While health centers, the Veterans Administration and critical food assistance programs will continue to provide services while the federal government is shutdown, some are unsure how long it can last. Funds are in place for the month of October in many departments, but a prolonged shutdown would change the financial equation.
Take California’s Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program, which provides healthy food vouchers to 1.45-million low-income residents at 650 sites in California. Unlike some states, WIC in California is federally funded, but administered and operated by the state, so employees will continue to work during the shutdown at least through October. Because WIC is listed as a “non-essential service” government program, its funding could be threatened should the shutdown persist.
“The California WIC program has funds available to continue to operate normally through October,” California’s WIC website stated. “All efforts will be made to ensure that the women and children enrolled in WIC will continue to receive vouchers for food.”
The same is true for the Veterans Administration, whose website states, “Claims, processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted.”
Valley veteran Jim Poore, who is active with Sonoma County VetConnect, a nonprofit organization that aids veterans with everything from job placement to mental health services, said as far as he’s heard, veterans should not be impacted.