BOISE, Idaho — Beginning next month, Idaho will raise household income eligibility limits for the federal Women, Infants and Children food assistance program. 

WIC provides families with free nutrious food including fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese, cereal, juice, beans and peanut butter. To qualify for WIC, individuals must be pregnant or breastfeeding, a woman who has recently been pregnant, or an infant or child younger than 5 years old.

Applicants must also live in Idaho, have a need that can be helped by WIC foods and nutrition counseling, and have a low-to-moderate income. 

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According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the income eligibility change is intended to help offset rising cost-of-living expenses. 

Applicants' pre-tax household income must fall at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Under the new guidelines that go into effect July, for example, a family of three can earn up to $39,461, as opposed to $38,443 under the old guidelines. 

The new maximum allowed household income is listed below:

One household member: $23,107

Two household members: $31,284

Three household members: $39,461

Four household members: $47,638

Five household members: $55,815

Families with more than five members should contact their local WIC office for the eligibility cutoff. A pregnant woman is officially calculated as two household members.

Anyone in a population served by WIC who currently receives Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, or CHIP benefits is automatically eligible for WIC.

IDHW says that about 32,000 Idahoans get monthly WIC assistance, receiving an average of $48 in produce and healthy foods each. For more information about Idaho WIC, click here.