Wake Up Call

Arizona's WIC Food Stamp Program Will Continue During the Shutdown . . . for Now

You might be able to get a passport, but you definitely won't be audited by the IRS during the government shutdown. And, at least for now, women and children who receive federally funded nutrition assistance through the Arizona Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will continue to be able to put food staples on the table.

See also: The Government Shutdown and Your Food: FDA Meat Inspections Will Continue, Other Food Safety Inspections Will Notg

Initially, the state estimated it had only enough money to fund the program through the end of the week. But Department of Health Services spokeswoman Laura Oxley tells Capitol Media Services that the U.S. Department of Agriculture told states it has "contingency funds" available to keep the program running despite the showdown.

According to reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has $125 million in emergency funds for the program, though Oxley says she isn't sure how much of that money Arizona will receive. She expects it will be enough to keep the program up and running through the end of the month, if needed.

There are some 80,000 women and children enrolled in the state's WIC program. To be eligible, one must meet certain criteria, for example: "pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women; infants; and children under the age of five who are at nutritional risk and who are at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines." Additionally, WIC vouchers can be used to buy only specific foods, such as eggs, milk, bread, and formula.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria