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SNAP, WIC Benefits Continue During Government Shutdown—For Now

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A number of state grocery associations are reporting that there has been confusion over the contingency plans for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and WIC during the government shutdown. There will be no change in the SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits for October, though the future of issuances for November and beyond are unclear.

“Since the Farm Bill has not been extended and the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funds that are being used now expire on Oct. 31, (it is not guaranteed) that November SNAP benefits will be issued,” according to Kathy Kuzava of the Georgia Food Industry Association.

Though each state’s WIC contingency plan may vary, in Georgia, retailers and recipients will notice little change this month.

“The only difference is that WIC will be issuing vouchers in one-month increments, instead of the usual three-month allocation,” Kuzava says. “We are very hopeful that the shutdown will end before the state needs to make any additional changes.”

She adds that there have been reports of some retailers refusing to accept benefits. She says WIC vouchers should be accepted as usual at this time.

In neighboring Tennessee, the WIC program currently is continuing as usual.

The Tennessee WIC Program issued the following statement regarding the acceptance of vouchers: “The Tennessee WIC program is operating normally at this time until further notice. Retailers should continue to accept valid WIC vouchers until further notice. WIC staff members are monitoring voucher redemption data daily and will notify retailers immediately should there be a need to stop taking vouchers. For now, WIC is operating normally and vendors should operate per standard procedures.”

Retailers with questions about redemption of WIC vouchers should contact their local WIC representative or call 1-800-DIAL-WIC.

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