Will we lose our WIC benefits if we file for bankruptcy (December 2022 update)?

No.

Bankruptcy discharges your financial obligations to creditors for debts such as medical bills and credit cards. It does not negatively impact your ability to receive government assistance or public assistance.

WIC (for those of you who don’t know), stands for “Women, Infants, and Children” and is

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk,

and is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Here in Utah, it is administered by each county. For example, Salt Lake County’s website for WIC is here. WIC gives food vouchers for families to use at stores for healthy food and baby formula. It’s not food stamps, but is similar.

Filing bankruptcy does not affect your ability to receive any government benefits. it definitely does not affect your eligibility to collect WIC. We should probably include those WIC benefits as income for purposes of qualifying for bankruptcy, but if you qualify for WIC, then you should qualify for a simple chapter 7 case. According to the Salt Lake County Website, eligibility is determined as follows (bankruptcy is nowhere to be found on the eligibility standards):

To be eligible for WIC, you must be one of the following:

  • A pregnant or breastfeeding woman
  • A woman who has just had a baby
  • A child less than 5 years of age

You must also meet income guidelines. Income is based on gross income and frequency of pay. Applicants are automatically income-eligible if they participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps, or the Family Employment Program (TANF); you will need to bring proof that you are on one of these programs to your appointment.

WIC counts an unborn baby as a household member. 

For July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023, WIC income eligibility guidelines are:

Household SizeAnnualMonthlyTwice MonthlyBi-WeeklyWeekly
1$25,142$2,096$1,048$967$484
2$33,874$2,823$1,412$1,303$652
3$42,606$3,551$1,776$1,639$820
4$51,338$4,279$2,140$1,975$988
5$60,070$5,006$2,503$2,311$1,156
6$68,802$5,734$2,867$2,647$1,324
7$77,534$6,462$3,231$2,983$1,492
8$86,266$7,189$3,595$3,318$1,659
Each Additional
Family Member
$8,732$728$364$336$168

See https://slco.org/health/wic/.