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How WIC Works

WIC in the News
The WIC program has undergone an overhaul, allowing new foods such as tofu.
The WIC program has undergone an overhaul, allowing new foods such as tofu.

The Women, Infants and Children program has been in the news recently due to people gaming the system. The biggest scams perpetrated in the WIC program have to do with fraud.

In Cleveland, Ohio, a man was sentenced to federal prison for stealing millions of dollars worth of WIC money by fraudulently redeeming food stamp coupons and WIC vouchers [source: Byrne]. In Philadelphia, several people were arrested for creating fake WIC vouchers and stealing more than $375,000 of taxpayers' money [source: Odom]. And in New Jersey, a man was sentenced to prison after printing more than $1 million of WIC vouchers and selling them [source: Rispolo].

On the brighter side, the program recently had its first overhaul in 30 years, and now allows the purchase of not just milk and peanut butter, but also fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the new additions are not limited to fruits and veggies, but will also add soy beverages and tofu. In order to allow for the additions and not break the program budget, the amount of things like juice and cheese have been lowered, although the amount allowed is still in line with guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Supplements come in the form vouchers with a cash value of around $6 for each child and $10 for a breastfeeding mother [source: Koch].

See the links on the next page to feed your hunger for more information on the WIC program and other replated topics.