Shutdown forces DHHS to halt WIC benefits

Posted October 8, 2013

— State officials said Tuesday that no new benefits under a federally funded program designed to ensure proper nutrition for pregnant women and their young children will be issued because of the ongoing government shutdown.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said it doesn't have enough money to issue food vouchers to participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, which is also known as WIC.

The WIC program provides food vouchers, nutrition education and health care referrals for 264,000 women and children monthly in North Carolina, including 19,000 in Wake County. The federal government pays $205 million to run the program.

About 80 percent of participants statewide have been issued food benefits for October, according to DHHS, and officials said federal funding available to the state is sufficient to cover those 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," DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos said in a statement.

Officials encouraged WIC participants to apply for food stamps, and some county offices are referring them to local food pantries for help.

WIC participants should keep their nutrition appointments and continue redeeming October vouchers, and WIC vendors should continue accepting existing vouchers, officials said.

DHHS also started sending "Dear Provider" letters to various contractors, ordering them to stop work on projects because the federal grants that pay for their work are caught in the middle of the budget impasse in Congress. More letters will go out in the coming days, as DHHS addresses the issue division by division.


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  • Rodin Oct 10, 2013

    How much baby formula would $300,000 buy?

  • censorbait Oct 10, 2013

    A little concern for the kids who will be left with the tab for these huge entitlement programs would be in order. We are destroying our country from within with massive entitlements that WILL be our undoing. Generational theft is what it is. These women having multiple kids with multiple fathers out of wedlock have not the slightest intention of ever holding a job or paying their way. They are content to milk our economy dry. Total the dollar value of all entitlements together including rent subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, free day care, free lunches, Obamaphones and the list goes on and it will exceed what most working families take home. Liberals are blind to this or just don't care. And there are millions of households riding the entitlement wagon who will never contribute anything other than misery and more children for others to pay for and keep our prisons full. I hope it is not too late for America but are very close to the point of no return.

  • goldenosprey Oct 10, 2013

    A lot of nostalgia out there for the days when families starved and lived in hobo camps by the river. I know at least 4 women who were being responsible and taking BC yet lo and behold, became pregnant. Only a so-called christian could be so judgmental as our Dickensian posters.

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Oct 10, 2013

    I find it ironic in a state where people constantly reference "Jesus" and how important "Christianity" is to them, these are the same people posting on forums expressing the exact opposite viewpoint of Jesus in the New Testament.

  • fishon Oct 9, 2013

    Some of you commenting so harshly about people who need this WIC: find a few of them, listen to their story, and maybe help these mothers (or soon to be mothers) find the extra they need to survive pregnancy and get their children healthy.

    I know one of them. Useless degree in Art Appreciation paid for by mom and dad, no skills to speak of, living with her boyfriend whose job is in landscaping, in a house bought by her parents. Could not afford anything on her own and had a baby. Now it's WIC and free clinics. WoooHooo!

    From some of the comments about people falling on hard times I know there is a need. But there are also those people whose entire life consists of sucking the system dry.

  • fishon Oct 9, 2013

    "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 Harry Reid not bringing up the House bill to a vote," DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos said in a statement.

    There I fixed it.

  • gingerlynn Oct 9, 2013

    When I was 18 and stupid I married my first husband. We both made minimum wage part time. The one SMART thing I did was use birth control because I knew I could not afford a baby. Even though I was MARRIED I did not have a baby I could not feed. How do these single women plan on doing it? I am supposed to pay for it?

  • rushbot Oct 9, 2013

    as rose hoban reported yesterday, north carolina medicaid was not as bad off as the republicon administration wanted us to believe..as the truth was not told about that dhhs program, i do not believe we can trust wos about moneys available for wic, another dhhs program!!!

  • southerntalent Oct 9, 2013

    Best comment I have read and very true,my mortgage is 767 per month 2 homes across the street in a sec 8 rental home the nice family who was just evicted for drugs was renting the home with a voucher for 1500 a month. Anyone see anything wrong with that program. No wonder they only rent to sec 8 over there. When these folks get their yearly earned income credit reward how come we don't take part of that back for their govt assisted lifestyle instead of allowing them to blow a 5000 check on nothing.

    Why don't they put a $600.00 limit on section 8 ? and stop paying $1500.00 plus on section 8 rent for welfare rental goverment assantance. I think if you get and food stamp or any other goverment help it should be deducted from your tax return.

  • southerntalent Oct 9, 2013

    Don't have a child if you can not afford to have a child

    My mom worked hard after my dad died and we took no handouts

    We need to shut down more programs where 2-3 generations have been on them

    a few month safety net is one thing but a forever program,Just Say No