Government shutdown forces WIC food coupon changes

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A program helping mothers across the state will see changes. The government shutdown is affecting food coupon distribution for the women, infants and children program, also known as WIC. One month, not three month, coupons will now be issued.

WIC is a supplemental nutrition and education program for women, infants and children zero to five years old. Three thousand families in Macon County will be affected by these changes. Everyone is still receiving benefits, they're just getting them one month at a time instead of three months. It's all so clients can receive what they need and stores can be properly reimbursed. This is the only change to WIC Director Karen Shiflett knows is happening. This means that families will have more trips to the Macon County Health Department until the government shutdown is resolved.

"I think the affects should be very limited," Shiflett said. "Obviously it will require an additional trip into our clinic to receive their further benefit packages sooner than we would normally see them coming back, but other than that additional trip, everything is the same."

Shiflett said that federal dollars are tied into the WIC budget so that's why it's affecting this program across the country. She said that families save roughly $70 to $90 a month for each participant eligible for the program when they're on WIC.

Stores are still accepting all of the previously issued coupons. Every coupon issued Wednesday and after will be honored as well. Shiflett said that as soon as the shutdown is resolved, it should be business as usual.

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