Moms worry the government shutdown will suspend their WIC benefits


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. - The government shutdown has moms and moms-to-be all across the country wondering if they are still able to use their WIC benefits.

According to Urban Institute, about 51% of infants here and abroad received WIC benefits in 2009.

It is worse in some parts of our area.

The USDA reports that 70% of babies born in Jackson County, Illinois are a part of the WIC program.

It is a federal program that the majority of Illinois moms take advantage of.

"WIC provides nutritious foods to pregnant women, breastfeeding women, postpartum women, infants and children up until they turn five years old," said Family Services director at the Jackson County Health Department Jenny Nance.

But with the US government at a standstill, Nance says moms are concerned their benefits have been shut down, too.

"The typical concern right now is can I still use my WIC checks when I go to the grocery store, can I still continue to buy food for my family," said Nance.

And for now, the answer is yes.

Grocery stores are accepting WIC checks on approved items like produce and formula.

"We aren't changing anything that we're doing right now," said Nance.

Nance says she hopes the situation in Washington resolves itself before moms across Illinois, and the country, lose their federal benefits.

DHS in Springfield told Local 6 that the state has enough money to comfortably fund the WIC program through the month of October.

If the shutdown lasts longer than a month, there could be problems.

As for Kentucky, the state's Division of Adult and Child Health posted on their website that the federal government has shut down, but WIC in Kentucky continues to serve WIC participants until further notice.