their families,” said Zahra Koopaei, WIC bureau chief for the Houston Health Department. “WIC is especially important right now as the price of fresh produce has increased along with other food items at the grocery store. The nutritional value of fruits and vegetables is vital to pregnant mothers and their developing children especially right now during the pandemic.”

Monthly benefit increases include:

–Children: $24

–Pregnant, postpartum and some breastfeeding women: $43

–Fully and partially breastfeeding women: $47

In April 2022, the benefit is expected to return to its original amount of $11 for pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and $9 for children 1 to 5 years old.

The voucher is credited with improving the dietary quality of WIC participants and reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity among WIC children.

“The Houston Health Department currently has over 51,000 participants registered for WIC services, and we are hopeful this extension will encourage more families to register and take advantage of this unique opportunity,” Koopaei said.

To qualify for WIC benefits you must live in Texas.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the department’s WIC program is providing curbside services, and face-to-face appointments are not available at this time.

Participants can schedule an appointment at 832-393- 5427 or visit the Houston Health Department WIC webpage for more information.