Government Shutdown Causing Uncertainty In Kansas WIC Program

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)__With the government shutdown extending past two weeks, Kansas families relying on government programs are left in a world of uncertainty.

The Kansas Department of Heath and Environment says around 70,000 Kansans rely on the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, known as WIC. The longer lawmakers remain in a deadlock, the longer some may have to wait to provide for their families.

Topeka mother of two, Julie Sutton relies on WIC, a special supplemental nutrition program for women infants and children. Last Thursday, due to the government shutdown, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment directed local WIC offices to withhold checks dated November and December until the shutdown is over. Potentially putting Julie and tens of thousands of other Kansans in financial despair.

Julie said, "My daughters milk is $5 a gallon, I cannot just go out of pocket and pay for that."

Participants of the federally funded program aren't the only ones left playing the waiting game.

Linda Ochs, Family Services Division Manager of Shawnee County Health Agency, said, "KDHE is being prudent because of the uncertainty of the government shutdown. We just don't know what is going to happen."

Julie understands that lawmakers don't have the easiest of jobs but with a 3 year old daughter depending on proper nutrition, she does have a simple request. "We don't care if it is Democrats or Republicans, just come to an agreement."

The WIC program does differ from the traditional food stamp program called SNAP, which is operating as normal and administered by the Department of Children and Families.

All WIC checks with a "do not use before" dates in September or October may still be redeemed by participants.