Federal shutdown will impact local WIC office

BURLINGTON –The Alamance County Health Department received communication from the NC Department of Health and Human Services Nutrition Services Branch on October 8 that 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.  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.

According to state guidance at this time, individuals in need of services should continue to visit the WIC office and will be screened for eligibility.  Individuals found to be eligible will be placed on a wait list for vouchers but will receive nutrition education and other services at time of assessment.  As vouchers become available, the vouchers will be distributed to participants based on the wait list.

Current WIC recipients who have been issued vouchers may continue to use their current vouchers. WIC clients should keep their nutrition appointments and continue redeeming October vouchers and WIC vendors should continue normal operations to accept existing vouchers. Reimbursement of the vouchers is not affected at this time.

The Alamance County WIC office will remain open at this time to provide eligibility assessments, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support.

“This will have significant effect on the women and children we serve,” stated Alamance County WIC Director Nicole Alston. “We will work with our community partners and do our best to refer our clients to other nutrition services and local food banks.”

WIC is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  WIC serves children up to five years of age, infants, and pregnant women.  WIC provides healthy foods, health care referrals, breastfeeding support, and nutrition education.  Alamance County WIC served more than 4,500 individuals in September. Statewide, the program provided supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for almost 264,000 women, infants and young children in North Carolina in September.

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