HOW WOULD THE POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IMPACT OKLAHOMANS?
News 9 - September 28, 2023 6:21 am
We’re just three days away from the government either coming to a decision or shutting down. A shutdown will impact several things.
Women, Infants and Children
One of the biggest pieces of discussion is the special supplemental program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC.
“Well, the reality is that on October 1st, many WIC recipients will see the program end,” said Tom Vilsack, Secretary to the Department of Agriculture. “They won’t be able to obtain the benefit. They won’t be able to have access to infant formula.”
However, the Oklahoma State Department of Health says there’s no need for a panic yet.
Saying in part, quote “we do not anticipate our WIC programs to be impacted immediately.”
However, they don’t have a full picture of that impact just yet.
Read their full statement here:
“If the federal government shuts down, we do not anticipate our WIC program to be impacted immediately. The OSDH is communicating with our partners, at the federal level, to discuss potential impacts; however, at this time we do not have a full picture of the potential local impact.”
Social Security Benefits
Also on a lot of people’s minds is the potential loss of Social Security benefits. But, the Social Security Administration has a contingency plan.
Benefits will be paid as usual, applications will still be received and processed, phone lines will remain open and cards will still be issued and replaced.
Medicare is a very similar story: doctor and hospital visits, filling drug prescriptions, enrollment and hotlines will continue to operate for customers.
However, if you lose your Medicare card, you’ll be out of luck until the government reopens. Replacement cards will be a discontinued service.
Medicaid services will also continue to be available in the state.
The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority shared this statement with News 9:
“SoonerCare operations will continue as usual in the event of a government shutdown due to advance appropriations to The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) until December 31, 2023. While a shutdown could impact administrative functions, OHCA does not expect any lapse in coverage or benefits for members at this time.”
Customers who rely on SNAP benefits also don’t need to panic immediately. Oklahoma Human Services says, while they await official guidance from the federal level, they want to reassure customers.
Read their statement here:
“This is an issue all human services agencies across the country are closely watching to ensure we are prepared to meet our customers’ needs in the event of a federal government shutdown. While Oklahoma Human Services is awaiting official guidance from our federal partners, we want to reassure customers their benefits will not be immediately affected by a shutdown. SNAP recipients will receive their October benefit allotments by their usual allotment date.”
The general consensus across the board right now is that time will tell. But it all hinges on whether or not Congress can come to an agreement by Sunday.