DHHS Announcement

       

            

Press Release

DHHS Announces     WIC Program Will Stop Issuing Benefits Due to Federal Shutdown

                

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      Tuesday, October 8, 2013

                                

Raleigh, N.C. - Due     to the federal shutdown, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for     Women, Infants and Children, also known as the WIC program, will     discontinue issuing benefits at close of business on Tuesday, October 8,     2013.   Approximately 80 percent of eligible clients already have     been issued food benefits for the month of October.  DHHS has     determined that federal WIC funds available to the state will be sufficient     to cover WIC vouchers already issued for the month of October, but not     sufficient to issue additional vouchers.

WIC clients should keep their nutrition appointments and continue redeeming     October vouchers and WIC vendors should continue normal operations to     accept existing vouchers.  The Department will continue to monitor the     daily availability of federal funds and will announce changes if they     become necessary. 

"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.

While some staff furloughs may be necessary in order to sustain essential     program operations as long as possible, DHHS is working with the federal     government to identify federal funding to keep local WIC clinics     open.  During this time, WIC staff will continue to support clients by     providing nutrition education and referrals to local resources.  

The WIC Program has an annual budget of $205 million and is 100 percent     federally funded.  During September, the program provided supplemental     food, health care referrals and nutrition education for almost 264,000     women, infants and young children in North Carolina.  WIC also impacts     local grocery stores and other food businesses.  Every month, North Carolinians     using WIC make nearly $16.6 million in food purchases at more than 2,000     food vendors around the state.