Benefits for veterans, women with children continue despite shutdown

  • Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 4:00 p.m.

Veterans will still get health care and local recipients of the federally funded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program will see their benefits continue despite the government shutdown.

The state’s WIC program can operate at current levels at least through the end of the month.

“The word we received from the state is there are enough funds available to support the program through the month of October,” Barbara Ellis, health director with the Rowan County Health Department, said today.

Although officials have said the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps, won’t be effected by the shutdown, there have been questions about whether WIC could go on.

Ellis said federal officials were scheduled to have a conference call with state WIC directors this afternoon or Wednesday. More information about the program may be available after that.

“But it’s really business as usual right now,” she said. “And we are hoping the shutdown does not last through October.”

About 3,000 Rowan residents get benefits under the WIC program, which provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children, Ellis said.

Veterans will continue receiving health care at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center and its outpatient clinics in Charlotte, Hickory and Winston-Salem, which are all open and operating normally, Hefner VA spokeswoman Carol Waters said.

That’s because the Veterans Health Administration, the health care branch within the Department of Veterans Affairs, is under an advance two-year appropriation, meaning its budget for fiscal year 2014 had already been set, she said.

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