Nutritional benefits for women and infants suspended due to government shutdown

Aldona Wos
Amidst an all-day hearing in which Secretary Aldona Wos and her senior-level staff answered questions from state lawmakers in Raleigh, the NC Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the agency is suspending supplemental nutrition benefits through the Women, Infants and Children program immediately as a result of the federal government shutdown.

A news release from the state agency said the vouchers for October have already been released and will be honored, but no further benefits will be released.

"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," Wos said in a prepared statement.

The WIC program provided supplemental food, healthcare referrals and nutrition education to almost 264,000 women, infants and young children in North Carolina in September. The suspension of services will also affect the economy, considering that beneficiaries used WIC vouchers to make almost $16.6 million in food purchases every month.

The agency warned that some staff furloughs might be necessary. The news release recommended that families impacted by the suspension of WIC benefits apply for food stamps or visit food pantries.

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