COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Food and nutrition benefits to some of the most vulnerable members of the population could be at risk in the event of a government shutdown.
According to a White House Briefing, a shutdown on Sunday -- the first of October -- could immediately impact the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, commonly called WIC. The secretary of the USDA states there is a contingency fund to continue the program for one or two days after a shutdown, but after that, the benefit may become unavailable.
If a shutdown occurs, the White House reports 90,913 Missouri women, children and infants would lose benefits.
In an email, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health Lisa Cox said, "For now, Missouri WIC is planning normal operations in local agencies and at WIC retailers next week. We will provide additional information to our stakeholders as soon as it is available. We do not expect to receive updates from our federal partners until Monday at the earliest."
Columbia Public Health and Human Services spokesperson Ryan Sheehan wrote in an email that the department is unsure what effects this shutdown will have on the city's health department and declined an interview.
Meanwhile, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps, could also be affected if the shutdown lingers. The article states the program could continue uninterrupted through the month of October.
The government was shut down for more than a month starting in late December 2018 as Congress fought over funding.
Because of this, Katie Adkins with The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri said it would make sense there could be an influx of people coming into the pantry if benefits stop, so the organization has been making adjustments as needed to prepare for the event of a government shutdown.
"We are adaptable, and in the event of any kind of need, The Food Bank will be ready to serve our community," Adkins said. "We continue to receive food, receive donations that help us purchase food, and we make adjustments when we see that they're needed."
Some programs that won't be impacted by the government shutdown include social security benefits and veteran healthcare
According to the Social Security Administration's contingency plan, accurate and timely payments of benefits will continue, even in a government shutdown. Regional spokesperson John Powell said this includes all OASDI and SSI payments.
Healthcare for veterans also will not be affected. Spokesperson for the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veteran's Hospital Jeffrey Hoelscher said they received fiscal year 24 funding in advance, so veteran care and employee pay will not be affected.
However, regional VA offices will close and career counseling, transition assistance, Veteran outreach will stop, according to the national VA.