Federal payments for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides food and services to millions of low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children each month, are suspended during the shutdown. While states may be able to keep the program running for a few more weeks, some WIC clinics are already closing, and more will run out of funds as the shutdown drags on.
The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program is a block grant to states to fund cash assistance, work supports, and other services for low-income children and parents (mostly single mothers). Federal TANF funding expired September 30, so states will have to advance the funds until the shutdown ends – or stop providing benefits, as Arizona did on Wednesday, cutting off assistance to over 5,000 low-income families.
On Tuesday, the federal government could not distribute funds to 23 Head Start programs that were scheduled to receive their annual grant that day; those 23 programs, which serve nearly 19,000 children from low-income families, will be forced to close. Prior to October 1, another 57,000 children had already lost Head Start services due to sequester cuts. While most Head Start programs can continue to operate for a while, an extended shutdown will put more grants at risk.
Meals on Wheels, which provides food for low-income, homebound seniors, has also cut services this year due to sequestration; without any new federal funding under the shutdown, the program will only be able to operate for another week or two without making more cuts. Elderly women, who live longer than men and are more likely to be poor, are especially at risk from cuts to nutrition assistance.
The federal agency that distributes Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funds to domestic violence programs across the country announced that it will close if the shutdown lasts beyond today – meaning programs that rely on VAWA funding may soon reduce services. Many of these programs, too, have already been affected by sequester cuts that have eliminated access to recovery programs and shelters for an estimated 70, 120 victims of domestic violence.
via How the Shutdown Is Hurting Low-Income Families | National Women’s Law Center.