Raleigh, NC-- Tuesday the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) became a casualty of the Government shutdown in Washington.
In a news release, the agency stated they will discontinue issuing benefits after today. DHHS said that 80 percent of eligible clients already have been issued food benefits for the month of October. Federal WIC funds available to North Carolina will be sufficient to cover WIC vouchers already issued for October, but not sufficient to issue additional vouchers, they stated.
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DHHS officials said that WIC clients should keep their nutrition appointments and continue redeeming October vouchers. Also, WIC vendors should continue normal operations to accept existing vouchers.
"Some of our most vulnerable citizens, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children, will be affected by the interruption of WIC services due to the federal shutdown," said DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos.
DHHS encourages families impacted by this change to apply for North Carolina's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps). Local WIC staff may also refer clients to food banks and pantries in their communities.
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According to DHHS, the WIC Program has an annual budget of $205 million and is 100 percent federally funded.