Commander’s Action Line

I am a military spouse with a 2-month-old baby. My husband is a sergeant first class in the Army and I am not working. I have been trying to enroll into WIC since I found out I was pregnant but without success. I am told by the WIC representative at Ramstein that my husband’s income is too high even though he pays $900 a month in child support for his three children from a previous marriage. I have heard of majors with three children who are enrolled in the WIC program. My husband is supporting four children and earns less than a major but yet he doesn’t qualify for WIC. The WIC representative told me WIC does not take child support expenses into consideration. When questioned why, she said she did not know as the policy is sent by the Department of Defense. Can the relevant authorities in DOD please explain why child support expenses are not taken into consideration in determining WIC qualification? I am not able to work to earn more income for my family because of the limited child care services for newborns. I have been on the waiting list for a slot in the child development center and I am still waiting. There are no family childcare givers in the KMC willing to care for newborns. What programs are there to help families like mine who do not qualify for WIC? 
Unfortunately, U.S. Department of Agriculture rules and the federal law that authorizes WIC Overseas don’t give us any flexibility to exclude child support payments from your income. Where we have flexibility to exclude income items in the calculations, we do so. For example, cost of living allowance and basic allowance for housing are not included. Until the law changes, which requires congressional action, we cannot make exceptions.  

We have a severe shortage of all types of child care providers in our community, and are working to expand our capabilities, both in our CDCs and family child care homes. As you may know, infants require the most stringent provider-to-child ratios, so the number of available slots is not as many.

However, have you considered becoming a family child care provider yourself? This would help your family with additional income, and provide a much-needed service in the KMC. Our Family Support and Services staff will provide free training and guidance to get your certification. The next training begins June 20 in Bldg. 1004 on Vogelweh. Also, an informational meeting about becoming a licensed provider is noon to 3 p.m. June 18 at the Vogelweh Commissary. Call the Family Child Care Office at 489-6040 for details.

Any other questions regarding the WIC eligibility policy can be addressed to the TRICARE Management Activity in Washington, D.C., at 703-681-0059.