Food Assistance:

WIC Program Issues

T-RCED-98-125: Published: Mar 17, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1998.

Additional Materials:


Robert A. Robinson
(202) 512-9894


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its three recently completed reviews of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), focusing on: (1) the reasons that states had for not spending all of their federal grant funds; (2) efforts of WIC agencies to improve access to WIC benefits for working women; and (3) various practices states use to lower the costs of WIC and ensure that the incomes of WIC applicants' meet the program's eligibility requirements for participation.

GAO noted that: (1) states had unspent WIC funds for a variety of reasons; (2) in fiscal year 1996, these funds totalled about $121.6 million, or about 3.3 percent of that year's $3.7 billion WIC grants; (3) some of these reasons were associated with the way WIC is structured; (4) virtually all the directors of local WIC agencies report that their clinics have taken steps to improve access to WIC benefits for working women; (5) the two most frequently cited strategies are: (a) scheduling appointments instead of taking participants on a first-come, first-served basis; and (b) allowing a person other than the participant to pick up the food vouchers, as well as nutrition information, and to pass these benefits on to the participant; (6) the states are using a variety of cost containment initiatives that have saved millions of dollars annually for WIC and enabled more individuals to participate in the program; and (7) some of these initiatives include obtaining rebates on WIC foods, limiting participants' food choices to lowest-cost items, and limiting the number of stores that participate in WIC.

Oct 2, 2017

Aug 24, 2017

Aug 14, 2017

May 15, 2017

May 11, 2017

Apr 28, 2017

Mar 16, 2017

Feb 13, 2017

Dec 7, 2016

Nov 28, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here