SC Health Dept: Government shutdown to force WIC program to close Oct. 15

adys@heraldonline.comOctober 1, 2013 

— Thousands of South Carolina’s poorest children and mothers will no longer receive food benefits after Oct. 15 if the government shutdown continues, state health officials said late Tuesday.

The Women, Infants and Children program, commonly known as WIC, serves more than 125,000 people in the state, according to statistics from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. State officials finally were told Tuesday by federal authorities that WIC is “non-essential” under the shutdown.

“DHEC was informed that the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program is considered "non-essential" under the shutdown and will not receive federal funding,” the agency stated in a news release. “WIC clients should continue using their vouchers as usual and WIC-approved vendors should continue to honor those vouchers.”

If the shutdown last another 12 days, benefits would end.

“DHEC has identified some reserve funding to continue processing WIC vouchers at this time, but services will be interrupted and reimbursements will be discontinued on October 15, 2013 unless the USDA releases funds,” DHEC officials stated.

Andrew Dys * 803-329-4065 * adys@heraldonline.com

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