WIC Participants Being Improperly Turned Away

ORANGE COUNTY – If you’re enrolled in the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program, Piedmont Health Services Director of Health Support Services Heather Miranda says the vouchers you’ve received are still good despite the government shutdown.

“We’ve gotten reports of some stores that are thinking that the food benefit coupons/vouchers are not good, but they are absolutely good,” Miranda says. “They’re just like a check; the markets should be accepting them.”

Miranda says Piedmont Health and state officials have been trying to get the word out to the stores, but some people are still being turned away.

She says services are still being offered, including certifying and enrolling, providing breast-feeding support and nutrition education, but Piedmont Health—through the WIC program—can’t give out any food from now until the end of the federal government shutdown.

The federal government pays the $200 million budget for the state’s WIC program. Of the 264,000 participants program in the state, there are currently about 5,600 in Orange and Chatham counties.

“These foods are integral to the nutrition and growth for these folks,” Miranda says. “So this program being shut down has an incredible impact on that. Many, many of our families work, but many of them are in great need of food.”

Miranda says Piedmont Health is encouraging people to continue to go in and apply for the program.

“We know that when this shutdown ends, we want to get food benefits to them as soon as possible,” Miranda says.

Miranda says anyone in Orange and Chatham counties with questions can call 919-942-8741.


NC Won’t Issue More WIC Vouchers For October

RALEIGH – A state-run program that gets federal dollars to ensure proper nutrition for pregnant women and their young children won’t issue any vouchers beyond those already given out for October.

Officials say the federal government shutdown is the reason that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children stopped issuing vouchers Tuesday.

About 80 percent of eligible clients have received benefits for October. Officials with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services say they don’t have enough money to issue more vouchers.

DHHS officials say families who don’t get the WIC vouchers can apply for food stamps.

The WIC program provides food vouchers, nutrition education and health care referrals for 264,000 women and children monthly in North Carolina. The federal government pays the program’s $200 million cost.