Anthony Cloud Staff Writer
October 2, 2013
The federal government shutdown has affected lots of people and industries nationwide, from national parks to war veterans.
Women and children could be affected in some places because of a lack of funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. That is not the case in Kentucky, officials say.
The Bell County Health Department’s Hannah Hacker said the state is in good shape in terms of WIC funding. She said Frankfort has been sending information out stating the program will continue as normal.
“Funding is perfect,” said Hacker. “No one in Kentucky needs to panic over their WIC.”
Hacker said should the shutdown be long term, then it could have an effect on the state. However, for now, everything is operating as usual.
She said the health department’s staff will do their best to update the public using their Facebook page as they receive information from Frankfort.
There are 700 WIC participants in Pineville and 700 to 800 participants in Middlesboro, according to Hacker.
Hacker said she continues to encourage people to apply for WIC if they are pregnant or have any children under 5. Interested persons should call the health department to see if they are eligible for benefits.
Hacker said even those who work can qualify for WIC benefits. The WIC income guidelines have been raised making more people eligible.
“We strongly encourage everybody to at least give it a try,” said Hacker.
WIC is a federal assistance program of the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture for health care and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women and infants and children under the age of five.
The federal government stopped funding the program when the government shutdown on Tuesday.
Reports from Forbes stated the USDA estimates most states will be able to continue WIC operations as usual for about a week before running out of money.
Forbes reported the department’s Food and Nutrition Service has a contingency fund of only $125 million available for the $7 billion annual appropriation.
Arkansas and Utah are considered to be in the worst condition in regards to WIC funding, according to the report.
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