North Carolina is First State to Cut Welfare During Federal Shutdown

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Covering the program would take less than 1 percent of the state's rainy-day fund, and those expenses would be reimbursed by the federal government. But North Carolina said no.

North Carolina is cutting off welfare benefits to more than 20,000 residents, most of them children, until the federal government shutdown is over.

The state won’t process applications for November benefits in its Work First program — or October benefits if the application arrived later than last week — until then, Reuters says. The state is also halting some child care subsidies that cover more than 70,000 kids.

North Carolina had also cut off the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, which provides food and formula to low-income women, babies and children, Reuters says, but it reversed the decision.

The federal government had asked the states to continue funding the welfare program, called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, promising that they would be reimbursed when the government reopened, Reuters says. North Carolina chose not to, despite having a $650 million emergency fund. For September, the federally funded Work First program cost about $4.8 million.

Earlier this month, Arizona said it would cut off welfare benefits to 5,200 families, AZCentral.com reports. Gov. Jan Brewer later ordered state funds to be used to cover the program, Reuters says.

The shutdown has hurt a lot of people, as we recently explained in “10 Groups That Stand to Suffer Most from the Government Shutdown.” Hopefully it’s almost over. Progress was being made on that front as I wrote this. Standard & Poor’s estimates it has already taken $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, according to Business Insider.

Stacy Johnson

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