UPDATE: Kansas WIC checks held for November, December Due to Shutdown

The federal shutdown is starting to hit close to home and now the WIC program may be at risk.

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Oct. 10, 2013 - UPDATE

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says that local WIC offices will withhold checks dated November and December until further notice.

“Limiting the issuance of WIC checks is the appropriate response at this time,” says Dave Thomason in a statement. Thomason is the 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.”

The KDHE is able to fund WIC purchases with October checks. Yet, due to the federal government shutdown, the agency cannot guarantee its backing of grocery purchases made with checks for the next two months.

Oct. 9, 2013

The federal shutdown is starting to hit close to home for Tiffany Beauchamp.

The government has stopped funding the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children -- also known as WIC. It's a program that Tiffany says her family needs.

"If they cut that back, we're going to be buying at least three, four cans [of formula] a month, and that'll add up and really start to hurt us," she said.

Tiffany, a mother of three from Cheney, is one of nearly 9 million mothers who depend on national assistance programs like WIC.

"In one check we get eight cans of formula and it's $250-something, so that saves us $200 a month right there," Tiffany said. "It means a lot to us."

This week, some states have reported they are running out of money.

However, the State of Kansas does have enough money to fully fund the program for about a month, said David Thomason, a section director for the Kansas WIC program. He said they are currently developing contingency plans for an extended government shutdown.

Tiffany worries what possible cuts the her family would face, should the state's funds deplete. She said her family depends on her husband's income, but they may have to develop their own contingency plan.

"Everybody's on a fixed income and a fixed budget, so everybody's going to have to reposition how their funds work," she said. "And for me: I'm a stay at home mom, so I may have to look into getting a job just to help us out, so we can afford the formula or that we can afford the milk."

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