WIC services remain unchanged – for now

October 9, 2013

Hood County families who receive assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are not yet being affected by the showdown in Washington over the federal budget – but that could change.

WIC provides nutritious foods and help access health care to low-income women and children.

Andrew Barefoot, assistant director of WIC Outreach Health Services for Hood, Johnson, Somervell, Erath, Eastland and Callahan counties, said on Monday that the program remains fully functional and uninterrupted – as of now.

He expects funding to be available at least through the end of this month.

“There’s been a lot of public concern,” Barefoot said. “(WIC) is federally funded, ultimately. WIC is contracted out to different agencies. The state gets money from the Nutritional Services of the USDA.”

Barefoot said WIC is vulnerable because it is not a budget “entitlement.”

“It’s voted on annually as a part of the budget,” he said. “That’s why Medicaid and food stamps are still going.”

The Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as the food stamp program, provided to low-income families to buy eligible food items – will see a slight increase in benefits for some families in October and a decrease for most families in November. Families that will have a change in SNAP benefits will receive notification by mail.

Barefoot said that clients who have questions can call the Granbury clinic at 817-579-6760, or drop by in person.

VETERANS

Linda Mallon, the officer in charge of the Hood/Somervell County Veterans’ Service Office in Annex 3 at 1402 W. Pearl St. in Granbury, said last week that she took several calls from people wanting to know if veteran services had been suspended.

She said some people were “under the impression” that the office was going to be closed, but she assured that the office is a county entity, and will not be affected by the federal shutdown. The office is not part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the County Veterans Service Officer is appointed by the Commissioners Court.

“The Veterans Services Office is open for business, and always will be open for business,” Mallon said. “We’re not affected.”

The Veterans Service Office coordinates services for veterans including compensation and pension, medical care, insurance, VA loans and Texas veterans’ benefits.

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