TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Supplemental food assistance checks for families are in limbo due to the federal government shutdown.
The Kansas Department of Health Environment said Wednesday it's ordered local WIC offices to only issue checks dated for October and withhold checks for November and December until further notice. KDHE says it cannot guarantee the backing of checks dated November and December until the shutdown ends.
WIC stands for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. It provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support and supplemental, nutritious foods to low-income families.
KDHE says WIC serves approximately 70,000 Kansans every month. It differs from the traditional food stamp program, known as SNAP, which is administered through the Department of Children and Families.
Complete news release from KDHE:
TOPEKA, Kan. – Today, Oct. 9, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment directed local WIC offices to limit the issuance of WIC checks to only those checks dated October 2013 and to withhold checks dated November and December until further notice. KDHE is able to fund WIC purchases made with October checks; however, the agency cannot at this time guarantee its backing of grocery purchases made with checks dated November and December because it cannot predict the end of the federal government shutdown.
KDHE will keep authorized WIC grocery stores informed regarding the current situation including specific instructions if restrictions are placed on the redemption of WIC checks.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) is a federally funded program administered in Kansas by KDHE through contracts with county health departments. Currently, all Kansas WIC clinics are fully operational and serving clients.
Printed on each WIC check is a date labeled: “Do not use before this date.” WIC checks are valid for 30 days from that date. For instance, October checks issued today are valid from Oct. 9 through Nov. 9; the October checks issued tomorrow are valid from Oct. 10 through Nov. 10, and so on. All checks with a “Do not use before this date” in October or September may be redeemed by participants and grocery stores will be reimbursed for purchases made with those checks.
“Limiting the issuance of WIC checks is the appropriate response at this time,” said Dave Thomason, Kansas WIC Director within the Bureau of Family Health at KDHE. “We are hopeful that the shutdown will be resolved before it impacts WIC past the month of October, but we must be fiscally responsible during this time of uncertainty. KDHE understands the inconvenience of our current situation, and we appreciate WIC staff in their work to ensure that WIC participants receive proper nutrition education and assistance during this time.”
WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support and supplemental, nutritious foods to low-income families. The Kansas WIC program serves approximately 70,000 participants every month, including:
· Pregnant women
· Breastfeeding women through the first year of their infant’s life
· Women who have had a baby within the past six months
· Infants under the age of 1
· Children from age 1 to 5.